March 03, 2004
I know that lately it seems like this blog is all about Hull bashing, but that's not exactly right. Though I don't care for Hull as a candidate personally, my criticisms of him surrounding the divorce incident are not because of what he did but how he has handled it, or rather how his campaign has handled it. The most important thing for me is that a Democrat be in this seat next November. If Hull wins the primary, I will support him no questions asked.
Which is why I think his mishandling of this incident is so serious. What will the Republicans do to him next fall if he can't handle himself in the primary? Since he has no experience to dilute his now tarnished image, he'll be easily labeled as the rich domestic abuser and will get trounced. Goodbye Senate seat.
The combination of his lack of political experience, his weak rhetorical skills, and his inability to understand that this is the wrong way to handle a scandal make him a weak candidate, plain and simple. In fact, his misplay on this incident might be a blessing in disguise for Democrats. Without it, Hull would probably have walked away with the primary with ease. What it’s done is awoken the press to really scrutinize this guy (something I called for last month). Campaigns are long just for this reason, so the electorate can get a nice careful look at the candidates. Ask California what happens when you have a short campaign season.
But hey it's not over. With all that dough to accelerate the ad campaign, Hull is not out of this by any means. I just hope that voters wake up and realize that this guy is a lame horse to bet on.
I've said this before, but Kerry's big win yesterday can't be good for Hull. Less excitement about the 16th means less soft voters to the polls, which means less gimmees for Mr. Name Recognition.
In the last day or so, I've gotten a bunch of emails from people scolding me for describing Hull as "ferret-like." Let me explain. Of course a candidate's looks should absolutely be a non-factor in an election. I think we can all agree on that. But I think that we can all also agree that with so much emphasis on t.v. ads that ideal just doesn't play out. Those commercials are carefully crafted to play up whatever positive aspects a candidate has and also to play down their faults. They’re fake, they’re commercials (my favorite scene from the Candidate is when the Redford character views the commercial that used the “authentic” footage). Notice how Obama and Hynes, who are both decent orators, do most of the talking in their ads. Also notice that Hull's ads are mostly voiced over by some sugary paid voice. Then there's Hynes' new commercial featuring his attractive and successful wife (some sort of doctor). He'd be stupid not to push her in front of the camera, and that spot is partially successful because husband and wife are portrayed as a successful good-looking couple. My point isn’t to reduce everything to looks. It’s just to say that in the t.v. world they do matter (hell, my ugly mug wouldn’t help me much if I had commercials).
So in that post from the other day, I was commenting that Pappas' entry into t.v. land might be more effective considering she's not too hard on the eyes (I haven’t seen the spots yet, so that’s why I continue to use the conditional). I contrasted her projected ads against those featuring Hull, who, unless I'm missing something here, isn't exactly Clark Gable. Basically, I was saying that from the passive t.v. viewer’s perspective Pappas' ads would be a welcome change to the average looking Hull ads, which they have been inundated with for months. And I'm sorry, I still think that he looks a little like a ferret, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.