A smart ad with something for everyone, anti-media red meat for the base and a laundry list of passed bills for swing voters who are under the impression that this has been a “do nothing” Congress. I recommend the quiz on the accompanying “Did You Know?” website too, especially if you’re a political-news junkie who likes to believe you’re up to date on what’s happening in Washington. A core problem for the GOP next fall will be answering the question, “Why should I vote for these guys again?” This is an early attempt to answer it.
An interesting question: Who’s the “bad guy” here? Which villain is the ad designed to distance Ryan’s caucus from? One obvious answer is the media, but a more clever one is that it’s actually McConnell’s caucus. This has been a “do nothing” Congress, by and large, and is likely to remain that way; this spot is aimed at convincing Republican voters not to hold the House responsible in apportioning blame, in case they’re thinking of staying home next year. More broadly, though, I think it’s a hedge against the risk of Russiagate spiraling out of the party’s control and leaving congressional Republicans stranded while Trump fights off Mueller. If Russiagate gets worse before the midterms, this sort of pitch — we’re thisclose to enacting all sorts of laws GOP voters will like! — may be the only thing that gets demoralized voters out to the polls. Don’t focus on Trump and scandal, the ad is saying, focus on the agenda. That’s what House Republicans are doing.