Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Boehner?

Democratic leaders are hoping to scare Democratic voters into action with their new John Boehner bogeyman:

A new ad to begin running on cable television beginning Tuesday takes on Mr. Boehner over his opposition to a measure that provided money to preserve jobs of teachers and emergency workers and was partly paid for by closing a tax loophole for companies that do business overseas.

Brad Woodhouse, a party spokesman, said the ad should serve to remind voters of the days of Republican majorities in the House, when the party in power “did the bidding of corporate America while leaving ordinary American families to fend for themselves.”

I doubt this will have much of an effect on November's outcome; even with his relatively high profile, John Boehner isn't particularly well known. A Gallup survey taken in March found that while 29 percent had a favorable view of him, and 32 percent had an unfavorable view, 39 percent had no opinion either way. My guess is that this hasn't changed; most Americans aren't tuned in to politics and will have missed President Obama's name-checking of Boehner, as well as the minority leader's own public statements.

Beyond that, this isn't a new game. In 2006, Republicans launched a similar campaign against Nancy Pelosi, and it failed miserably; most voters -- even fellow partisans -- aren't motivated by abstractions like the specter of new congressional leadership. A combination of John Boehner and ominous music might scare some party stalwarts into voting in November, but I'd be surprised if it motivates anyone else.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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