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Tom Campbell is baaaaaaaad

It's almost impossible for me to believe that this ad comparing fiscal conservatives to sheep -- but in a good way! -- is real. But it is! The problem with Tom Campbell, the ad says, is all of his independent thought.

Campbell is, to use a current metaphor on this blog, sort of a Paul Ryan figure in California. Very, very conservative. But interested in making progress on the issues facing the state. And that's exactly what the ad takes aim at. The narrator goes through efforts Campbell made to solve problems, and then asks the audience, can you believe all this responsible governance he attempted? The worst part is it's probably effective. Governance is unpopular! After all, if the solutions to all our problems were popular, then we wouldn't have all these problems lying around.

(Hat tip to Jonathan Chait. I also stole part of his title.)

By Ezra Klein  |  February 3, 2010; 6:07 PM ET
Categories:  California  
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"Campbell is, to use a current metaphor on this blog, sort of a Paul Ryan figure in California. Very, very conservative. "

well, he's a libertarian who is "socially liberal" in national parlance. he opposed prop 8 and wrote op-eds outlining his opposition.

the dude wearing a sheep costume at the end was creepy. the whole commercial was creepy.

Posted by: razibk | February 3, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Obviously neither Comrade Erza or anyone inside of the beltway has ever dealt with sheep using a herding dog. Put Erza and five of his vegan Obama supporting friends in a field and put five sheep in a field with a few mountain lions. Guarantee more of the sheep survive than humans. Same would hold true if you put Rush, Sean, Sean's lover Keith Olbermann, Glen Beck and Bill Oreilly out there with the mountain lions. Sheep aren't stupid and no they often times don't play follow the leader. Stupid humans.

Posted by: vaherder | February 3, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

While Campbell has become more conservative over the years, he started out as part of the David Packard machine in the Palo Alto/Stanford area (wealthy, entrepreneurial, socially liberal, pro immigration). Most of that constituency is now solidly Democratic, so he's had to search around for a new base.

Posted by: missionpeak | February 3, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention the horrible use of the word "literally." Campbell's budget "literally set the stage for the decline of California." Really? Like a Broadway play or something? And he "literally put the state on the path to bankruptcy." Like a little dirt road with a place called "bankruptcy" at the end of it?

Posted by: randrewm | February 3, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

This is like the attack ad that Andy McKenna, one of the Illinois GOP governor candidates, ran against fellow Republican candidate Kirk Dillard. McKenna's ad showed Dillard saying something complimentary about Barack Obama ("he's a smart guy" or some other such pap) and concluded by asking how anyone could vote for this guy? I mean, how could you vote for somebody who said something complimentary about the President of the United States? The horror!

Posted by: simpleton1 | February 3, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Words fail me.

Posted by: justin84 | February 3, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I met Tom Campbell many years ago. Talk about arrogant and narcissistic! Don't vote for the guy whatever you do.

Posted by: bmull | February 3, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, it doesn't make Tom Campbell sound very fiscally conservative. That having been said, boy is that ad just creepy.

Did somebody's kid produce that in Final Cut as part of a college class?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 3, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Tom Campbell is a career politician who feels he is entitled to hold office. He voted to impeach Clinton against the overwhelming desire of his constituency that he would not. He was thrown out of office for good reason. If he gets back in office, it would not speak well of the intelligence of Californians. Then again, those schmucks voted the star of the Predator movie in as Governor (his co-star, Ventura, became Governor of MN). Only in America.

Posted by: Lomillialor | February 3, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Best. Ad. EVER.

I'm totally in love with this ad. I love everything about it. The fact that being called a sheep is supposed to be complimentary. The guy crawling around -- I think it's supposed to be dramatically, in a slouching towards Bethlehem way -- on all fours (It's wolf/man/sheep! It's the human-animal hybrids we were warned about, finally here!) The glowing eyes. The description of sheep as "pious" and "wholesome." The "In a World Gone Mad" narration. The tumbling sheep cutout.

