Death by a thousand cuts

Here in the Northern Virginia ad market, Team Obama continues its merciless pounding of Mitt Romney. Although Team Romney says it is blitzing the airwaves in certain key areas, most of the ads in this market still come from Obama. And, as has been the case all season, the Obama ads are troublesome for Romney.

The latest I’ve seen (which apparently has been running for some time) quotes Romney to the effect that class size doesn’t matter in education. The ad also says that Romney supports the Ryan budget that “could cut education by 20 percent.” It concludes that Romney is simply out of touch with the educational needs of ordinary Americans, thus tying the ad to Obama’s larger theme that Romney is too wealthy to “get it.”

Romney hasn’t really said that class size doesn’t matter. Rather, his position is that class size is not determinative of educational outcomes and that other factors (parent involvement, teacher quality, good administrators) matter more.

Romney bases this view on studies and on his experience as Massachusetts Governor. It is certainly a defensible position. Indeed, according to the Romney campaign, Obama’s own Secretary of Education has promoted teacher quality over class size as the key to educational outcomes.

But that’s not important right now. What matters is that this ad will alarm middle class voters in Northern Virginia and wherever else, in swing states, class sizes swell. Thus, it will cost Romney votes.

Frankly, every anti-Romney ad I’ve seen to date has struck me as effective. Team Obama seems well as its way to inflicting on Romney death by a thousand cuts.