“This is not the Clinton health-care battle, it’s not the sort of level of ads that we’re seeing on energy issues,” says Goldstein. “This is not an issue where there’s a heavily engaged air war.”
Some of that might have to do with the structure of the negotiations: Unlike health care or other legislative battles, this one doesn’t boil down to a specific issue. What, exactly, the supercommittee is doing is still pretty nebulous, with proposals and counterproposals flying back and forth each day. Who you’re messaging is different, too.
“Usually it’s the red team advertising against the blue team and blue team against the red team,” Goldstein explains. “Here, some of the advertising is more about bucking up your own team, telling them to not wimp out.”
Lastly, there’s also issues of where to run ads with only 12 members involved in negotiations right now, and many not up for reelection in the 2012 cycle. “Lobbyists may not be sure how to work this issue because it’s such a unique structure,” says Goldstein.
This all could, however, change as the supercommittee moves into the final throws of negotiations. Just this morning, a coalition of labor groups including SEIU and AFSCME put up ads targeting non-supercommittee members including Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), urging them to vote against any eventual package that might cut Medicare:
Or, as Goldstein puts, “We’re going into the fourth quarter of the supercommittee deliberations. It’s going to be interesting to see if that changes things.”