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Brewer attack piece

by: Eric B.

Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 09:23:22 AM EST

Update! ...  MIRS did a story on the attack ad last night. New information:

Joe DiSANO of Main Street Strategies said he'll be voting for Brewer this Saturday for re-election, but said he isn't sure how effective the hit piece will be. Democrats are looking to be uplifted after suffering losses at the state level in the 2012 election. 

"I don't think Democrats were prepared to see this in their mailboxes," he said. "You know me, I'm the first one to go to the gutter, as long as it works . . . I just think there are a lot of folks who will be turned off by this." 

DiSano said neither he nor his company, Main Street Strategies had anything to do with the piece.

Normally, I'd include this at the bottom of the post, but the mailer is so freaking big that probably if I put it there, very few people would read it. So, it's at the top.

Someone asked for a copy of Mark Brewer's attack mailing that prompted robocalls from Jim Blanchard and someone else whose name escapes me this second. I have them.



I edited the second image to smudge out the name and address of the recipient.
Eric B. :: Brewer attack piece
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Brewer attack piece | 39 comments
Blogging while driving?
Yikes, Eric! Safety first.

I don't own a car
Someone e-mailed these to me.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
I'm not familiar
with that acronym?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough.
For those who may also be unfamiliar with what 'TLDR' represents, it appears to be 'Too Long, Didn't Read.'

This is a very text-heavy piece; the originator presumably believes that Democratic Party members/activists would be content-focused and likely to read it in its entirety. They probably would.

Nonetheless, I cannot decipher the text of the piece from the images.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I can't make out
the return address from Grand Ledge. Are others able to determine that address?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

Keystone Millbrook's address in Grand Ledge
It's the address to Keystone Millbrook in Grand Ledge, a print shop that does a lot of work for Democratic candidates. It's one of the largest union print shops in the state, and does mailings too.  

[ Parent ]
First an attempt to block delegates, now this. Brewer, with his 18 years in office, should be above this. This is not how a (confident) incumbent operates. Either Brewer sees that it is well within the realm of possibility that he goes down this Saturday, or he's just this pathetic.  

In past years:
Mark Brewer has sent a positive mailing promoting his candidacy prior to the state convention when the chair race would be "up for election" even when a choice never materialized.

Did he also send out a pro-Brewer mailing this year?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

Yes, he has sent out at least two positive pieces.

"Action is what separates a belief from an opinion."

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the update!

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Back in 2009, yes (nt)

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
If only we mobilized this swiftly and efficiently ALL the time...
It's amazing how much has been compressed into a mere three weeks -- phone banks, robocalls and robopolls (both to my home phone AND cell), lit mailings, joint appearances, endorsements, fundraising, and complete opposition  research with associated negative campaigning.

So why can't the MDP mobilize like this for the races that MATTER to the rest of the State?

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

At This Point
I would not be surprised if the Republicans sent its negative research file on Johnson to "help" Brewer. Amazing how much you can get done in a mere three weeks...

[ Parent ]
You are naive if you think that the MDP and the House Dems don't have an opposition research file on Lon from his the beginning of his race. You always research your own candidate in order to avoid an October surprise. I'm sure the party has much more damaging info on Lon, but this mailer is just about something that matters to party activists:  voting.

Either way...I kept hearing about this mythical "hit piece" and I finaly got it today.  My reaction? "That's it?"  It's basically a mailer with a clip of a news article, and none of it is sensational or surprising considering that a voting record is public information and the bulk of the text was in the newspaper.

[ Parent ]
At first I'm told that the MDP has nothing to do with House races! Now I'm told they do! Oh! So confusing! And what's worse is that the party has even more dirt on Johnson!

So now, I don't understand why Michigan voted for Obama, after all McCain and the Republicaners hit him with this poor voting record in the Illinois senate! Who were those party activists that got Obama through the primaries? Who was "present?"

BTW, my prior comment was, eh, satire.

[ Parent ]
Not confusing
If you've worked a couple cycles in Lansing.

I believe the R's will LOVE it if Brewer is voted out. They hate him for a reason. He's too smart to do anything illegal, and they've spent years trying to trip him up. It's why they use his name so much.  

[ Parent ]
OK, this hit my mailbox just now.
On the address side, it has this pull-out quote from near the start of the article:

According to election records, Johnson, now a resident of Kalkaska County, has routinely ignored voting in local elections for municipal offices and has voted only once over the past decade in a school election. But his biggest transgression, from the standpoint of loyal Democrats who will vote on the chairmanship Feb. 23, may be his failure to vote in the November 2010 election when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder was chosen by the Michigan electorate as the successor to Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

Then, on the reverse, it has the whole article continuing from that point on, as posted here:


The type is so small that I think the calculation is most folks will skip reading the whole thing -- which contains parts much more positive towards Lon -- and just think, "Wow, it must be pretty bad if they are writing that much about it." And, even for most party activists, I think that is probably correct.

