Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:07 PM
William769 (42,253 posts)
This Boogeyman Gets Paid to Scare You
Scare tactics are not uncommon among political consultants. Frank Schubert, whose anti-marriage equality media work we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of in the coming months, is no exception.
In print, Schubert’s name is sometimes preceded by the word “mastermind” in describing the Sacramento-based strategist’s role managing the 2008 Yes on 8 campaign in California, one that tapped the base fears of 7 million voters who ultimately supported the ballot measure. Religious liberty threatened, children indoctrinated — Schubert conveyed both messages superbly in cynical TV ads. His firm’s work included notorious spots that have been replicated in same-sex marriage fights in other states. One in particular, of a young girl telling her mother she had learned in school about a prince marrying a prince and how she could marry a princess, had a significant last-minute effect among undecided voters in Proposition 8.
Industry honors followed. Schubert and business partner Jeff Flint won the American Association of Political Consultants’ Public Affairs Team of the Year award in 2009, and penned a victory-lap essay describing the Yes on 8 campaign as though it were on par with discovering a cure for pancreatic cancer. To be fair, success required a skilled and disciplined manager to keep diverse religious denominations and political interests on message. “I don’t know how he kept that coalition of all those crazy people together. That’s the miracle of that campaign,” said Fred Karger, an openly gay GOP presidential candidate and perpetual antagonist of the National Organization for Marriage, one of Schubert’s clients.
But the founder of Schubert Flint Public Affairs announced last week he was leaving his namesake firm, this after his marriage work defined his business and detracted from its bottom line. “I was surprised, if only for the fact that if he was going to make this break, I thought he would have done it sooner,” said one political consultant. “Before 8, he had a consistent corporate client base.” After? “Not so much. Something tells me I don’t think he had much of a choice in making this move.”
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