Kari's post on Smith's desperate new ads reminded me of a couple conversations I had at work last week.
Our sort-of office manager - he's in charge of inside sales and handles all customer service calls - is a moderately conservative Republican, ironically also named Gordon, who reads The
Moonie Washington Times every day during his lunch hour and who I'm 99% certain has long been at least a nominal Gordon Smith supporter. He's the only other person at work who is even moderately into politics, so we chat about local and national politics fairly regularly.
After the National Republican Senatorial Committee started running the following ad showing Merkley eating a hot dog, Office Manager Gordon asked me if I'd seen it. I replied that I hadn't but that I'd heard about it. So he proceeds to describe how pathetic it is with a very disgusted look on his face. He seemed genuinely embarassed of Smith for having run it. Smith didn't run it, of course. But that's a distinction utterly lost on this guy and, I strongly suspect, on the vast majority of Oregonians.
The next day one of the inside sales guys mentioned the same ad to me. He's always talking about his uber-Republican Grandmother that lives in Medford, but he's not really into politics himself. He votes but that's about the extent of his personal interest in politics.
So anyway, this inside sales guy goes on and on about how pathetic the NRSC's ad is... about how it was stunningly obvious that the video footage of Merkley eating the hotdog was used in an attempt to make Merkley look foolish... an impression reinforced by the close-up at the very end of Merkley stuffing the hotdog into his mouth.
By this point the other two inside sales guys were listening in as this guy slammed the NRSC's ad. So I asked all of them if they figured that most Oregonians would eat a hotdog like Merkley did or whether most would eat it all dainty like with knife, fork and lacy doily? That sparked immediate laughter at the word picture I'd drawn - I think it was the lacy doily image that really put them over the edge - and they all chimed in saying that everyone they knew would eat a hotdog exactly like Merkley had. Meanwhile, Office Manager Gordon was listening in and laughing right along with his guys at how absurdly silly that attempt to make Merkley look bad really was.
Mind you, I didn't initiate either of these conversations. They all know that I'm into politics and that I support Jeff Merkley. But I almost never initiate political conversations with anyone other than Office Manager Gordon. And he initiates as many of them as I do because it's a shared interest between us.
This all, of course, belongs filed under "Anecdotal" because that's what it is. But I submit that the NRSC shot Smith in the foot with that ad and that the wound will continue to bleed for the remainder of this election season. Many Oregonians will view these slimy new ads with a deeply skeptical eye because of how the hotdog ad was perceived.
[Editor's note: Post corrected. A previous edition referred incorrectly to the "RSCC".]