Here's a Link to the Blanchard Robocall
Here's a Link to the Blanchard robocall made in response to Brewer's (anonymous) negative piece against Johnson.


What an ugly lit piece!
Too text heavy. I do like the paper cut out though, It's  a nice touch to any piece where you're trying to lend credibility to your argument.

The biggest problem both candidate are going to run up against right now are the committed delegates. 90% of people who traditionally go to the convention have already made up their minds.

At this point both of the candidates need to stay focused on identifying non-traditional voters and getting them to COBO.

You may wish to block-out the nine digit Zip Code, too.

Righteous indignation is also a political tactic.
The robo-call on this last night reminds me of the movie Casablanca:
RICK - How can you close me up? On what grounds?
RENAULT - I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
CROUPIER - Your winnings, sir.
RENAULT - Oh. Thank you very much.
RENAULT - Everybody out at once!

The Real Qustion
Is which message carried better.
An anonymous hit piece or a phone call from Blanchard?

Customer: Are you sure this place is honest?
Carl: Honest? As honest as the day is long!

[ Parent ]
Probably neither.
I don't think there are many votes that can be persuaded at this point.

A month ago, before the membership deadline, there were votes to be CREATED, by signing people up.  (Note that the application form doesn't seem to require a signature or any statement that the person named is actually behind the application.)

Right now, there are MDP members who can be convinced to show up for the event.  "Mobilization" we might call it.

And Saturday, there may be a few votes which are cast by people who are just following orders from their employers or factional leaders, so they might be horse-traded.

But I don't think much of anybody cares what Jim Blanchard has agreed to say, nor can be discouraged by finding that Lon missed the 2010 election while living out of state.

I think - like always - campaigns do things they've done in previous campaigns, without much understanding or interest in whether they're effective in the actual context in which they are presently deployed.

[ Parent ]
Don't Disagree
Especially this:

I think - like always - campaigns do things they've done in previous campaigns, without much understanding or interest in whether they're effective in the actual context in which they are presently deployed.

[ Parent ]
That's what makes The Analyst Group so exciting
As Sasha Issenberg tells in "The Victory Lab", we're beginning to see on the Democratic side, the beginnings of the use of scientific method to decide what works, in place of sole reliance upon the story-telling of old men.  Maybe someday we'll leave behind the culture of mysticism and superstition, for one in which real progress is not only possible, but inevitable.  Like leaving alchemy behind for chemistry, or chiropractic for modern medicine.

Could such change even reach the MDP?  Is it possible?

[ Parent ]
The Victory Lab
Is book, yes?

[ Parent ]
The Victory Lab
Is very GOOD book.  About $15 from Amazon.  Highly recommended, at least to people who are interested in the history of voter behavior modeling, and the practical use of models in campaign decisions.

[ Parent ]
Of course Joe is supporting Brewer
He's one of the MDP's preferred (read instant kickback to the MDP) consultants/suppliers - I doubt Lon has made promises to consultants and thus Joe is voting for his own interest. Nothing wrong with that but MIRS would have better served folks by stating that (of course most MIRS readers probably already know the basics on the Main Street/MSP relationship).

BTW - based on my experience dealing with Brewer on mailers, I'd lay even money Brewer designed that piece himself.  It's a terrible piece of mail and looks a lot like the crap Mark forced people to use so they could get the MDP's mail rate.  An example of the MDP chair hurting candidates and campaigns b/c he thinks he knows better than the people actually in the field and running campaigns.

I'm laughing
at anyone who thinks Mark designs mail pieces. He does, however, ensure that pieces mailed out by our candidates are legal and factual, which is no easy feat.

As for attacking DiSano/Main Street Strategies, for one thing, MIRS loves to quote Joe, he's like Rick Jones, always something pithy and sarcastic to add and two, I've seen no evidence that MSS is a "preferred" vendor, though I've used them for campaigns (and in a Primary, so no help from the party on that).  The MDP and both caucuses do consolidate printing and mailing to save money, and they also steer candidates to union print shops and mail houses.

