Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Political Ad Fun!

Monday's Washington Post had an interesting article on the advertising in this year's presidential race. According to the Post, almost all of Bush's ads and a few of Kerry's ads are negative, misleading, untruthful, or a delightful, steaming stew of those and various other adjectives or adverbs, none of them good.

Have they influenced any voters? Well, the conventional thinking in Camp Kerry is that most people are not paying attention at this stage in the campaign. That may be kind of true, but I have to admit the ads have had an effect on me. Kerry does seem sort of a flip-flopper (who coined this political term? De Tocqueville?). Look at Kerry on marriage: first he was for marriage (first wife), then against it (divorce -- yet another reason why he should be denied communion!), then for it (Teresa, watch out girlfriend, and keep the prenup handy). Which one is it, Kerry? And then, take Kerry on breathing: first in, then out, then in, then out...which one will it
be, Senator!

Some have argued that this back and forth reflects Kerry's relativist tendencies. But, everyone knows that relativism = communism. Indeed, I believe there is a passage in Leviticus, where the cool, angry Old Testament God unleashes a plague of sore-infested rats on the Relativites for questioning a command from Him to burn their crops in a show of faith. Their mistake: trying to come up with some sort of plausible explanation for destroying their livelihood other than blind faith.

Anyways, the Bush ads, in my opinion have been most impressive, mostly because of how brazenly false they are. Dana Milbank points out that the Bush campaign heavily uses straw man arguments in this morning's WashPo. My favorite is claiming John Kerry wants to raise taxes $900 million dollars. Has Kerry ever proposed that? No, but the Bush people did their own calculations as to how much they think his spending plans cost and have decided the issue for Kerry.

But, frankly, the Bush people have been TOO subtle. Below are some suggested attack ads that can be supported by a creative reading of the factual record.

1. Kerry on education: Cash over Standards. You already know the flip-flop John Kerry has done over education. First, he was for No Child Left Behind, now he is against it. But, what would he replace it with? John Kerry supports paying kids not to learn [shifty
guy on street corner handing kids twenties and fifties out of a paper bag]. He would replace the standards put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act with cash payments to kids and to fatcat teachers union officials [shot of a Bentley parking in the "teacher
parking" section of school lot]. Apparently, John Kerry believes that minority kids only understand money [show sad Black, Latino and Asian kids sitting against grey backdrop] and are unable to learn or meet basic standards [show same kids looking at blackboard which reads "2 + 4 = ?" One kid writes in "8" and they all high-five each other. Shifty man walks in and hands out more cash.]. John Kerry: wrong on education.

Facts: Kerry supports increasing education funding (but don't we already have enough cash for education; apparently, a lot of that cash is unspent), easing funding restrictions tied to test scores and increasing teacher pay. Spun the right way, you have attack ad gold.

2. Kerry on gay marriage: Poor John Kerry. Yet again, he is trying to have it both ways. He is against gay marriage, but he's legally for it [have each clause of sentence come out in cartoon typeface out of either side of Kerry's mouth]. Kerry says he is against using the constitution to discriminate against a couple in love. [Cut to a shot of a man in a beret leading a horse into a bedroom] Well, I guess during a Kerry administration whose rights are being violated is a matter of perspective [last word said with thick French accent; horse turns to camera and gives a sad snort].

Facts: Kerry is against gay marriage, but for civil unions. One could argue that a civil union is basically the same as a legal marriage. Flip Kerry's comment about not discriminating against love against him, weave in some anti-French smears, and your base
will be driven into sweet, delirious political onanism.


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