Political ads are not much different from normal, commercial ads. Effective advertisements usually make it pretty clear what the hoped-for outcome is.
Buy a widget? Patronize a business? In politics, it’s “Vote for X” . . . or A, B, or C.
Last political season, in New Mexico’s Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia counties, ads ballyhooed a Rio Metro expansion project. They very clearly concluded by telling voters to “Make a Difference on November 4th,” and offering up a certain website that also promoted voting for the tax increase to expand the transit system.
So why did Lawrence Rael of the political entity responsible for Rio Metro deny the obvious? “We’re not saying ‘vote for the tax’ as an advocacy committee would do,” he explained. “We’re just simply saying, ‘Look, this issue is on the ballot . . . Here’s what it’s about.’”
Oh, get real, Mr. Rael.
The reason for his reticence? Governments in a republic aren’t supposed to influence voters but be influenced by voters. That’s the point of an election, where our tax dollars ought not be on either side.
Paul Gessing, of the Rio Grande Foundation, wrote in the Albuquerque Journal, “Having advocates for these proposals working on the taxpayer dime obviously tilts the advantage in the direction of higher taxes. But giving the pro-tax side the additional advantage of a significant advertising budget is simply too much, and is truly unfair.”
No wonder government keeps growing, eh?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.