A little more than a week ago, a conservative 501(c)4 called the American Future Fund started running web ads that told young people to ditch Senator Kay Hagan and go with North Carolina's Libertarian candidate for Senate. The ads were stirringly amateurish and over-acted, but AFF paid for six figures worth of 'em. Now comes another vote of confidence: AFF is up in Wisconsin, where Libertarian candidate Robert Burke shares a last name with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke.
They get stranger. The ad in which one young man speculates on the "Mount Rushmore of Weed" is striking; it's a jump ball, really, as to whether he's more convincing saying that or quoting Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up."
Reached over the phone today, Burke sounded unimpressed.
"I don't endorse in any way the Mount Rushmore of Weed ad," he said. "This doesn't reflect my approach to the issue. This is too important an issue for us to be turning people off by exaggerating, and saying all users are stoners who just care about getting blazed. Most marijuana users smoke to get high, then they sober up and get on their way. This harms the medical marijuana movement."
Yet when I prodded, Burke refused to call for the ads to be taken down. "As a libertarian, I respect their right to put the ad," he said. "Frankly, at this point, they're harming themselves. We're going to have individuals see this ads and become lifelong libertarian voters. This is the beginning of a movement."
Maybe. It's a little more compelling than this outreach, anyway.