It’s always amusing when someone’s words and efforts come back to bite them in the ass and its especially gratifying when a politician spends millions on attack ads, succeeds in imprinting a memetic theme into the national lexicon, and then has it used against him.

In the last Illinois Gubernatorial election, Rod Blagojevich launched a year long, expensive, negative television campaign against challenger Judy Baar Topinka. These ads were characterized by black and white images of Ms. Trobinka with the video and words sufficiently out of sync to portray her as a recent stroke victim, with a sad “I don’t quite understand how she could have gone so bad” undertone, followed by the now immortal tag line:

What was she thinking?

Estimated to have been viewed over 200 times by the average Illinois citizen, Ms. Topinka’s public image suffered to the point where she was unable to recover. She lost the Governorship.

Now Governor Rod, in his effort to “support” (pay off) those who funded his re-election campaign (the Illinois Education Association, the American Hospital Association, and the Unions) has proposed the Gross Business Receipts Tax, and is bypassing the mostly hostile legislature by appealing to the people with slick ads (view ad). He has in support the Citizens for Tax Fairness, Health Care and Education who have been running their own continuous slick ads. A quick look at the structure of this PAC shows that the principle contributors are (surprise!) the Illinois Educational Association, The American Hospital Association, etc.

But this tax is so bad, that the business community has responded by creating their own Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth and Prosperity, which is issuing their response ads. Listening to one such ad on the radio, the mandatory paid for by the Illinois Coalition verbiage was followed by a woman asking:
“If Mr. Blagojevich were standing here right now, I would have one question for him.”

Mr. Blagojevich, What were you thinking?

[Quick Update: Between the time I wrote this, and its publication, the Illinois House held a “test vote” on the Governor’s Gross Retail Tax proposal. Total for the tax: 0; total against: 107; balance conveniently absent. Even more amusing, on the day before the vote, the Governor issued a statement suggesting that the representatives vote NO on his own proposal. Moral: Those at the vanguard of the charge should occasionally look behind them and see if anyone is following.

Now one has to wonder, given the cost of running a high impact television add campaign for several months, what better use the IEA, AHA, etc. could have made with that money (perhaps some paper for the school copy machine.) One can also speculate that if the various groups were confortable with the risk of investing that sort of capital, then perhaps the anticipated payback (payoff) was larger than what was actually made public.

As as for the Governor, his lament that the only recourse after the failed GRT will be to delete billions in services to reign in the budget—well that is what the blowdried, empty-headed troll should have done in the first place.