…there are problems with it in terms of how useful it will be in defeating the incumbent Democrat in the Senate race.
In case you missed our post about the video yesterday, here it is again…
The video is almost like conservative porn, and what’s even better was Mary Landrieu’s reaction to it…
Guillory just did a segment with Neil Cavuto backing the video which was quite good. Cavuto asked him about why black voters are consistently in the Democrats’ pocket, and like virtually every other Republican Guillory couldn’t give a definitive answer.
UPDATE: The video of Guillory’s appearance on Cavuto…
Which we don’t blame him for. There is no good reason for why the black community persists in empowering the American Left to be its governing class given what Guillory properly says is a terrible record of performance.
In fact, that video is an outstanding piece of messaging. To the extent it can be presented to the black community it has the potential to change minds, or at least challenge the accepted wisdom. It’s an exercise in starting fires in the enemy’s camp, and we are huge fans of the GOP and conservative movement doing precisely that. You must act to disrupt the opposition’s institutional structure and destabilize his constituencies.
And that’s why when we talked to a pair of conservative political operators – one an activist with a very prominent conservative group and the other a well-respected political consultant – who expressed a great deal of frustration with the video that we agree is well-founded, we were ready to throw our hands up.
Why the frustration? Start with the length of the video.
“It’s two minutes and 20 seconds long,” said one of the two. “You can’t put a 2:20 video on TV, and if it’s not on TV it’s not going to get seen by any black voters in Louisiana. The only people who will see it are white conservatives who read blogs or other conservative websites.”
He continued, “Those people can’t influence black voters in Louisiana. All they can do is write a check to Free At Last PAC. And Free At Last PAC will then turn around and pay the guy who produced the video with whatever funds get brought in.”
The guy who produced the video is our pal Chris Comeaux, whose work on the Lenar Whitney 6th District congressional race we discussed last night.
The other guru we talked to about this video was even more skeptical. “I wonder if they knew when they produced this thing that somebody might come to them and be willing to fund an ad buy with it, that it was too long and would have to be re-cut or re-shot. Because if so, then that would give the videographer another chance to make a buck off it.”
“It makes you wonder if there was ever an intent to make an impact on the Senate race at all.”
Those are rather harsh critiques of the video. And as said above we really like it as a piece of messaging. But from the perspective of the two old pros we talked to about it, one has to admit that this thing was not built correctly if it’s going to be a game-changer.
Elbert Guillory gets Fox News hits on a semi-regular basis. He’s likely going to spend most of this week in the spotlight as a result of this video. This shows he’s marketable as a conservative figure and as somebody who can do some heavy lifting in changing the political calculus within the black community in and out of Louisiana.
And there are people who would like to help him do that. Both in and out of Louisiana. There was a good deal of excitement when Guillory announced, after a lot of waffling, that he would be a candidate for Lt. Governor next year. But there was a problem – Guillory actually showed a negative balance in his Louisiana campaign account at the end of last year, and it’s going to take a cool million bucks to run for Lt. Governor. If he’s doing a lot of fundraising for that race right now we don’t know about it, and we would be in a position to know.
As for Free At Last PAC, we looked at its most recent FEC filing, which was dated June 30. Free At Last PAC had all of $100 in the bank at that time, and in fact had over $20,000 of debt.
There is zero reason why Elbert Guillory shouldn’t be sitting on a nice chunk of cash, both in his campaign account and in his PAC. He ought to be in a position to play in races he’s not running in, and to run for a statewide office like the one he’s said he’s running for. But if he’s in the hole the way he is despite the obvious rhetorical talent he possesses, then one has to question the quality of the management and advice he’s getting.
What’s more, there’s this. Sarah Palin saw Guillory’s video and said it was the greatest thing ever…
All of which is great. Except for a small problem – which is that Guillory isn’t backing Rob Maness like Palin is. Guillory endorsed Bill Cassidy back in December.
So when Palin turns Guillory’s indictment of Landrieu into implied support of Maness, he’s got to push back against that or else his Cassidy endorsement, and his credibility, will suffer for it.
Has that been done so far? Well, there is this…
What’s lacking here is purpose and clarity. If Guillory wants to raise money for Free At Last PAC, then by all means he should do so. The best way would have been for that video to have been cut as a :60 spot so that fundraising emails could have been blasted out to all those white conservatives who read blogs and watch Fox News saying “This web ad is ready to go up on TV, and all we need is $20 from you to get it on the air in Louisiana TV markets to influence the Senate race.” That would have been a very marketable push and it’s entirely likely that it would generate enough dollars to go up on TV, to clean up some debt, pay Comeaux for his video and even put a few bucks away toward the next Free At Last PAC project.
Since it wasn’t, the only real fundraising push you can make is to ask donors to fund things like Facebook ads to push the video to a target market of black voters in Louisiana – which, while it’s doable, is a lot harder to explain to the conservative donor class. And by the way, that donor class doesn’t really throw a lot of money around simply in appreciation for some video some guy made. Trust us – you don’t get rich doing that.
And if Guillory is trying to help Cassidy with black voters, he can’t just sit there and let Palin co-opt him as a Rob Maness advocate. Allowing other people to define your message is a bad way to keep your message relevant.
These are not criticisms of Guillory, again. He’s great on that video, and he was great on Cavuto today. What this is, rather, is a critique of how his political interests are being managed. Within a day of that video’s production it’s being misused by a camp Guillory doesn’t belong to in the race he seeks to affect and it’s already hamstrung as a fundraising opportunity. The strategy around the video, those things peripheral to Guillory’s performance which can maximize its value both to his interests and those of the party and movement he belongs to, is what a political consultant is for.
Good consultants manage those things to advantage. Bad ones usually manage to get paid.
UPDATE: Guillory said today (October 2) that Free At Last PAC is re-cutting the video to make it a :60 TV ad. If you agree with the analysis above and you want to see this message reach the audience it needs to reach, click here and follow instructions.