Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why All the Secrecy About Esty's Campaign Strategy?

A month after Elizabeth Esty's campaign team turned Nixonian and declined to let the New Haven Register take a small peek inside the veil of her campaign for Connecticut's Fifth District Congressional seat, it has released it's "secret" campaign strategy.

A commercial about shoes.

Okay, not really. The shoes are supposed to represent a metaphor for how hard working Esty will be if she gets elected to Congress.

As campaign commercials go, it's not bad, but it's not exactly memorable either. Certainly not a game changer, as many contend that this 1960s presidential campaign commercial was.

It begs the question about why the campaign would not want free publicity about the making of it. And that's just what I asked one day last month when Esty's film crew turned up in my Cheshire neighborhood.

 Jeb Fain, her campaign spokesman, offered a terse "we don't comment on campaign strategy" that day when I told him I was interested in doing a story on what was going with the video shoot. And shortly after standing in my way when I asked to shoot video of what was going on, her campaign operatives made a hasty departure from the neighborhood.

Esty's campaign predictably upbeat about the release of the commercial on Tuesday.

We’re excited to begin a new phase of the campaign,” Esty's Campaign Manager Julie Sweet said in a written statement. “Elizabeth has been getting out and meeting with folks all across the district since beginning her campaign over a year ago. Our field team and volunteers have already knocked on thousands of doors and made tens of thousands of phone calls to voters in our grassroots effort. This ad will ensure that Elizabeth can reach as many new voters as possible with her message of accountability and commonsense problem solving to fix Washington.”

Political commercials are supposed to say something about the kind of leader that the subject of the advertisement will be.

 But in this case, could it be that the Esty campaign's behavior in dealing with an innocent media request speaks to the kind of elected official she would be? Would Congresswoman Esty be open and transparent in office as we expect our public officials to be?

I don't pretend to know the answer to that question. But as someone who knows me very well said  Tuesday morning  when I told her the story of the mishegas surrounding the campaign commercial, "Some things need to be kept private. This wasn't one of them."

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