It is the most beautiful ad I have ever seen. Rarely does one encounter such a thing of complete perfection.

Vaherder, uhhhh, ok. Thanks for your totally random nuggets of animal husbandry wisdom. You know these sheep are metaphorical, right? Sheeple, if you will! Are you promoting cannibalism?

Posted by: tracy2 | February 4, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

The sheep with the glowing eyes is scaaaaary!!!

I seem to recall the schmucks in CA also voted in one of the characters from Bedtime for Bonzo as well. Sigh.

Posted by: justNat | February 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the style of the pillar bother anybody?

Posted by: therev1 | February 4, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Carley almost wrecked HP, then walked away with a munti million $$$$$$$ golden parachute. She was McCain's economic adviser in his 208 campaign until she said that McCain didn't have what it took to run a corporation (as if she did). Now she wants to be a senator? I don't thonk so.

Posted by: California_Jim | February 4, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

And here I was I worried that my moniker might lose relevance with the end of Dubya's administration.

Let word go forth from this place, that the torch of bat-s#%t crazy has been passed to a new generation of GOP candidates -- campaigns born of this century, unburdened by the tethers of logic or reality. Ask not what stupidity the Internet can give to you, ask what stupidity you can give to the Internet.

Posted by: Axisofstupidity1 | February 4, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

That ad is HILARIOUS! Oh, man.

The one part that isn't funny, as Ezra points out, is that it's basically designed to harm Campbell for doing what any reasonably responsible person would do when facing a fiscal crisis, which is to find new revenues.

It's all part of the huge and oddly transparent falsehood that the Republican Party is built on -- that we could have a balanced budget if we only just cut taxes. It's like saying we could get thin if only we ate a little bit more, or that our family would have enough money to live on if we only just all quit our jobs.

Can we please start calling people who say these things something other than "fiscally conservative"? Say, "fiscally stupid"?

Posted by: jeffwacker | February 4, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Odd add, creative in its way.

I wouldn't sign a "no new taxes" pledge in California, but if you think Tom Campbell is a fiscal conservative or skeptical of big gummint, you're ready to buy my bridge AND my swamp land in Florida.

Carly Fiorina brokered the HP-Compaq disaster. She's ready, willing, and able to screw up California next.

Posted by: GrumpyOldMan | February 4, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

That's why there's no center any more. I don't know how conservative Campbell is, but it seems all he is guilty of is trying to realistically deal with California's budget problems.

Posted by: ggilby1 | February 4, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I think if you go back and examine Tom Campbell's voting record and legislative proposals as a Member of the House of Representatives you will find he is not really much like Paul Ryan. He was more a Jack Kemp Republican and more a moderate than a conservative. He tended to favor market-oriented solutions so in that respect he and Ryan are similar, but he was not exactly a "shrink the government" guy as he supported a Federal role in a wide range of policies. I always thought Campbell favored some market-oriented solutions that basically would achieve liberal ends. He was with Kemp in favoring school vouchers for the inner-city poor and enterprise zones in urban neighborhoods. While I think school vouchers undermine public education, a reasonable argument can be made, especially when it is made by supporters of Civil Rights like Kemp and Campbell rather than far-right church-oriented groups, that they may actually help some inner-city children get a better and safer education.

But Campbell supported numerous rather centrist or even liberal policies and was always a liberal on environmental and social/cultural issues as well as Civil Rights. I suspect Campbell would have supported the Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and the Hate Crimes Bill that were passed last year and may even have supported the cap-and-trade bill as that bill is beneficial to California and widely popular in Campbell's home territory of Northern California particularly. Ryan opposed all of those pieces of legislation.

Therefore I think it is a big mistake to characterize Campbell as akin to Paul Ryan. I am quite sure Fiorina is to Campbell's right, not to his left.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 5, 2010 3:35 AM | Report abuse

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