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More about the AFP and its ad campaigns

by: Eric B.

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 14:33:02 PM EST

Got an e-mail this morning from someone that hinted that Americans for Prosperity could very well be getting ready to release another attack ad and that this one could focus on the uproar over its last ad.

Word has reached my ear, furthermore, that part of this story is what Boonstra says off camera, that she had to sell her home and drain her 401(k) because of her cancer. But, that it was before she changed over to an insurance plan that capped her out-of-pocket medical expenses. That is, the rumor is that not only are her personal costs more contained now, but that before the costs of her treatment were a very serious financial burden on her.

Again, that's rumor. I don't normally repeat rumors without a good reason, and my good reason here is to again point out that there are questions that political reporters need to ask about this, like what kind of financial stress Boonstra was under with her old insurance plan compared to now. If, as is the rumor, she really did have to sell her home and drain her retirement account under her old insurance plan, then this simply takes the last bit of wind from the sails of this narrative. The Koch brothers are making this the primary line of attack against Gary Peters, and the public just simply has a right to know whether they are being honest.

It also begs the question of whether she is being compensated. This is not just some question that I've pulled out of my hinder end, because elsewhere the Koch brothers actually did pay actors to appear in a commercial. Are they also paying Boonstra? There is no doubting her leukemia, but -- again -- the public has a right to know whether the AFP is being honest with them.

I really dislike where this is headed, which is to drag some poor woman's cancer through political mud. It's disgusting to see Americans for Prosperity take advantage of someone's illnes, and when called out for being dishonest use her as a human shield. It's shameful and disgraceful.

Eric B. :: More about the AFP and its ad campaigns
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On a different note
It appears as though that whole dust-up over whether Jerry Cannon did or did not talk to a reporter with the Mining Gazette really was a case of mistaken identity, after all:


Great Lakes, Great Times.

It could be.
You know, I'm not sure if it's yet known if we can make that judgement from what the article says.  It could have been mistaken identity, but it also doesn't appear we can rule out Garrett Neese having made up the call, entirely, until we hear something from him personally.  In that case, it could have been Mr. Neese being lazy and trying to meet a deadline or wordcount or something, or something more sinister.  We just don't know, yet.

Something still stinks about this whole thing, even in how the paper handled this correction.

[ Parent ]
Fair Enough.
Although I imagine we'll never know the full story.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Julie Boonstra chose to become a public figure
Her Obamacare story has more holes than the Old Course at St. Andrews, many of which have been pointed out by media fact-checkers.

That she went to AFP with her story about the Blues canceling her policy* gives off a ripe odor by itself. Most people don't know what AFP is, and those who do know it's a right-wing organization funded by the Koch brothers. It smells even worse that she calls out a congressman whose district is 50 miles away and doesn't represent her, and personally blames him for her insurance woes.

Let's not forget that someone picked up the tab for her trip to Washington to sit in the audience at the State of the Union address.

Either AFP is paying her for going on the air or she's got a political chip on her shoulder the size of a railroad tie--and these are not mutually exclusive.

* Like Ms. Boonstra and 225,000 other Michiganders, Mrs. Dudgeon and I received a cancellation notice from the Blues. We found a replacement policy on the federal exchange; the experience was an absolute nightmare but we didn't lose coverage because we bought the replacement before the old plan terminated.  

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Yes, not that it really matters whether she is being used or if this is a conspiracy, but at the end of the day, Julie Boonstra is a Grows-ass Woman as we say where I'm from, and like any adult, we are responsible for the decisions we make.  No one made Julie go on camera, that was a choice.  I very truly and geninely wish her all the best with her health.  But that doesn mean she gets to shirk accountability for her actions because she's sick.

