Pulling conservative Super-PAC ads from Michigan leaves us with "swing-envy"

Sep 7, 2012

Conservative Super-PACS have pulled their campaign ads supporting Mitt Romney in Michigan. That’s fueling speculation the Romney campaign and conservative groups will move their efforts and money elsewhere. 

Commentator Keith Oppenheim has these thoughts.

Back in June, I thought we had a chance.

The polls were getting tight.

The commercials were booming.

It appeared, for the first time in a long time, Michigan could be swing state.

I was into it.

I really wanted to be in a battleground, where the action is.

Because the way politics and media work, when you’re unpredictable, you get all the perks.…..lots of national attention, big campaign stops, get to see yourselves on TV…

But then, slowly but surely, as the summer moved on, the feeling started to slip, and I started to get a serious case of swing envy.

Swing envy can happen when a state close to you is getting all the love, and you’re not.

My swing envy got bad in July and August, when I spent a couple weeks in Ohio.

I could see - those buckeye voters know they matter.

Television there is like watching ping pong – Romney is capitalist pig, Obama is a failure, back and forth, non-stop.

The president, Governor Romney – they come to Ohio all the time.

The media there act like they’re more important – because, well, they sort of are.

And the funny thing is , Ohio is so like us in a number of ways…industrial state with a mix of right and left, big auto industry presence.

But they’re just slightly more split than we are – and in the end, everyone will probably be talking about them, not us.

Now I know things could change….we could get back in the game; you can’t ever be too sure.

But if polling trends continue, Obama will take Michigan…. and as long as the Romney camp and the super-PACs decide their cash is better spent elsewhere, we’ll be among 41 states where our vote is simply a prediction that comes true.

Nine states, including Ohio, get to be in the real contest.

We just watch.

Let me add, I can appreciate why things are the way they are.

To be politically effective, TV ads have to come in heavy doses – and the fact of the matter is, the United States is just too big for the campaigns to be able to afford an advertising blitz everywhere…..I mean, our elections are already ridiculously expensive.

I suppose the only way to dampen my jealousy of all those important voters in Ohio – would be to make the whole thing cheaper.

I guess, instead of going on for two whole years, we could do it in – oh, i don’t know, six months?

Instead of running a series of state campaigns, the candidates could afford to run a national campaign.

Instead of just a minority of voters feeling like they count, we could all feel like we matter.

Yeah - there’s an idea.

That might cure my swing envy.

Keith Oppenheim teaches broadcasting at Grand Valley State University.