McMahon, Squier & Associates Produced the Burner Ad
by Matt Stoller, Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:36:36 AM EDT
Ok, this is interesting. Darcy Burner's bio spot I criticized this morning was produced by McMahon, Squier & Associates (via the subscription only Hotline), the people who brought you Howard Dean's 2004 TV spots that generated so much goodwill with everyone.
The firm is run by all around nice guy and progressive champion Steve McMahon. Aside from working for progressive powerhouses know as the tobacco and the pharmaceutical industries, McMahon made a a great impression on Markos and Jerome when they worked for Dean. I wonder what this super-advertising maven did to charm the guys who wrote Crashing the Gates.
In my four years in politics, I haven't met a bigger asshole, a more unsavory character than McMahon. When we met, his first words out of his mouth were literally, "If you get us more clients, we'll give you guys a percentage." No "hello", or "nice to meet you", or "Nice day, huh?" No, it was, "If you get us more clients, we'll give you guys a percentage." No person was more excited at the money raised by the Dean campaign than him -- not because he believed in Dean or the cause, but because he saw dollar signs from the percentages he was pocketting by handling Dean's media.
For example, McMahon worked on independent expenditure ads on behalf of JEB BUSH in 2002 (bashing Democratic candidate Bill McBride) at the same time he was gearing up his work for Howard Dean's presidential bid.
When I talk about consultants who are in the business to make money and could care less about winning or the cause or the movement, McMahon is Exhibit A. All hesitations I've ever had about Dean stem from the fact that he continues to associate himself closely with this guy -- a man so unprincipled that he has worked for big pharma against progressive principles and on behalf of Jeb Bush.
It's obvious that Darcy Burner is a great candidate who feels passionately about Iraq. Just listen to this excellent podcast from Doublespeak. She's articulate, powerful, intelligent, and progressive. She knows the politics, she has a great story, and will be a fantastic Congresswoman. I'm really blown away by her commitment to public service and her authenticity as a communicator. She's running for Congress because of her three year old son, and she wants Congresspeople who are willing to ask the hard questions.
And yet, Steve McMahon's firm has produced a horrible ad that is out of sync with the incredible raw material they have to work with. The conflicts of interest in his work with corporate and GOP clients are obvious, and explain the 'affordable health care' bland messaging.
What the hell is going on? Who recommended that she work with this firm? She's a first time candidate whose career has been spent at Microsoft, so it's not like she knows these people. Someone got her to hire this firm. Who was it? And just what is going on? An introductory bio spot that doesn't say she is a DEMOCRAT in a district that John Kerry WON? Unbelievable.