It's still March, and there are still 218 days remaining until the midterm elections, but by one estimate, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity has already spent $30 million this cycle. Democrats and their allies, of course, already know they can't match these kinds of expenditures.
But they also know they can't afford to stay on the sidelines, either. With this in mind, Senate Majority PAC, which exists to help elect Democratic Senate candidates, is airing ads in a variety of states, including this interesting spot in Michigan.
For those who can't watch clips online, the ad is airing in Michigan and targets Republican Terri Lynn Land, telling viewers that "billionaires" are paying for her campaign. Just as important, it tells viewers that under the policy preferred by Land, who supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, "insurance companies will be able to deny you coverage when you get sick" and "women's access to preventive health care would be cut while their costs increase."
There are a few interesting angles to this. First, on the surface, is the fact that Dems are at least somewhat concerned about the Michigan race, or they wouldn't bother with ads like these. Second, note that references to the Koch brothers are often subtle -- this spot doesn't mention them by name at all.
But what matters most, of course, is the substance. For all the talk about Democrats assuming a defensive crouch on health care, spots like these try to do the opposite -- ACA repeal is unpopular and Senate Majority PAC is trying to take advantage of that, highlighting real-world consequences of destroying the system.
As Greg Sargent put it, the ad "is in line with advice offered by Paul Begala and David Axelrod: To flip the script on Obamacare by leading with an attack on Republicans for threatening to take away your medical rights, rather than by defensively claiming Dems will fix the law. But, by tying repeal to the Kochs, it also sheds more light on the real purpose of the Dem "Koch addiction" strategy. The goal: To dramatize the GOP policy agenda as a blockade against efforts to increase economic mobility and protect working and middle class Americans from economic harm, maintaining an economic status quo that is rigged against them and for the one percent."
Also last week, Senate Majority PAC unveiled a related ad in Arkansas, targeting Rep. Tom Cotton (R) with a similar message.
Note, it shows footage of ads for the Kochs' AFP, without mentioning the Kochs themselves.
The ad also takes advantage of Cotton's support for the House Republican budget plan, which pushed to end the Medicare program and replace it with a voucher system.
The larger takeaway from both ads: Dems realize they can and probably should go on the offensive on health care. Look for more of this as the campaign season progresses.