Also, to be fair, I've been polled by Practical Political Consulting about my convention attendance and preferred candidate and by a robo-poll by another pollster.  So either PPC is on Lon's payroll, or I imagine, by the rather pointed public comments of its principals and ownership, is hoping to gain financially from a Brewer-dethroning, though I can't imagine why, since presumably the double-secret locked OFA data will become available to a Lon Johnson-run MDP, via his wife, rendering Grebner's data less of a commodity.  Julianna Smoot, by the way, is campaigning vigorously all over the place for her husband.  I don't get why. Presumably she won't be running the party, so unless we are supposed to {wink, wink, nudge, nudge} infer that she will bring the OFA data that the MDP and caucuses have been denied since '08 with her, what's the point? Other than to excite the OFA organizers who missed out on the $2500 their former colleagues are being paid to pimp for Lon.  

One Quibble with Your Post
I think you might back down just a tad on the guy's wife.

Why is she campaigning for him? Probably because she, loves him. Weird, huh?

[ Parent ]
Another quibble:
Being paid to pimp for Lon? Come on.

I don't know who is or isn't on anyone's payroll in this internal party race, but are we now taking issue with a campaign's use of paid operatives?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I'm confused, and maybe you are too.
The robo-poll, consisting of two questions and promising the results would be confidential, was (I'm pretty sure) from some other firm.  If you also got a live call from a "volunteer" - I use quotes because I think PPC may have "volunteered" the callers without asking them - that probably was ours, but wasn't really a poll.  More like a telephone canvass. Not my personal project, in any event.  They attempted to assign me some calling, which I converted into phoning two dozen old friends and talking about old times.  I enjoyed my three hours, but I didn't talk anybody into anything and didn't learn anything useful about the race for MDP Chair.

I don't think PPC is on Lon's payroll, if he has one.  I think we're just cheering for him, and doing what we can to help.  As I've explained elsewhere, PPC has suffered at Brewer's hands in ways that make us think fondly of obscurity and neglect.  

Unless you know some dark secrets about OFA, I would guess you're wrong about how they control access to their data.  I think they have a nationwide policy and that neither Smoot nor Johnson would have easy access to their data.  OFA has attorneys, license agreements, and a considerable degree of organizational independence, and even paranoia.  I don't know any secrets, but my planning doesn't assume the OFA/DNC data will become readily available.

[ Parent ]
I often find the truth funny too
I know how Brewer operates - I dealt with him on 7 mail pieces during the 2012 cycle.  We needed to save money and the MDP mail rate cut our costs in half.  However, to get that mail rate we had to sacrifice editorial control of the mail pieces to Brewer and this went far beyond fact checks.  He had no business trying to manage our messaging - his job was to make sure the quotes and facts were supported by cites but he thought he knew better than those actually in the field and running the campaign. As a result we had overly wordy mail pieces that were off message and rather ineffective.  Looking back we should have told Brewer and his stamp to take a hike and cut back elsewhere to afford the increased mail rate for effective and on-message mail pieces.  That was our error but I guess we figured the MDP Chair might actually be on our side and would work to support candidates not dick them around.

Further, Brewer directly tampered with our closing mail piece by acting in bad faith with his "edits" and pushing our piece past the MDP's self created deadline. So, when our mailing showed up at the Post Office the MDP's account was at zero, and our mailing sat on a dock for 36 hours while we tried to track down someone at the MDP to put money in their account.  Brewer knew the deadline all along and strung us out and then blamed us for missing his secret deadline (that he never saw fit to share).  As a result our last mailing probably arrived to half of our universe on Wednesday.  This is direct tampering by the MDP Chair of a Democratic campaign and candidate in a winnable seat.  

The logical question becomes, why was the MDP Chair hell-bent on messing with a campaign and candidate? Well, it's rather simple - the campaign choose to spend it's resources on media consultants and polling firms that were not preferred vendors of the MDP (and other Dem organizations) but these vendors were Dems - with long track records of success. This meant Brewer and the MDP didn't get their kickback from said consultants.  Brewer was more concerned about maintaining the consultant relationship then winning a race.  That's what 18 years in one office gets you. And of course, there's the issue that Brewer is a know-it-all prick, but I digress.

[ Parent ]
The Mark Brewer I have grown to know and love.
The details of your story are entirely new to me, but they have a remarkable ring of truth, once transplanted to the world of databases.  Insiders, cozy deals, meddling, counter-productive decisions based on political considerations, personal peevishness...

Definitely the same guy.

[ Parent ]
Footnote to this, and probably my last comment on the Chair's race:
The last pro-Brewer mailer came in the mail. On Saturday. After I had already left for the Convention, naturally.

[ Parent ]
Me too.
It didn't affect my vote.  In fact, come to think of it, dying en route wouldn't have affect it, since there wasn't any voting.

[ Parent ]
Brewer attack piece | 39 comments

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