Diary

Note to FL State Senator Thrasher: Subliminal Political Ads are a BAD IDEA

I recently received an email from a friend. Embedded in the Email was a letter of endorsement for Sharon Day signed by Okaloosa County GOP Chairman (Barbara Wall) and 5 other Panhandle County Chairmen. It also included a flyer from the Thrasher campaign that had a long list of prominent State GOP members that are endorsing Senator Thrasher, including my favorite FL GOP county Chairman, Sid “I tried to tell you that light rail is a money pit but you wouldn’t listen” Dinerstein. At the end of this impressive list of Republicans is Senator Thrasher’s website http://www.gophonor.com./

I went to the site and watched it. Senator Thrasher has an impressive resume. Honors in Battle and accomplishments in politics and law. (However, no mention of his years as a lobbyist and his donation to the Alex Sink’s CFO campaign, which in fairness to the Senator was refunded to him when she instead decided to run for Governor.) At the end of the video scrolls a very dim roll call called “These Are Florida’s Unsung Heroes”. It lasts almost two minutes (total time of the video is 5 minutes). I tried to read it, but for some strange reason, the lettering of the names of these “heroes” were lettered in dark grey on a pitch black background.

The names were almost unreadable. The choice of color palette by Sen. Thrasher confused me; It was as if he wanted to keep these “Unsung Heroes” well…unsung. (Some constructive criticism Senator. If you want to really recognize and pay homage to ” Florida’s Unsung Heroes”, I suggest you use WHITE LETTERS on an black background!)

However, your intrepid blogger persevered and finally figured out it was a list of: All GOP county chairmen; All state committeemen and women; All elected Republican members of the Florida Legislature; All state wide elected Republicans; All Republican members of Congress and a few others.

At the 3:28 mark, Sharon Day’s name scrolls by (Ms. Day is Thrasher’s main opponent). At the 4:11 mark, you can see Chairman Barbara Wall’s name (the same Barbara Wall who has endorsed Sharon Day). At the 4:44 mark you see four or five people listed simply as ” Governor’s Appointee” (I’m a newbie in the political arena, but should Senator Thrasher mentioned what they were appointed to do?). The Kicker is at the 4:32 part, where our esteemed Senator Thrasher lists one of the most influential Republicans in the State of Florida… ” Committeewoman TBD TBD”…. Nice attention to detail Senator…

I am undecided who I want to succeed Jim Greer. Money is the mother’s milk of Politics and Senator Thrasher has a demonstrated history of being able to raise the cash. Make no mistake, if you cannot pay for Ads on TV and radio and your opponent can, odds are you are going to lose. That is a cold hard political fact.

However, the election of 2010 and probably 2012 are going hinge on who can best appeal to that fastest growing political demographic… the independent voter. Having Senator Thrasher as the public face of the Party will give these voters pause. If Senator Thrasher is elected Chairman of the RPOF it will possibly/will send the signal to all that it is politics as usual and money trumps convictions.

More than ever, the GOP needs to reignite the grassroots of the party and the management of the party need to start listening to and taking onboard what local Republicans want. A perfect example is the recent passage of the Light Rail Bill. Despite having been voted down by the body politic and Republican grassroots and independents overwhelmingly against it, our elected GOP leaders, led by a GOP Governor, embraced it because Obama and the Democrats in DC were offering “free” money from the taxpayer. The mindset in Tallahassee was “if we don’t take it, someone else will”.

This was a slap in the face of the majority of Floridians, who rejected this project at the polls. Result: Grassroot Republicans feel marginalized and Independents are starting to look for alternative (read “non-GOP”) candidates to vote for. We need to regain the trust of both of these groups and from what I can gather, Sharon Day is the best person to harness the power of grassroots and appeal to the independent voter.

You need money to run for political office but you also need to inspire a jaded electorate that Republicans have learned the lessons of 2006 and 2008.

I am not fooled by Senator Thrasher’s list of “Florida’s Unsung Heroes”. It was a sly bit of subliminal advertisement. The two minutes of almost unreadable names (including “Committeewoman TBD TBD”) was meant to give the impression that practically everyone was behind the good Senator. The sheer length of the list and the time it took to scroll through was meant to impress upon the RPOF members who vote for Chairman that opposition to the Senator was useless. To make sure no one really paid attention to the actual names, the decision was made to make it damn difficult to read and anyway, who bothers to read a scrolling list of names..it’s like watching the credits at the end of movie… a waste of time.

For the record, let me state in no uncertain terms: This type of political advertisement is wrong and is EXACTLY the type of actions that Republicans should disassociate themselves from. It is disingenuous at best and sleazy at worst. Either way, the Senator needs to stop showing this video, NOW.

I have no vote in the selection of Chairman of the RPOF. But I can ask those that can vote: Who is the person that can best get the base to come to the polls. Who is the person that can best walk into a local Tea Party and say: “I get it and you are right” and be believed?

For Senator Thrasher: I expect you to resign from the State Senate if elected Chairman. We need a full time RPOF Chairman and if you are in the Senate, you can’t do your job as Chairman. If you are serious about this run, then make this pledge ASAP. Giving up a State Senate Seat will send a signal to the base that you are serious about going out and listening to them and taking their advice onboard. If you don’t promise to do this, then you are not serious about being a REAL chairman who wants the GOP to regain the independents’ vote.

I’m a very little fish in a real big ocean, so who I endorse carries little (actually no) weight. February 20th is still a few weeks away and I want to hear from Ms. Day and anyone else who is running before making a decision. But I can say this: Unless Senator John Thrasher a) Takes down his video with its “Unsung Heroes” and b) Does not promise to step down from the State Senate if elected, it will be someone other than the good Senator that will get my support.