Saturday, May 26, 2012
Jeff the Plumber
Democrat Congressional candidate and Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth has put with his now viral and nationwide You Tuber some life into what has been a moribund primary election campaign to see who gets the honor of taking on and probably losing to Congresswoman Kristi Noem in November’s General Election.
Opinion is divided at this point about the quality and effectiveness of the video. One thing we can stipulate, it has gotten attention. The SD political press has covered it, even on the front pages of the daily news. On You Tube it has watches in over 6 figures and reportedly Barth was interviewed on a Cable TV news show. How many campaign contributions has he raised from it? Don’t know, haven’t heard.
However I like it. Jeff’s walk in the woods has the potential to be a game changer. While we haven’t heard much about this race, the buzz in political circles is Matt Varilek will win. Varilek the former Tim Johnson staffer who opposes Barth is the establishment candidate. He has the endorsement, Senator Johnson, Daschle, McGovern, et al. The thinking among other pundits and the few Democrat leaders I come in contact with is that Varilek has the cash and the Johnson machine thus is the over whelming favorite and Barth has no chance. Since so little activity has been seen if the buzz is correct, Varilek to this point must be taking a June win for granted and husbanding his cash for Noem in November. I assume the Johnson machine is ready if needed to do robo calls or cards or letters from the Senator.
The no chance may have changed. A couple of weeks ago in an Argus Leader podcast with both Mutt and Jeff, Varilek cavalierly thinking he has the primary sewn up and moving on to the political center revealed he did not agree with President Obama’s support of Gay Marriage. In and of itself that prompted more than a few active Dems to leave the Varilek camp, a crack in the foundation, a crack not a collapse.
One of the most influential and campaign savvy Democrats in South Dakota (if not America) is Steve Hildebrand. Hildebrand is a supporter of Gay Marriage. In case anyone in SD doesn’t know, Hildebrand had been a top Democrat campaign consultant and strategist in the Democrat Party nationally. In 2008 he was the deputy campaign manager for Barack Obama and is widely given credit for Obama’s win in the Iowa Caucus. This is speculation on my part, but with Varilek’s declaration that he does not support Gay Marriage, Hildebrand may have switched horses mid stream in the Dem primary to Barth. Should that be the case and I am speculating that video maybe in part may be the work product of the talented Hildebrand. Its scripting has the DNA of a real professional. It is not lost on me that the You Tube was in the hands of Huffington Post and other national pundits within the hour of its release.
If I were Varilek I would be a little worried. 1. The video may bring some serious attention to Barth with Primary election voters. It’s called earned media and Barth is getting tons of it. 2. It may bring Barth some much needed coin 3. The I am mad as hell message rings true with almost all voters R and D.
If I were Barth, I would be putting together a walk on the woods nos. II and III.
Sidebar – In the run up to the 1980 election, the mad as hell message was the moniker of Eddie Chiles. Chiles ran that message at the conclusion of his nationwide radio ads touting Conservative principles. Chiles who lived in Forth Worth was also at one time the owner of the Texas Rangers later selling the team to a group led by George W. Bush. Chiles wife served for a time as the Republican National Committeewoman from Texas. The mad as hell message help set the stage for the 1980 Reagan victory and the Republicans picking up 9 Senate seats and the majority in the U S Senate.
The Democrat National Committee and the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee should be helping Barth. He is their 2012 answer to Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher aka Joe the Plumber (and thus the foil to what they call the GOP Do Nothing Congress). If Barth doesn’t win in June he easily could find employment (and I mean Big Bucks) as the Democrat poster boy. The video is effective in the sense it speaks to the frustration of Americans.
Disclaimer on Jeff Barth – Jeff Bath is a good guy. I like him. I posted on him several years ago. It’s always interesting to see the facial hair shaved clean when running for higher office. One of the comments stated “Barth is a huge liberal, did you know that? I know that and just because he’s liberal does not mean that he is bad. Liking him and sending him to Congress are different matters. His mad as hell message is compelling to this Republican as well. Jeff and I just see the solutions differently. Jeff also likes chess and encourages children through SD Chess and Sioux Empire Chess to do the same.