Category Archives: Campaign Ads

Two of a Kind

By Lance Thibert

While I am among the first to point out the fallacies in the oft-spouted “both parties are the same” mantra, recent events have humorously, if superficially, made the two presidential campaigns seem like mirror images of each other. The Democratic ticket has a charismatic figure at the head, and an experienced senator in the second slot. The Republican ticket has the experienced senator at the top, and the charismatic figure pulling number two. Support for these two tickets is evenly split:

“In the latest CNN survey of several recent national polls, Obama and McCain are locked in a dead heat at 45 percent each with 10 percent who remain undecided with 50 days remaining until Election Day.”

Take the recent financial collapse on Wall street, both candidates are attacking Wall street for it’s failures, as any good politician will do, yet the seem to be doing it in the exact same way, calling for more regulation. Interestingly enough, both are massive beneficiaries of Wall street political donations. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Though, for those of you concerned about it (I am), it appears that the worst economic damage may have been done, with no other major firms failing, and a surprising amount of order in the markets. That doesn’t erase the fact that it’s been the worst day in 7 years for the market. With the economy as a political issue favoring Obama, a savvy campaign would jump all over this and make it a headline for a few weeks. McCain is weak here, his record on economics isn’t good, and when he said he would read Alan Greenspan’s book, he probably didn’t figure that Greenspan would come out against his tax plan.

 

(Does anyone else find the voice on the above ad to be horribly annoying?)

 

 

However I digress. Indeed both campaigns have taken to using the same slogan, “change we need“, as McCain, being McCain, has decided to fight Obama on his own turf, attempting to seize the mantle of “change” from the Democratic candidate. After Hillary Clinton’s loss attempting to run on experience, and after months of being ignored for trying to run on experience, McCain has apparently decided to use Obama’s campaign as a model for revamping his own.

I would assume this is probably the cause of the two campaigns being similar looking on the surface. Of course, McCain will probably keep his old attacks around on the fringes, labeling Obama a “celebrity” and conveniently forgetting the GOP’s storied history of nominating “celebrity” candidates..Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan, Schwartzenegger, and John McCain. Perhaps…being a political celebrity may not be so bad after all.

If Obama is going to pull ahead, he may need to take the advice of James Carville: get mad, which he may already be doing. Both McCain and Obama have at times portrayed themselves as “above politics” or “post political” and “uniting figures” when in fact, both campaigns have seemingly taken the “old politics” and made it nastier, louder, more divisive and much much more expensive. 

So perhaps in a sense, both campaign’s packages look the same, are delivered in much the same way, and cost about the same, but have very, very different contents when opened.

In a further digression, here is a candidate match game thats a decent use of about five minutes of your time. As Professor Robinson pointed out in class, the website http://www.270towin.com/ gives an excellent idea of what states each Canididate must win. For all the attention that’s been paid to Ohio and Missouri as bellewether states, my money is the good old Nevada will probably be a deciding factor in the race. Leonid Balaban’s entry goes far more in depth on the electoral map, and paints a good picture of just how close the election may get.

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Filed under Campaign Ads, Democratic Party, Domestic Policy, McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican

Should Obama Start Going Negative?

You’ve seen the campaign ads on television starting to come out where the Presidential candidates (John McCain and Barack Obama) give their stances on issues that are important in America today.  The campaign ads have not been all about the issues, though, and have began to turn into a smear campaign, almost exclusively from John McCain’s end. 

 

Here is the famous Paris Hilton/Britney Spears negative campaign ad against Barack Obama:

 

 

With the polls tightening (click on the link and the poll is about halfway down the page)  to a one point lead for Obama, people are starting to believe that Barack should try to start running negative ads attacking McCain in order to get his slightly larger lead back (the same CNN poll ran a day earlier had Obama with a 3 point lead and a 6 point lead six days prior).

 

It seems as if Barack Obama may be turning away from the positive campaign he pledged to run and is now taking his shot at running some negative campaign ads (though they are a lot tamer than McCain’s video I embedded above).  Here is the most “negative” campaign ad I have seen from Obama’s end:

 

 

My take on this is that if the negative ads posed by McCain’s team are helping him get the polls closer, then Barack Obama has nothing left to do but start his own smear campaign.  People have said this is exactly what McCain needs to do to have a shot at winning this election and it seems as if it may be working.  Barack is going to have to start getting nasty in this campaign for him to keep his lead even if that means he goes against his previous words saying he would run a positive campaign.

 

Also here is a video of Obama pledging to run a positive campaign:

 

If he wants to keep a positive campaign going there is one way he can keep his lead from shrinking.  He needs to take all these negative campaign ads that John McCain’s camp keeps running and turn them in his favor.  In other words, keep reiterating to the people so they know he is the candidate for change and is not going to join in on all of the smear campaign tactics and show the people that this is a candidate trying to use desperate measures in order to keep his party alive. 

 

He is trying to be new and fresh by running this positive campaign and needs to show the people of America that McCain is doing the status-quo politician smear campaign and prove to the people that these things are not true.  He needs to be himself and just rise above what McCain is doing.

 

In short, Barack Obama should get angry over all the things being said about him in McCain’s ads and start his own little smear campaign in order to make his lead in the polls grow larger again.  After all it would not be that difficult, all he would have to do is show an image of McCain hugging the current president and that in and of itself would make his lead in the polls increase by a few points.  He could keep his positive campaign running, as I said, and still win but, I feel this is a more efficient way of going at it.  Making McCain look bad and showing the Republicans as bad people will make Barack’s run for the presidency as easy as it could get (all of this is coming from a Republican planning on voting for McCain).

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Filed under Campaign Ads, Democratic Party, McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican