Friday, May 22, 2009

Is It 2010 Already?

Although he is only four months and a few weeks into his first term, Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA5) is already being treated to television commercials promoting his re-election.

Two lobbying groups, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhrMA) and the Health Care Leadership Council, have paid for ads running in the Charlottesville market (and perhaps elsewhere within the 5th congressional district) aimed at highlighting Perriello's support for legislation that the groups are advocating and which benefits their corporate members.

The ads do not constitute "express advocacy" as defined by McCain-Feingold. That is, they do not expressly urge that viewers vote for one candidate or against another. But the ads do urge voters to telephone Congressman Perriello's Washington office and thank him for his votes. They are intended to make the freshman congressman look good to his constituents.

Could these TV commercials be the first campaign ads of the 2010 election cycle?

The voices that narrate the ads are juvenile -- one male, one female. The girl sounds like she's 8 or 10 years old, the boy sounds about 12. Laid over flattering photographs of Congressman Perriello, the narrators say he:

"voted to give health insurance to 200,000 Virginia children"

"voted to extend health care coverage to Virginia workers hurt by the recession"

"protected our veterans by making sure their treatment for combat-related injuries was covered"
The narration ends with this request:
"call Congressman Perriello and thank him for standing up for better health care"
It's hard to believe there are only 529 days between now and Election Day, 2010.

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Anonymous said...

What's more the ads 'bleed over' into Rep. Eric Cantor's district, who if memory serves me correctly is part of the Republican leadership. I think it's fantastic that instead of trying to block health reform the drug companies are engaging the Democrats to get something done that everyone can live with. Hopefully Congressmen Periello keeps that in mind when Nancy Pelosi tells him that he needs to vote for a radical government-run plan that will ruin rural docs and hospitals and drive up Medicare Drug Premiums for retirees. Moreover Cantor needs to force the Republicans to come to the table with ideas to incorporate into a Democratic bill, instead of demonizing common-sense proposals.

Thomas said...

PhRMA is an industry lobby dedicated to pretending to support health care reform, while spending whatever it takes to buy influence with members of Congress to block the most meaningful provisions of reform, namely the "public option" plan. PhRMA does not spend money to promote good public policy, it spends money to buy votes.

I've written several times to Congressman Perriello asking why it is that PhRMA feels so kindly to him, and what perhaps PhRMA feels it is buying from him.

So far my response from the Congressman has been the standard form reply-- "Thank you for your email..."