How not to use op­po­si­tion re­search

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Opinion - BY THE OB­SERVER ED­I­TO­RIAL BOARD

The GOP sure has the goods on Erica McA­doo. On Thurs­day, North Carolina House Repub­li­cans re­leased a 35-page re­port — known as “oppo” to po­lit­i­cal in­sid­ers and ob­servers — on the N.C. House 63 can­di­date from Ala­mance County. “Meet Erica McA­doo,” the @NCHouseGOP ac­count said in a mid­day tweet with a photo of McA­doo hold­ing a beer (gasp!) and hav­ing a good time at an out­door event with friends. That same photo was in a news re­lease that de­scribed the Demo­crat’s “rad­i­cal agenda” and in­vited peo­ple to click an omi­nous red but­ton to “learn more about Erica McA­doo.”

We did, and we have to say we’re not sure McA­doo will re­cover from the rev­e­la­tion that she ( checks notes) got a speed­ing ticket 15 years ago.

Yep. That’s the dirt.

If you didn’t know where it came from, the Repub­li­can re­port sort of reads like a cam- paign flier — for McA­doo. It says she lives in a mod­estly priced 100-year farmhome with her hus­band, daugh­ters and “a menagerie of an­i­mals.” It says that she man­ages a law firm and teaches while pur­su­ing a master’s de­gree at East Carolina Univer­sity. It notes that she and her hus­band have no debt con­cerns. “Their prop­erty taxes have been paid on time in all years,” the re­port says, adding: “we found no in­di­ca­tion that they paid per­sonal prop­erty taxes late.”

This is oppo?

About that speed­ing ticket: It was in 2003. She was cited for trav­el­ing 18 mph over the speed limit but was con­victed of go­ing 9 mph over the limit. That’s it.

As for McA­doo’s pol­i­tics, the re­port af­firms what McA­doo gladly dis­plays on her web­site and so­cial me­dia: that she’s a mid­dle-of-the-road Demo­crat. She at­tended the Women’s March and thinks the NCGOP is try­ing to “sup­press” vot­ers with re­stric­tive laws. She op­poses the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy of sep­a­rat­ing chil­dren from par­ents, and she calls for “sen­si­ble gun laws” and ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid as most states have done. The re­port did note that she posted a pic­ture and sup­ported a lo­cal vet­eran who was sell­ing T-shirts with guns on them. “We shouldn’t be tear­ing each other apart,” the re­port quotes McA­doo say­ing later about that post. “I sup­port our vet­er­ans and I sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses.” How rad­i­cal.

All of which got a good chuckle on so­cial me­dia late Thurs­day, turn­ing the oppo re­port into a po­lit­i­cal self-own. Still, there’s a good chance most of the GOP’s in­tended au­di­ence didn’t ac­tu­ally click on the “learn more about Erica McA­doo” but­ton. They saw the beer photo and all the ref­er­ences to “rad­i­cal” and just as­sumed the rest. Which was ex­actly the idea.

It’s an­other ex­am­ple of how sour po­lit­i­cal dis­course has be­come, and how much of it is un­trust­wor­thy. Make no mis­take: There’s noth­ing un­usual with do­ing oppo on a can­di­date. It’s also com­mon to go pub­lic with dam­ag­ing stuff be­cause, well, that’s the point of try­ing to find it. But to re­lease the oppo when it shows noth­ing, yet char­ac­ter­ize it in an omi­nous way? That shows how lit­tle N.C. House Repub­li­cans think of vot­ers, and how lit­tle they think of the truth.

Via NC House GOP

The “rad­i­cal” Erica McA­doo, cen­ter, can­di­date for N.C. House Dis­trict 63.

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