She's less of the issue, here, than AFP very obviously.  In fact, she may be of such little importance to this that it's not important to focus this even mostly one her.  But, at the end of the day, it's a bit of an inappropriate apologism to paint her as only being a victim in all of this.  It's possible to think you're playing someone, and then be played in turn without realizing it.  Someone can be both a victim and a perp.  AFP and Julie Boonstra obviously both believe they got something out of this.  I don't think it inappropriate, at all, for someone to call both of them on their lies and failed attempt at political manipulation so long as we know where most of the blame lies, here (with AFP).

[ Parent ]
She did choose to become a public figure
She has also chosen to continue insisting that she's somehow worse off under her new insurance plan when it appears that she isn't. It is also warranted and even necessary at this point to ask about the nature of her relationship with AFP, considering that in other states the people who've appeared in their ads are paid actors. It's appropriate to ask if Julie Boonstra is, in effect, also a paid actor.

She is not, however, paying to put the ad on the air, and it's also unseemly to attack people with cancer. Fortunately there's an even better target in Americans for Prosperity, who not only are exploiting her illness for their political game, but when criticized are using her as a human shield. So, while we can ask about the specifics of her relationship with the organization, it's best to simply focus on what they're doing rather than do what the rightwing does, which is engage in a smear campaign against another person (anyone remember when Michelle Malkin dispatched her readers to rifle through someone's garbage during the SCHIP debate?).

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Julie Boonstra
freely chose to put her disease and her personal life out there for all to see, for overtly political reasons, so I have a hard time viewing her as any sort of a victim. If she was concerned about privacy, she wouldn't have been sitting in the audience at the SOTU. And of course she's being compensated. I would not be surprised to learn she was already a teabagger before all this came about. I wonder... did she approach them, or did AFP dig her up on their own?

She's being exploited by the AFP
There are parallels between her and Cindy Sheehan. If she really thinks that Obamacare has done her wrong, she's entitled to her opinion and I see no reason to destroy her for sharing it. But, she is being exploited by the Americans for Prosperity, not just for her disease but as a human shield. They're paying for the ad, so they're responsible for lying to the American public.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Is it possible
to exploit the willing? She's certainly entitled to her opinion, but she's not entitled to her own facts. I'll grant you she may not have expected to be the center of so much attention, but she's incredibly naive if she thought going to the SOTU and then appearing in an attack ad about a contentious and high profile issue was not going to expose her to public scrutiny. AFP is likely guilty of not pointing any of this out, but still, it takes two to tango. And now we get the standard Republican persecution claim. First they lie, then they accuse those who call out the lie of being mean to someone involved in telling the lie.

AFP is a bunch of lying liars, and they richly deserve to be raked over the coals for this, but she's no unwilling victim of circumstances either.

[ Parent ]
It is possible to exploit the willing
She is being exploited, not just her illness but as a human shield. And I agree with you that she's not entitled to her own facts and that if she's lying it's fair game to point that out. However, at the end of the day, AFP is entirely responsible for the content of ads that it pays for. They are responsible for it to not just the public but the Tee Vee stations they buy air time from (not that the Tee Vee stations seem to mind ... they probably are just happy to get the ad dollars).

Also, while everyone is focusing on inaccurate claims she made in the ad, it keeps the attention on her rather than AFP. That's why they're now trying to make it Gary Peters vs. cancer-stricken Julie Boonstra instead of Gary Peters vs. a factually inaccurate ad.

From a political standpoint, the longer the focus stays on her the worse it is for Peters because it buys into the idea that it's a cancer lady versus big, evil politician. Again, recall how Michelle Malkin dispatched her readers to go rifling through the garbage of people who testified in favor of SCHIP. It made it look like she was picking on a sick kid.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Julie Boonstra
freely chose to put her disease and her personal life out there for all to see, for overtly political reasons, so I have a hard time viewing her as any sort of a victim. If she was concerned about privacy, she wouldn't have been sitting in the audience at the SOTU. And of course she's being compensated. I would not be surprised to learn she was already a teabagger before all this came about. I wonder... did she approach them, or did AFP dig her up on their own?

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