August 1, 2008

McCain Ad: "The One"

Marc Comtois

Now c'mon, that's gotta make you chuckle a little bit...
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It's a waste of political time and energy to review political ads. The ads are just that, ads. They are fluff from the candidates and have no more real meaning than advising Mr. Whipple not to squeeze the Charmin.

Why waste time and space reviewing useless time and space.


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 1, 2008 4:23 PM

We'll remember that when you're all googly-eyed over the latest Obama ad.

Posted by: EMT at August 1, 2008 5:08 PM

I read the papers and I watch the news on TV and I ignore political ads from all parties. What part of this don't you understand?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 1, 2008 5:26 PM




Posted by: DEAN at August 1, 2008 7:31 PM

Old Time Lacky,

So what do you do when the ads are in the news? That's the genius of this latest ad campaign: a simple ad, which (truth be told) wouldn't have to air anywhere but on YouTube, has generated thousands of news reports on their content, and the aggregate effect is to enlighten the broader public about the off-putting Obamessiah factor.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 1, 2008 8:05 PM


The old Bush political campaigners are on loan to the McCain campaign and are responsible for the "genius" of the latest ads. Marc gladly accepts all of this garbage without thought or question.
" Now c'mon, that's gotta make you chuckle a little bit..."
The only people chuckling are the ones at the RNC at how rubes like Marc eat this up.

Posted by: Phil at August 2, 2008 4:51 AM

These ads are a stroke of brilliance.

It's not because the ads themselves have much impact on individual voters.

It's because they are completely driving the mainstream media coverage of the campaign, and the Obama campaign -- amateurs that they are -- feel compelled to respond to the ads.

These Dems are so determined not to repeat Sen. Kerry's "non-response" to the Swift Boat ads that the McCain "rope a dope" strategy is working every time.

Here's the cycle:

1. McCain runs a clever ad mocking Sen. Obama;

2. Sen. Obama on the campaign trail responds personally to the ad;

3. Cable chat shows replay ad with Sen. Obama's response to it;

4. Cable news analysts conduct roundtable discussion about ad, replaying it a couple of more times for good measure.

5. Repeat step 1.

If McCain wins -- and I still think that pretty unlikely -- his campaign's ability to play Sen. Obama like a puppet on a string will have been a critical factor.

Posted by: brassband at August 2, 2008 7:06 AM

August 2, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Running While Black
Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office — say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford — the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.

Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as “the American president Americans have been waiting for.”

There was nothing subtle about that attempt to position Senator Obama as the Other, a candidate who might technically be American but who remained in some sense foreign, not sufficiently patriotic and certainly not one of us — the “us” being the genuine red-white-and-blue Americans who the ad was aimed at.

Since then, Senator McCain has only upped the ante, smearing Mr. Obama every which way from sundown. On Wednesday, The Washington Post ran an extraordinary front-page article that began:

“For four days, Senator John McCain and his allies have accused Senator Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true.”

Evidence? John McCain needs no evidence. His campaign is about trashing the opposition, Karl Rove-style. Not satisfied with calling his opponent’s patriotism into question, Mr. McCain added what amounted to a charge of treason, insisting that Senator Obama would actually prefer that the United States lose a war if that would mean that he — Senator Obama — would not have to lose an election.

Now, from the hapless but increasingly venomous McCain campaign, comes the slimy Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. The two highly sexualized women (both notorious for displaying themselves to the paparazzi while not wearing underwear) are shown briefly and incongruously at the beginning of a commercial critical of Mr. Obama.

The Republican National Committee targeted Harold Ford with a similarly disgusting ad in 2006 when Mr. Ford, then a congressman, was running a strong race for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The ad, which the committee described as a parody, showed a scantily clad woman whispering, “Harold, call me.”

Both ads were foul, poisonous and emanated from the upper reaches of the Republican Party. (What a surprise.) Both were designed to exploit the hostility, anxiety and resentment of the many white Americans who are still freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women.

The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place.

Mr. Obama has to endure these grotesque insults with a smile and heroic levels of equanimity. The reason he has to do this — the sole reason — is that he is black.

So there he was this week speaking evenly, and with a touch of humor, to a nearly all-white audience in Missouri. His goal was to reassure his listeners, to let them know he’s not some kind of unpatriotic ogre.

Mr. Obama told them: “What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky.”

The audience seemed to appreciate his comments. Mr. Obama was well-received.

But John McCain didn’t appreciate them. RACE CARD! RACE CARD! The McCain camp started bellowing, and it hasn’t stopped since. With great glee bursting through their feigned outrage, the campaign’s operatives and the candidate himself accused Senator Obama of introducing race into the campaign — playing the race card, as they put it, from the very bottom of the deck.

Whatever you think about Barack Obama, he does not want the race issue to be front and center in this campaign. Every day that the campaign is about race is a good day for John McCain. So I guess we understand Mr. McCain’s motivation.

Nevertheless, it’s frustrating to watch John McCain calling out Barack Obama on race. Senator Obama has spoken more honestly and thoughtfully about race than any other politician in many years. Senator McCain is the head of a party that has viciously exploited race for political gain for decades.

He’s obviously more than willing to continue that nauseating tradition.

Posted by: old tyme patriot at August 3, 2008 5:08 AM

McCain? Patriotic hero, or piece of stinking crud? Both! No one ever went broke underestimating the capacity of the average American voter to be overwhelmed by right-wing racial and religious fear and libel.

