Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ominous New Romney Ad: Kill Romney?

Above is the one of the new ads Team Romney is rolling out. It's called "Kill Romney?" and it's interesting! Let's take a look.

The Ad
The Ad is 1:04 in length--longer than the usual 30-second fit-anywhere slot. It opens with a black background and we see 'Chicago, Illinois' in white letters. In red below that, coming shuddering into view 'Another Frustrating Night' and below that, fading in, 'AT OBAMA HQ.'

Interestingly the description of the enemy camp is done in patriotic Red, White, and Blue (if actually White, Red, and Blue--which turns out to be an unused combination. If they'd done the middle text in blue it would be a Russian flag!).

The black fades out and we see a wooden table with a hand on a touch-pad. The unseen person is sitting before a Macintosh blue-tooth keyboard and a large Apple-logo screen, two-finger scrolling. In the background we see a flat-screen turned to a news channel and hear the newscasters talking about Romney's win in Michigan.

I'd love to know what the wallpaper background is on the Obama staffer's screen. It's black and white (later, when we see it full-on, it's a blue Obama logo) but here there's clearly a person's hand in the lower right corner. What's that in the lower left? Buttocks? I can't be sure.

The person is scrolling--listening to the news--reading updates. Then we see an email!

Subject: What happened?

The scene changes. It's a different monitor and different computer: a Mac Book Pro. The background is Obama 2012 in blue. The user, entirely unseen, opens Microsoft Outlook. In a chat window (from Outlook? Don't ask):

We spent a lot of money in Michigan.

Fingers  type (a response?). We see a screen go by and the last name Moffatt lines the side. Who is Moffatt? It turns out that's Zac Moffatt! He's the Romney Campaign Digitial Director!! Is this Obama staffer an inside plant!? Alas no--it's a glitch.

The fingers continue:

Clearly not enough...

We see quick cuts of headlines: Democrats, UAW want to ensure Romney's defeat in Michigan.

A white iPhone (white!?) with the Obama logo is swipe-activated. The last words "enough..." are on the iChat window. The iPhone holder has entered:

We've got to do more.

The response comes:

Time to step it up in Ohio.

We see the words Barack Obama and 'Attack' in quick cuts on web pages appearing on monitors. Some article ending with the word "Energy" by Melanie Garunay appears (she is a writer for Obama's web site / policies --maybe it's this article?). The words UAW on a news story hover for a moment.

Then we see a video: Obama to Ed Henry: "I Didn't Know You Were The Spokesperson--" it trails off--but it's taking about this: Obama ribbing a Fox news reporter for quoting Mitt Romney at him! Why are the Obama operators watching this? Who knows.

The words 'Want to ensure Romney's defeat' pop up. And a Made in America - Obama for America 2012 Ad appears with a glowering Romney in the YouTube window. Quick cuts. The word "Hammer." A screen shot with a D - Democrats Change That Matters logo. Then the word Attack and then the words:

"Kill Romney."

We see an email with the words for the subject: We've got to do more.

The screen goes black.

A blank email window appears.

Time to take the "Kill Romney" strategy to the next level.

and the screen goes black for a final time. We see white letters right justified: The Obama Attack Machine is Ready.

A smiling Obama comes barely into focus black and white. The words change: We Need Your Help To Fight Back.

Then Donate to the One Term Fund Today.


What Does It Mean?
Well, the first thing it means is that Team Romney is running out of money. He's tapped out most of his traditional donors and is therefore becomes more reliant on his SuperPAC and, also, non-traditional donors. Considering that his battle plan is 2:1 or greater out-spending he's got a problem.

But that's not "the message" which can be taken in a couple of pieces.

Obama's People Think They Are Better Than You
I think--I have to think--that despite having come a long way the emphasis on all the Obama people using Apple products is playing to the stereotype that they are not like 'you.' Where 'you' is the small donor that Romney has never traditionally done well with. They are the self-proclaimed "elite" and probably college-snobs to boot!

Here are the demographics:
Mac vs PC users profiled
They (Mac Users) also think they are better than you!

Every computer screen has the tool-bar down the left hand side--not along the bottom like the Windows-using viewers will. Even the iPhone must be white ... unlike the one the GOP target has in their pocket. Their hardware is different than yours! This enforces the "otherness" of the Obama group (I suspect) and certainly plays to the "otherness" of Obama himself.

The fast cuts are to show things that ought to stoke the ire of viewers: Obama scolding a Fox News reporter, the words Attack and Kill. Lots of images of Obama and the Democratic logo--things they may have a visceral bad-reaction to.

Why is the operator watching this internal Obama stuff? Articles about the UAW? About wanting to stop Romney? There's no reason for it--just because it'll upset Republicans.

Secondly: Team Obama Have a Plan to Kill Romney (But Not "Really")
The tone of the ad is not funny: It's not a joke. There is no disclaimer. You may remember that there was an un-sourced quote from Politico that said this:
“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House.
The YouTube comments make it clear that although it's probably not being taken literally it is being taken "literally."
Eh, this is both hearsay and scandal. You can't create you own emails to allege Obama wants to take you out. You're full of yourself too because the only one who is likely to get assassinated is Ron Paul.
Gethsemaneful 13 hours ago 13 
I think is supposed to generate outrage in viewers who think Romney is being, literally, targeted by Obama whom they would put nothing past (with the untimely death of Andrew Breibart, there have been people asking if the 'natural causes' of his death have been confirmed).

What Do I Think?
The Ad is getting a lot of buzz. At 1 minute it takes its time to tell its story. The composition is decent. I'm reminded of The Parallax View'psychological examination montage that was supposed to test whether the candidate could be turned into a psychotic hit-man for the New World Order. In this case it's testing your blood-pressure to see if it can get it high enough for you to send Romney money. Things like UAW and the words NO ROMNEY (which appear for fractions of a second) are meant to have a gut-punch impact for the target groups. One of the videos is posted by AFSCMEMAN--that's AFCEME--one of the union shops that ran anti-Romney videos. Again, I think this quick-cut montage of video screens is designed to have an almost subliminal impact.

On the other hand, it's way, way hypocritical for Team Romney to be talking about the Obama Attack Machine considering that his own organization and Super PAC has been compared to the Death Star.

That said, if it works, it'll be brilliant. If not, he'll have to write himself a 30MM dollar check.

He can do it. I've seen his tax returns.

Grade: A

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