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Monday, May 07, 2012

This is a new Obama ad airing in Virginia. I think it's a remarkable ad because it ties together a whole raft of talking points (or claims, if you're on the other side), and really powerful visuals, into one narrative.

This is just about a perfect campaign ad for Obama, I think.

There's been talk about how Obama can't run on "Hope" and "Change" this time. It seems he's running on "Forward."

One thing I think is remarkable is how the Democrats have dug themselves out of the rhetorical hole they were in. Post-1964, Democrats were afraid to run on patriotism. Even Bill Clinton wasn't a big flag-waver. Obama is very willing to wave the flag.

I'm wondering what positive message Romney's going to bring. The negative message is obvious: the economy is in the toilet, and it's Obama's fault it's still there. It's not quite as strong as Reagan's "are you better off now than you were four years ago"; that formula doesn't work when four years ago, markets were panicking and banks were going bust. But if Obama's running, essentially, on "I have faith in America," it puts Romney in the position of saying, "Obama's going to blow up the country!" The American national religion is optimism; fear doesn't sell as well as hope and faith.

We'll see how Obama's messaging transforms (or doesn't) the current tight race.

[Remember, kids: on this blog we talk about political theater and the effectiveness of narratives. There are plenty of other venues for actual politics.]



Fear works if you're willing to go as far as the Daisy ad. But you have to go all in.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 12:02 PM  

What a well-planned, well-executed compilation of images, language/key phrases, and movement to get the point across. Good political theatre indeed.

Beth Stilborn

By Blogger Beth Stilborn, at 6:17 PM  

I know the polls say it's a tight race right now, but I seriously can't see it ending up that way. I can't see Romney's numbers stay anywhere near where they are now, in comparison. He's not someone who's going to bring out the conservative voters (too moderate, Mormon, Romneycare) and not someone who's attractive enough to grab many moderate voters.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, he might have been the best of a horrible choice of candidates.

I mean, can ANYONE get excited about Mitt Romney?

By Blogger Tim W., at 8:47 PM  

I don't see anyone getting excited about Romney. But I do see lots of people on the right getting very excited about Nobama. And an incumbent is often judged on their record, no matter who the challenger is.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 9:55 PM  

Possibly. But I think Obama's record is better than most people realize, and I think his people are going to start getting that message out, hence the video.

The problem with Romney is that eliminates a lot of the Republicans goto shots at the left. Romney isn't a guy you want to sit down and have a beer with. Obama is. Romney isn't a man of the people. He's a rich billionaire elite. The Republicans can't really go hard after Obama on Obama-care because of Romney.

And I don't think Obama is hated enough by moderates to really spur them on to vote against him. And a lot of religious right voters won't vote for Romney because he's a Mormon.

By Blogger Tim W., at 12:35 AM  

@ Tim W. & Alex:
Dissecting how presidential ads are made is definitely useful. Guessing how America will end up voting, on the other hand... I wasted so much time on it...

Instead, can I interest you (or someone out there) in a true story that, made into a movie, can actually change America?

Sorry if I sound naïve about the possibility of changing America via movies, but Nick Clooney sold me on his thesis that there are "Movies That Changed Us".

Andy (at) CorruptionManagement (dot) com

By Blogger anvor, at 4:04 PM  

That is a pretty safe re-election ad. Straight out of the playbook - working americans, middle class americans, industry, job creation, troops home, victory against enemies.
It feels like, if you're already an Obama supporter, you watch this and think, "Yeah, those are great points."
But I can't see it saying much to swing voters.

Daniel Finklestein has argued that that election campaigns are always a variation on three narratives: "Time for a change"; "Safe pair of hands"; or, "Don't put it all at risk".
This would be "Safe pair of hands."

For a best election ad ever:

I'm not even sure who the candidate is - Eastwood? Chrysler? - but I'm voting for him.

By Blogger Anthony White, at 4:14 PM  

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