Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Moment of Clarity

From August 12, DFL candidate for Governor Mark Dayton on the scourge of negative ads:

Just a day after he declared victory in the DFL gubernatorial primary, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton called for an end to all negative ads -- including those from outside groups supporting him.

"I mean it," he said.

The call comes weeks after the Democrat-supporting Alliance for a Better Minnesota released an ad smacking Republican Tom Emmer for past drunk driving charges and a day after the Minnesota Republican Party smacked Dayton for his past Senate history.

From December 1, the soon to be certified as Governor Mark Dayton, on the benefit of negative ads:

Dayton, who is clinging to a 9,000 vote lead over Republican Tom Emmer in the still unresolved Minnesota governor's race, said if it had not been for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, he would have likely come up short.

Fueled by labor unions and Dayton's ex-wife, Alida Messinger, the Aliance raised several million dollars to air television ads against Emmer. According to, Messinger poured $500,000 of her own money into the effort.

"If it hadn't been for the DGA getting involved, with sort of the groups that were started in Minnesota, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota ... the definitions they did to the Republican, I wouldn't of had the chance to prevail," Dayton said.

"The definitions they did to the Republican" refers to the ad where the Alliance for a Better Minnesota exploited the mother of a child killed by a drunk driver to voice anti-Emmer ads, conflating her suffering with distortions of Emmer's voting record and drinking related charges Emmer faced over 20 years ago. It was a low point in the history of Minnesota elections.

Despite Dayton's contrived call for an end to negative ads, it ran throughout the election. I recall seeing it during the World Series just a few days before Nov. 2. Despicable. And that's not just my characterization. From MPR, candidate Mark Dayton himself during his August the press conference:

Dayton said he thinks the anti-Emmer ad crosses the line.

Over the line in August, to a subject of whimsy in December:

He said he teased his ex, asking her, "Did you ever imagine you'd be spending these two years of your life doing all this to elect your ex-husband governor of Minnesota?"

Mark Dayton, by any means necessary.