Posted by: your conscience arises at August 3, 2008 5:15 AM

How far are we from ads claiming that Obama instructed the 9-11 pilots on how to fly jets into tall buildings?
Yes, that's a ridiculous statement. No more so, however, than what's been coming out of the McCain campaign lately.
If McCain can't stand up to a guy whose cohorts called him mentally unstable, claimed his wife was a junkie and called his adopted child illegitmate, why should we believe he can stand up to America's enemies?

Posted by: rhody at August 3, 2008 11:55 PM

Yeah, rhody- and those were just the things Bush and his cronies called McCain.

Posted by: Richard at August 4, 2008 2:58 PM

Obama's crime? Acting too presidential
So the pundits' verdict is in: Obama is too confident. It all would be funny if many people didn't seem to be inhaling this multimedia stink bomb as if it were fragrant truth.

August 4, 2008

America, meet Barack The Arrogant.

Did you hear, this guy's already talking about redecorating the Lincoln Bedroom? Or that a few weeks back, he stood behind a podium bearing a faux presidential seal? The young upstart from Illinois has even got his minions planning a White House transition!

We have reporters, columnists and TV talking heads to thank for exposing these outrageous displays. So apparently the verdict is in: Sen. Barack Obama, too confident to govern.

It all would be quite funny if many people didn't seem to be inhaling this multimedia stink bomb as if it were fragrant truth.

I've spent a few days on the campaign trail with Obama and know people who've traveled with him for months. I wouldn't argue that portrayals of the candidate as occasionally aloof, or a little professorial, are imagined.

But it's a long ways from, in the words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, acting like "the presumptuous nominee" whose "biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris."

Milbank, who is often wickedly revealing, last week seemed mostly wicked as he turned benign campaign tableau -- an Obama motorcade, a talk with the Treasury secretary, a "pep rally" with congressional Democrats -- into evidence that Obama thinks he's already the winner.

Milbank at least leavened his thesis with humor, unlike others piling on the campaign to turn Barack into Slick Barry.

Fox News host Sean Hannity told viewers last week how "presumptuous" Obama had become. Proof: The candidate told congressional Democrats that the world had been waiting for his hopeful message and that to some he had become a symbol of a "return to our best traditions."

That may not be humble pie, but doesn't even come close to breaking the narcissism barrier. Don't our politicians routinely boast about how essential they are to the republic?

Then came the stunning revelation that Obama had begun planning for a transition to the White House.

Fox News hostess E.D. Hill -- who dubbed Obama's playful knuckle bump with his wife a "terrorist fist jab" -- reminded viewers recently that the Democrat was "not commander in chief just yet, which is why some find his decision to start planning his transition into the White House a bit presumptuous."

Hill wondered whether Obama was "jumping the gun or just covering all the bases?"

Never mind that McCain advisors have acknowledged that they too were planning for a White House transition or the fact that history has rewarded those who looked ahead. Early transition planner Ronald Reagan hit the ground running in 1980. Bill Clinton initially struggled after dawdling on White House preparations in 1992.

Yeah, but what about that talk of remodeling the Lincoln Bedroom? Surely that proves Obama thinks he's destined for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

That whopper grew out of an entirely benign moment last month in Fargo, N.D. A woman asked if Obama would consider remodeling the room with African kente cloth.

"No," Obama said with a laugh. He mused that when he had toured the White House in 2005, he thought a copy of the Gettysburg Address would look more appropriate in the historic chamber than the flat-screen TV on the wall.

What about that seal, complete with American eagle, that the Obama faithful trotted out a few weeks back? No question it was a cheesy would-be stature-builder -- but it was far short of counting electoral votes before they're cast.

The candidate's crowning demonstrations of hubris, according to those building a case, came during his extended trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe. Recall the pundits demanding the freshman Illinois senator prove he could be presidential in the foreign arena?

So he appeared at ease with world leaders, talked animatedly with beaming American troops and drew huge civilian crowds. Then the pundits -- who had been taking a round of bashing for supposedly going easy on Obama -- told Obama he needed to beware of appearing too presidential.

Opponents would like to put the Democrat in another can't-win box over his "failure" to visit wounded troops at a military hospital in Germany. Obama canceled a visit to the Landstuhl hospital and was accused of being self-centered.

What if he had appeared at the hospital? David Kiley reported in BusinessWeek magazine how a Republican operative described plans to attack Obama for -- that's right -- using wounded troops as campaign props, if he had gone through with the visit.

These red herrings, a veritable school of 'em, are amusing for those who put them in perspective. But how many take the time to do that?

In 1992, George H.W. Bush reportedly was surprised to find a price scanner in a grocery store, which "proved" he was out of touch with the common man. In 2004, John F. Kerry windsurfed and knew how to speak French. He was pegged as an elitist snob.

McCain launched a television ad last week lumping Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton: just a trio of celebrities handed fame they haven't really earned.

"There's an interesting line building on Obama that somehow success and intelligence are a handicap," said Mark Sawyer, a UCLA political scientist. "If he wasn't extraordinary, he wouldn't be there. But then he is extraordinary and it becomes, 'He is just too good, too well spoken, too accomplished.' "

So here are a few lessons for would-be commanders in chief:

Inspire attention, but not too much. Act presidential, but not like you already have the job. Be confident, but in an obsequious kind of way.

It's really not that complicated.

Posted by: Blue Beard at August 4, 2008 3:28 PM
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