Thursday, September 25, 2008

Campaign Advertising

In one of my previous posts, my good pal Nick corrected me and said that the campaigns are not spending millions of dollars to earn my vote, because I don't live in a swing state. Either Nick forgot that I live in Michigan, or else he was plain wrong. I do live in a swing state, as evidenced by the yellow glove in the above map, wikipedia, CNN, and the fact that I have been subjected to a mind-numbing volume of campaign advertising.

Every commercial break contains at least one ad that starts with "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message," and another that ends with, "I'm John Mccain and I approve this message." Obama sound authoritative, "I'M Barack Obama and I APPROVE this message," whereas McCain comes off rather matter-of-factly: "I'm John McCan and I approve this message." Sometimes the commercials run back-to-back, so it sounds like this: "I'm John McCain and I approve this message." "I'M Barack Obama and I APPROVE this message."

Now, see, when it comes to suffering the reprecussions of approving these sometimes less-than-factual messages, I think that Barack Obama has a better strategy. He approves the commercial before it even airs. I think that this is in case it turns out to be a total crock, he could always say, "Well, I had approved a different message, but then they played that one instead. I did not see that one coming." Whereas John McCain is sitting there in black-and-white with heroic lighting bathing him from the window, having heard the message we all just heard, and then he approves it. Later when reporters probe, "Senator McCain, we all know that Barack Obama did not vote for 'comprehensive sex education for kindergartners,' and that the same article quoted actually said that you didn't have an impressive education record, either. Did you really approve that message?" He has no choice. He has to say, "Actually, it is true that Obama voted for comprehensive sex education." This digs him deeper in a hole, which is why he should be approving those messages at the beginning of the ad, like Barack Obama, who I suspect is saving the I-didn't-see-that-ad-coming tactic for a real doozy.

Here is what I think. I think that if these two men (who worked together in the Senate to reform campaign finance) really want campaign finance to be reformed, and if they want an election to be won based on the issues, then they should get together for a grande latte and make a pinky-swear pact that they will not run any more commercials. Seriously. No one is becoming better educated by a 30 second commercial skewing the facts and then three days of talking about which parts exactly were "almost true" and which parts were "pants on fire" (a phrase that I read in USA Today which is still providing me with amusement).

This campaign advertisement business has been a supreme waste of my t.v. viewing time. Just buy some stage makeup and have a DEBATE already! (But remember not to buy that same blush that Al Gore wore. He looked like a pretty little girl. Just a peach-ish hue will do fine, gentlemen.) If campaigns were run on radio broadcasted debates and stump speeches (I mean real stumps, like find-a-cut-down-tree-and-stand-on-its-stump speech), I would be a happy voter. Of course, back when that was campaign strategy, I wouldn't have been allowed to vote. So I suppose I should be a little less picky.

My point is, television commercials are no place for real issues and hard truth, and we all know it. I mean, you don't see reporters asking the CEO of Cheese-Its, "Is it true that you really run over an entire city with a gigantic ball of cheese in order to get all of that cheese-y flavor into one little bite?"


Laura_Ashley said...

Pandering. This word so simply describes the T.V. commercials you speak of so fondly. We are a society that requires pandering on every level. "Instant getification" is a slogan for some company (I'm not sure because I pay little attention to most commercials), and it so aptly describes the American need for, "I want it, and I want it now."

Until something can be done to affect attention spans and such, this inanity will continue. I'm right there with you though.. enough is enough. Get to the real issues at hand.

Anonymous said...

Sorry thought you were in Wisconsin.


Anonymous said...

Which actually looks like it is classified as a swing state too, but I doubt there is much swinging going on there.

Nice post. I like the stump idea. But that would require John who is rather old to cut down a tree which I don't think is feasible in his age and condition.

Anonymous said...

i love MI! i've never
been here before and
i believe i'm hooked.

Pete and Joy said...

I figured there was an explanation, Nick.