The Best Campaign Commercial of the Season Belongs, Unfortunately, to Christine O’Donnell.Posted: October 5, 2010
In Illinois, our campaign commercials consist of the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate calling the Republican candidate a liar, while the Republican candidate calls the Democratic candidate a thief; and the Republican candidate for governor calling the Democratic incumbent a failure, while the Democratic incumbent calls the Republican candidate a tax cheat.
These commercials make you long for, and visualize, the commercial you’d really rather see: a commercial in which the candidate says something positive about him or herself instead of tearing down the opponent; a commercial in which the candidate gives you a reason to vote for him instead of against someone else; a commercial in which, unmediated by editing, noise or graphics, the candidate trusts herself and you enough to present herself directly to you, one-on-one, for thirty seconds.
That campaign commercial, the one I’d really like to see but had given up hope of ever seeing, has been done, by Christine O’Donnell, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Delaware. And brilliantly.
I wish her opponent had done it, but she did it.
It’s hard for me to reconcile the sensible-sounding, likable human being I see in this commercial with the batshit crazy extremist I’ve been reading about and seeing video bites of. And I’m not saying I trust the commercial more than I do those sources of information. But I am saying that in the simplicity of its single-long-take genuineness the commercial does a superb job of countering those sources. It opens with a disarming four words, and closes with a smashing themeline that takes the positive message she wants voters to receive and distills it to two words.
It’s the discourse-elevating political commercial I’ve been hoping someone would do. Just not her. But that’s the way it is.