A negative wind in Aiona vs. Abercrombie

The contest for governor between Duke Aiona and Neil Abercrombie has turned negative, but in an ever-so-gentle manner.

The Republican Governors Association has been running a series of “Rise & Shine Hawaii” TV spots presenting positive views of Aiona’s positions on education and other issues.

The RGA’s latest ad goes negative for the first time, but I have to say it’s the nicest negative ad I’ve ever seen.

It starts out expressing appreciation for the Democrat Abercrombie’s 35 years in politics, showing a picture of him in his Sunday best with his blue blazer and neatly trimmed hair and beard.

The announcer goes on, “We appreciate his service, but not how he’s voted. Abercrombie voted for higher taxes on Hawai‘i families, the bailout, failed stimulus — bonuses for Wall Street executives.”

Cut to somewhat grungier picture of the former congressman and the question: “In this economy, Mr. Abercrombie?”

Then comes a picture of a beatific looking Aiona and the announcer’s soothing assurance: “Fortunately, Hawaii has a choice we can afford. Duke Aiona will oppose tax increases and create jobs. A smart, independent leader. Duke Aiona for governor.”

Very mild as far as negative ads go, and a clear sign of the sensitivity to negative advertising in the race after the huge backfire of Mufi Hannemann’s “Compare and Decide” in the primary.

It reminds me of advice in the book “Etiquette for Outlaws” on what to do if you feel a bout of flatulence coming on while at a party. The advice is to find somewhere semi-private to cut a test fart, see how bad it smells and gauge from that if it’s safe to let loose back in mixed company.

This ad was the political equivalent of a test fart to see how much negativity the electorate will tolerate, and it’ll be ramped up until blowback is encountered.

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5 Comments on “A negative wind in Aiona vs. Abercrombie”

  1. AntithesisOfAloha Says:

    Perhaps this mainland Republican strategy is coming from Karl Rove who was here early in Duke’s primary election run pontificating about “How to Win in Hawaii.” Choke mainland money poured into a local race…check!

  2. charles Says:

    Apt metaphor given the amount of gas so far.

  3. waialuahaole Says:

    Don’t be surprised if your suggestion of going negative in campaign ads doesn’t get picked up by the RGA. I imagine they learned quite well how going negative plays with Hawaii voters by watching the mudslinging between Neil and Mufi in the primary and they’ll steer clear of it entirely — which is likely the exact reason they are able to be critical of Abercrombie while also being respectful and civil, and not resorting to a negative attack ad.

  4. Jim Loomis Says:

    Right … but problem is, leopards don’t change their big, black spots and neither do the mainland Republican campaign strategists. In fact, Jonah Ka’auwai, Chair of the Haswaii Republican Party, has just put out a missive stating as fact that Neil was a member of the Socialist Party … which has over and over again been proven to be a lie. It’s one thing for the loony right-wing bloggers to keep promoting that — along with their idiotic birther theories — but this particular loon is an official of the local Republican Party. Trust me: It’s going to get ugly.

  5. zztype Says:

    “Blowback.” Heh, quite appropriate a characterization! Ewww! :)


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