Let’s give the independent Republican organization Crossroads GPS its due: The new TV commercial it splashed across Ohio last week at least dealt with a serious topic.
The commercial certainly was misleading. But instead of focusing on offshore bank accounts and who has shipped the most jobs overseas, the commercial deals with taxes, health care and energy. Consider that progress.
Crossroads GPS, founded by former White House adviser Karl Rove, launched a major TV blitz aimed against Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is being challenged by Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
The TVs spot is entertaining, relying on images based on such game shows as Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune. “It’s time to play: Who is the biggest supporter of the Obama agenda in Ohio?” The answer, as might be expected, is Sherrod Brown. But it seems like the producers over at Crossroads GPS either are oblivious to the facts or just don’t care.
The commercial contended that Brown supported cap-and-trade, a market-based regulatory system aimed at slashing greenhouse gases emitted by industrial and utility plants. Cap-and-trade is popular among environmentalists, but lawmakers from industrial states such as Ohio do not share their enthusiasm.
The reason? Cap-and-trade helps curb global warming but could strike a major blow to Ohio’s heavy industries.
That presented a quandary to Brown. Reporters have long suspected that deep in his heart he would like to be known as an environmentalist. But when he had a chance in 2008 to vote for a cap-and-trade bill, Brown opposed it.
In 2009, the Democratic-controlled House passed a new cap-and-trade bill, which then made its way over to the Senate. Once again, Brown faced a tough choice. He said that while the bill was “ something I can support eventually,” he made clear that it fell “short of what we need” to protect U.S. manufacturers from imports from countries that had weak environmental laws.
Translation: Brown would have voted against the bill had it reached the floor. But it never did.
The Crossroads GPS commercial took one word uttered by Brown —support — and twisted that into the charge that Brown was a supporter of cap-and-trade. No, he was not.
So why should you care about this organization? Well, in the next few months, Crossroads GPS plans to spend something north of $7 million trashing Brown. It will be difficult for anyone in Ohio with a TV set to miss seeing these commercials.
In addition, nobody has any idea who is financing Crossroads GPS. The organization is registered under federal tax law as a 501 (c) 4, which means it has to provide the Internal Revenue Service with only limited information about its contributors.