Terri Lynn Land’s campaign crashing and burning before she even makes a public appearance

Actually, it’s more like the Koch brothers’ campaign…

Terri Lynn Land can best be described as the U.S. Senate candidate in absentia. Unlike her Democratic opponent Gary Peters who has been touring the state talking to voters, Land hasn’t made public appearance in months, not one where she could be asked direct questions since she began her tepid campaign to replace Sen. Carl Levin. She has appeared at a handful of Republican events, one for which she wasn’t even listed on the event flyer. But that hasn’t stopped her from running a campaign so full of fail that it is crashing and burning before it even gets off the ground.

The main thrust of Land’s campaign has two components: (1) Raise a ton of money to add to the pile she’s already contributed from her own vast wealth (nearly $2 million by last count) and (2) step back and let the Koch brothers slam her opponent through their corporatist front group Americans for Prosperity. The latest AFP ad, featuring a woman from my home town of Dexter, is getting torn to shreds by fact checkers and human beings with functioning brains across the country.

The ad is so bad that Tom Van Howe at CBS’s WWMT.com says it just needs to go away:

My own observation is that Julie was a little confused, and Americans for Prosperity took advantage of her.

Certainly they knew the details even if she didn’t.

The ad campaign is now discredited. It ought to be pulled. But AFP knows that a lot of people will keep right on believing.

And TV stations will keep right on taking the ad money.

But it would be nice if one of the stations in this state simply said, “your commercial is misleading and inflammatory and we’re not going to air it anymore.”

Wishful thinking, but it would be nice.

It IS wishful thinking because the Koch brothers don’t give a damn if what they say is true as long as it protects corporations.

As far as Julie Boonstra being taken advantage of, I don’t think it’s just AFP that’s involved. She owns a home property with the former chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Party Mark Boonstra, a vacant lot next to Mr. Boonstra’s Dexter home.


Screen shot from Washtenaw County Property/Parcel Lookup website

So it’s not like she doesn’t have serious connections to partisan politics. Seems to me that one of her relatives played a considerable role in taking advantage of her “confusion”.

As Greg Sargent points out in his essay “How Americans for Prosperity’s Obamacare attacks could backfire on GOP”, things are only going to get worse for Land very soon once Medicaid expansion kicks in in Michigan. That’s when hundreds of thousands of Michiganders are going to get access to affordable healthcare that they have not been able to get until now.

The GOP Senate candidate, Terri Lynn Land, is for full Obamacare repeal. So when the expansion kicks in for huge numbers in Michigan, who will she side with — AFP’s agenda, or that of GOP governor Rick Snyder? Will she support or oppose the expansion?

This gives Dems a way to turn the issue back on her, by painting her as extreme and a tool of out of state interests in a blueish state where the expansion could prove popular. Peters signaled he will do just that.

“The Medicaid expansion is going to help well over 400,00 people here, while the Koch brothers’ agenda is to stop these folks from getting health care,” Peters told me. “On this issue, you have to make a choice. Terri Land’s support comes from the far right and the Tea Party. Her strident stand that we must repeal the ACA alone would mean hundreds of thousands would no longer have access to critical coverage.”

Asked if the ACA was a problem for him, Peters defended the law, suggesting he won’t let attacks drive a wedge. “There are problems with implementation, and we need to make sure it’s fixed and working right,” Peters said. “But the ACA takes us in the direction we need to go. It’s a core belief of mine that everybody, no matter who you are, should have access to affordable health care.”

Asked if it was a political mistake to write to TV stations demanding documentation for AFP’s cancer victim ad — as some claim — Peters suggested AFP attacks would continue meeting an aggressive response. “These ads are coming from out of state billionaires trying to determine our next Senator,” he said. “If they put ads on TV, they should have documentation for what they claim.”

You can read Peters’ letter HERE (pdf). In it, he calls on stations running the ad to verify that it’s not a pack of lies or pull it. As Joan McCarter at Daily Kos says, it’s a smart move:

Taking on—and thereby exposing—the Kochs is smart politics. These are unscrupulous billionaires who are trying to buy the Senate. Defending Obamacare is increasingly smart politics, too, in Michigan and everywhere else in the country. It’s smart politics to point out that millions of people are benefitting—and that the Kochs and extremist Republicans are either preventing more millions from getting the health coverage they need or are trying to take it away through repeal.

Kudos to Peters for so unapologetically and forcefully fighting back here.

Sargent contacted the Land campaign to ask if she continues to support ending Medicaid expansion and throwing thousands and thousands of Michiganders back into the uncertain and sometimes fatal world of no health care. Their response was nearly comical in its lack of substance. It’s the classic non-answer answer:

I asked Land’s campaign whether she supports repealing the Medicaid expansion, in keeping with AFP’s agenda. Here’s the reply, via Land’s spokesperson, Heather Swift:

“Terri believes that healthcare should be affordable and accessible to all Americans and that we as a society have a moral obligation to help those who are not as fortunate and their children. Terri applauds Governor Snyder for doing what he believes is best for Michigan families, while complying with mandates from Congress brought down in ObamaCare.

“Out of control government spending is killing jobs and has put the federal government more than $17 trillion in debt. Now, Congress is making big promises to the most vulnerable among us. We’ve already heard the President and Members in Congress break the promise that if you like your healthcare, you could keep it.

“As a mom, business owner and public servant, Terri knows that ObamaCare does not work, and she supports health care reform that truly makes coverage affordable and accessible — that doesn’t kick people off their plan, force them to switch doctors, or increase their premiums.”

It is very hard to square that with support for repeal — remember, AFP is currently campaigning to block efforts to expand Medicaid in multiple states – though it stops short of openly embracing the expansion. This demonstrates, once again, that the politics of Obamacare hold pitfalls for Republicans, too.

Land’s campaign could only be worse if they got the guy who made Pete Hoekstra’s xenophobic, campaign-killing “China Girl” ad (now removed from YouTube, by the way) to start making ads for her. They’re probably too busy working for Republican Rick Snyder and trying to top ads that have images like these:

It’s really no wonder both Mark Schauer and Gary Peters are both ahead in the polls.

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