This just in from SC Democrats:
COLUMBIA- South Carolina Democrats fired the opening shot of election season with a television ad criticizing Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley for her tax hypocrisies. The ad, titled “Thanks Nikki,” will begin airing today in Columbia.
In the ad Mark Sanford’s disciple, who voted for a two percent rise in the sales tax and against a sales-tax exemption for groceries, is “thanked” by her constituents for failing to vote for South Carolina interests. Video may be also viewed on the ad’s companion site, http://thanksnikki.com.
South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler said today that the ad will inform voters about Haley’s real legislative record.
“Voters deserve to know the truth about Nikki Haley and her record of broken promises,” said Fowler. “This ad only skims the surface of Haley’s hypocrisy and highlights the stark contrast between her campaign promises and her actions in the legislature. Voters are already starting to realize that Nikki Haley’s candidacy is all smoke and mirrors. South Carolinians are ready to move forward with real leadership.”
Nikki certainly asks for sarcasm, by running on transparency while dragging her heels on being transparent, and by touting her accounting abilities while failing repeatedly to do what most of us do every year (file our taxes on time).
But whether this approach will work remains to be seen. For one thing, it’s too focused on taxes, rather than the items that she’s really begging for sarcasm on. And yeah, Nikki voted for the execrable Act 388, which is a big reason why the Chamber is backing Vincent Sheheen. And while that act foolishly and carelessly raised the sales tax, it did so in order to (equally foolishly and carelessly) drastically reduce property taxes on owner-occupied homes. And if I’m a Haley supporter, I’d protest vociferously the use of a house (for the “through the roof” metaphor) to illustrate the point that she raised sales taxes, thereby subliminally giving the erroneous impression that she raised homeowner property taxes.
Of course, she DID raise property taxes — on businesses and rental property (thereby raising rents on those who can’t yet afford to buy) — by pushing the burden from those whiny people with houses on the lake to other categories of property tax. But this doesn’t make that point, at least not overtly.
There are two main problems with this ad. First, that it oversimplifies. Nikki is definitely guilty of voting for very bad ideas in the realm of taxation. She is one of the reasons why we so desperately need comprehensive tax reform, because she has so thoughtlessly participated in fouling up the system, making it less logical, less fair and less effective.
Second, this sidesteps the two things Nikki is most vulnerable about in order to go after her on taxes. This is no doubt based in an assumption (possibly backed by polling or focus groups, but I have no idea) that voters care more about taxes than about the fact that Nikki is such a hypocrite on her signature issues. It’s a risky move, trying to out-anti-tax a Republican in a general election. (Also, if you’re a Democrat, do you really want to call your opponent a “tax and spend…” anything?) But I guess they figure, what do they have to lose?
You’ll say that this calculation and oversimplification is just the way the game is played. Yep. And that’s a shame. Because there are very good reasons why no one should vote for Nikki Haley, and this ad only skirts them.