Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ad Time

Eric Kleefield at Talking Points Memo has a proposal for campaigning against McCain/Palin:

A one-minute spot featuring Hillary Clinton herself, talking to the camera and laying into Palin on the issues, her complete lack of qualifications, and the temerity of the McCain campaign to think they could get away with this. Then she urges anyone watching who might have supported her to get out there and support Barack Obama.

Then it closes simply with Obama walking on to the set to shake Hillary's hand: "I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message."
I definitely think Hillary makes a strong surrogate against Sarah Palin. But I think the ad would actually be stronger if it were less direct and more of an ensemble piece.

Here's my idea. You have an ad featuring five to seven women. They include some subset of Hillary Clinton, Amy Klobuchar, Kathleen Sebelius, and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. They also include a schoolteacher, a firefighter, a mayor/city council president of a small but reasonably well-known town, and a woman who owns and runs her own business. Each is behind a different backdrop -- a wood-paneled office, on the streets of a busy city, in the middle of a wheat field, and so on. You have each of them tell part of their stories, with a title line identifying each, how they got started in their careers or in politics. And then you have each of them attack McCain and Palin -- not just Palin -- on a single issue. The business owner attacks them on the economy or health care, another attacks on choice, another on national security, another on social security, another on Iraq, and so on.

Faster and faster cuts, so that each appears to be finishing the last sentences. It builds to a refrain: "John McCain and Sarah Palin don't know how to fix our economy / they don't know how to make our country safer / they don't know how to educate our children," and so on. Then each of them urges America to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Finally "I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message" is heard, over a black-and-white candid picture of Barack Obama with his wife and two daughters.

Finally, after America is reintroduced to each of these women through the ad, you send each of them -- the politicians, anyway -- out on cable news, Meet the Press, and the stump to rip the Republican ticket's guts out. You raise the profile of all the up-and-coming women in the Democratic party, especially in the midwest, and diminish Sarah Palin by comparison. But you never attack her directly. You tie her to McCain, and you tie them both to the Bush administration, corrupt Republican politics, and the conservative media machine. Bush, Cheney, Rove, and their cronies continue to be the millstone around John McCain's neck, and you leave no air in Sarah Palin to be his life jacket.

She becomes a nonentity, a cipher. She becomes Jack Kemp -- sure, she can throw a football, but the old man she's running with, despite his war record and years in the senate, has no clue how to solve our problems, nor does she have a clue how to help him.

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