Posts Tagged ‘Rand Paul’

Final Push Potpourri

November 1, 2010

First off, no idea that’s actually how you spelled potpourri, would not have guessed it in a million years.

A two minute closing ad from Rubio has some people thinking he’ll run for President.  I can see that from this ad, he’s good to camera, feels authentic and compelling, and the ad has an epic sweep, it’s not just about Florida, but about America, it’s not about issues, but about a philosophy.  Two minutes seems a bit indulgent, but when you’re up big in your campaign, you can take a 50,000 foot view of things.

I don’t talk about script all that often, but the strength of this ad is it’s script.  Yes, Rubio is very good, and a lesser candidate would flounder with the sweep and narrative, but this ad gives Rubio stature without making him appear overly ambitious or pompous. It has him stake a position without him being political.  It all starts on the page, and if it isn’t on the page, it won’t appear on the screen.  The more I watch this ad, the more I like it, simple and elegant, it’s form matches the function.

On the other side of the coin you have this line, “Harry Reid working for us, Sharron Angle pathological.” Can’t help but laugh even as I write it down.  This is exactly the kind of ad I really dislike (is hate too strong a word).  It’s jammed packed, the last line isn’t bad, but it’s so rushed it feels almost like a parody of a political ad.

Going back to script, do they really need the first seven seconds of this ad? Can’t they just say, a newspaper called her pathological, that she’s lying, blah, blah…. They don’t really connect running away from reporters its a macguffin that’s not particularly useful or satisfying. While I usually like using newspapers as validators, here it almost gets lost, the impact of that word “pathological” never gets to settle because the script is on to the next line.

I’m never a big fan of using your spouse or kids in an ad unless they really have something to ad.  Exhibit A is this ad from Rand Paul. Yes, he has a pretty wife, but of course she’s going to be shilling for him, she’s married to him.  I know the rationale for using her, it shows Paul in a softer light, it makes him seem human in the light of the Aqua Buddha stuff.

Still compare this ad to the Rubio ad, which one conveys a better sense of the person? Which one tells a better story, which one is more compelling both in philosophical terms and in the epic scope.  Yes, Rubio had more time to talk, but if you gave Mrs. Paul another minute and a half, don’t think it would make a huge difference as she feels contrived whether she actually is or not.

It’s drivel, it was probably drivel on the page, and it sounds like drivel on the screen.

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Attack and Counter in Kentucky

October 18, 2010

In this race, Conway is down, but not an insurmountable amount, but time is running out.  They can go back and forth or they can try for the big play, swing for the fences, knock out blow, pick your favorite sports analogy here. Well, they sure went for it.

I have to appreciate the fact that they didn’t sugar coat, didn’t back down, didn’t try to hide behind a euphemism, but damned this is an ugly ad, for it’s look as much as it’s content. The ad is so extreme in it’s claim, that it’s hard for me to judge how effective it’ll be.

To me, it feels like it’s trying real hard, almost too hard.  Desperate might not be the right word…, I think the word I’m looking for is pandering. Hey Kentucky, you’re Christians, well Rand Paul he’s not or maybe he’s not, see don’t you hate him now, huh, please, right?  (Eyebrows making exaggerate pleas.)

There’s no formula to these things, but I believe that the harder and more outrageous the claim, the softer you ought to sell it. This ad is an 11 on the claim scale, and a 9 on the political negative cliche scale.

Josh Marshall said, “It registered for me as somewhere between a hokey Tea Party ad and an SNL spoof.” It’s never a good thing when your hard hitting negative looks like a spoof of an ad. In the whole form supporting function, it just doesn’t add to the credibility of the ad.

It’s one thing to make the decision to air the attack, but the manner it was aired makes it feel clumsy and desperate, a more refined ad, might have overcome that problem.

Paul countered with this ad stating, “He has Christ in his heart,” and that Conway is “[bearing] false witness” against him.

The response to Conway’s attack makes me wonder if Paul didn’t feel vulnerable to it. Seems like overkill to say you both have “Christ in your heart” and he’s bearing false witness again you, but I’m from Kentucky, and I’m not the one who’s had my christianity questioned.  Obviously that last line is a not too subtle attempt to invoke biblical language.  Again feels like pandering to me, “See Kentucky, I can say things like bear witness and smite, so I must be Christian….” Ok he doesn’t say “smite” but maybe he should have.

The response is pretty cliche (other than false witness which you don’t hear very often these days), dark grayed out shots of Conway, his lips flapping hard edged newpaper headlines to accentuate their point (though the script ads the line “gutter politics at its worse,” which isn’t a quote as far as I can tell).  This ad isn’t as over the top as the original ad, but if Boris were here he might say, “Rand,… check yourself…..”

So who wins this round? Both ads are pretty lame, so as far as form goes, it’s a draw.  The Conway ad feels a little cheaper, the Paul ad cleaner and slicker, but neither one distinguishes themselves.

So if it comes down to function, I’ll give the win to Conway on the technical point that they raised the issue, and it seems that’s what folks are talking about with two weeks left in the campaign.  Maybe it backfires, maybe it doesn’t work, but it’s not what Paul wants to be talking about that’s for sure.


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