Let’s call it the “Wheelchair Ad.”
It’s gotten a lot of attention in recent days. It’s a 30-second TV political ad that shows an empty wheelchair with a voice that talks about how Republican Texas governor nominee Greg Abbott was injured in a freak accident, paralyzed and how he sued to win millions of dollars in a settlement; it then goes on to accuse Abbott of working against Texans seeking similar justice.
The ad was approved by the campaign of Democratic governor nominee Wendy Davis, whose pollster said the ad is working in Davis’s favor.
Maybe so. Maybe not.
If the candidate had asked my opinion, I would have counseled her against using the wheelchair.
Apparently that is the crux of the criticism coming Davis’s way. I haven’t heard anyone actually contest the facts stated in the ad, but they are talking openly about the wheelchair, saying the ad is a low blow in what figures to be a bruising battle to the end of this contentious governor’s race.
My sense is that Davis’s campaign could have said all the things mentioned in the ad without the wheelchair. The campaign, though, chose to use the wheelchair I suppose to highlight the obvious — which is that the Republican attorney general is confined to a wheelchair as a result of the tree falling on Abbott when he was in his mid-20s.
I don’t have a particular problem with mentioning that Abbott is paralyzed. His own campaign has highlighted that fact in ads of its own. It’s just that troubling image of the wheelchair that has given Abbott grist to accuse Davis of attacking “a guy in a wheelchair.”
Election Day is only about three weeks away — and they might turn out to be the longest three weeks of our lives.