Both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign and several big-money conservative super PACs stopped running ads in Pennsylvania earlier this month, all but assuring President Obama’s victory in November. But if you look closely, there are still traces of outside money coming into Pennsylvania to help sway the election in the Republican’s favor. Case in point: a billboard plastered up between the Bridge Street and Cottman Avenue exits off I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia. Entertainingly, it reads: “Obama supports gay marriage and abortion. Do you? Vote Republican.”
The GOP is nothing if not consistent.
The billboard was put up by the Republican Union Political Action Committee, a super PAC made up of two former Republican operatives and Jamie Brazil, a former senior consultant to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. The PAC claims its goal is to stop unions (or, “Obama’s union forces,” as they’ve been called) and Obama himself from cashing in on a second term. The PAC, which formed in April and has stacked similar billboards all over Pennsylvania’s roadways (most notably the PA Turnpike and I-95), spent $950,000 to do all this after receiving a single $1 million donation from an anonymous donor, according to opensecrets.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks money in politics.
Meanwhile, Brazil, a Catholic, says Catholics aren’t happy with the Obama presidency. (He also claimed Republican John McCain would win the commonwealth by three points back in 2008.) He, like many politicos sad about the end of the Clinton era—they were called PUMAs (Party Unity, My Ass!) for a while in 2008—thinks Catholic Democrats will come out in force against the president this year. It’s been too long, the thinking goes, since Democrats have stood up for working-class Catholics and their social values.
The only problem: It’s not going to work. According to a 2011 statewide poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, at least 60 percent of Pennsylvanians in each region of the commonwealth supported legislation that would have banned discrimination based upon sexual orientation. In Philadelphia, 74 percent supported the bill. While regional polls do not exist regarding gay marriage, a December 2011 Muhlenberg poll found gay marriage support in Pennsylvania at 52 percent. When Pennsylvanians were asked about which candidate is “closest to your views on value issues such as abortion and gay marriage” in a June 2012 Franklin and Marshall poll, 47 percent pointed to Obama, while 37 percent said Romney. The Republican has been consistently behind in the polls since campaign season began.
Which essentially means weird billboards like this one are all the state’s Republicans have left. You’ve gotta feel bad for that anonymous donor.