Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama Attack Ad: Memories to Last a Lifetime

Above is the new Team Obama attack Ad against Romney. It makes the case he's a real conservative. This is something Romney, himself, wasn't able to do effectively over the whole campaign. SOMEONE LEFT THE IRONY ON!

The Ad
At 1:55 this ad is almost too long for TV. Maybe it's just on YouTube? I'm not sure. It begins with a blue background and the words "As Republcians settle on a nominee ..." float placidly towards us as a piano plinks out a subdued tune.

"...let's take a look at some of the unforgettable moments from this unforgettable primary." Each quote is a fade from one backdrop to another.
Romney: Corporations are people, my friends!
Romney: I like to be able to fire people who provide services to me.
Romney: I was a severely conservative Republican governor.
And we're back to the blue background with the elegant white script: "MITT ROMNEY Memories To Last A Lifetime"

"Remember what he said about women's health?" He appears on camera:
Romney: Would I overturn Roe v. Wade? YES!
Romney: Planned Parenthood? Let's get rid of that.
Romney:Of course I support the Blunt amendment. (the voice over has to explain what it is--employers can decide to deny birth control)
Romney: Huckabee asks if he would support an amendment starting life at conception? YES!
"Remember what he said about housing?"
Romney: Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit bottom.
"Remember what he said about Detroit?"
Romney: "That's exactly what I said," he tells a talking head on television: "Let Detroit go bankrupt."
"Remember when he called bringing our troops home before Christmas 'tragic'?"
Romney: "It's my view," Romney says, getting subtitles due to the echo in the room, "withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq is unfortunate." He pauses. "IT's more that [sic] unfortunate, I think it's tragic."
"How about when he said he'd 'kill' Obamacare?"
 Romney: "If I am president I will repeal Obamacare and I will kill it dead on my first day!"
"And his plans for immigrants?"
Romney: "If I were elected and congress were to pass the DREAM act, would I veto it? The answer is YES."
 "Remember when Paul Ryan said Romney would enact his economic plan?"
Paul Ryan: "Yep," he answers when asked by a reporter if Romney would sign on. He nods his head.
 "The Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it -- remember?"
Romney: "I applaud it. It's an excellent piece of work."
And one more time?
Romney: I was a severely conservative Republican governor.
Because, hey, you can't have too much of that.

"Mitt Romney: A severely conservative nominee"

Then in big font:

"Remember that."

We get the Obama Biden and TRUTH Team logo.

Fade to black.

What Does It Mean?
It means "Don't shake that Etch-a-Sketch!" is what it means. Oh boy does it mean that--over and over. As Romney will now try to capture moderate and independent votes he will (in theory) disavow the GOP Base ... like everyone always knew he would.

The key to this--other than using a ton of video footage that seems to be if not reasonably at least very 'on target' is that Romney sounds so sincere when he says these things. This is, of course, because he was trying (too hard?) to convince the base he really meant them. Veto the DREAM Act? The answer is yes!

Beyond that, it's a scatter-gun full-spectrum assault on the left and left-middle. Care about Planned Parenthood? He'll kill it. Latino? Covered. Roe v. Wade? Got that. Iraq? Sure-nuff. Out of work? Fire people. #Occupy? Corporations are people too!

The only one in there that baffles me is Obamacare. Isn't every last person who likes Obamacare already voting for Obama? As it's not very popular, might that actually pick up some Romney votes? It seems like a misfire in an otherwise fairly targeted salvo.

The other thing that it means is that Team Obama is pretty sure of itself (at least right now). The lack of "danger signals" is telling. The elegant script, the lack of ominous music, the blue background--the generally light tone? These are all sending the message: This guy is so conservative you'd have to be a Republican or something to vote for him. Along with the subtext: Ha!? Who would do that!?

They feel this is a winning message so they don't need to scare you with it. They think their case is strong enough they don't need to risk undercutting it by being manipulative. This echos a Team Obama shot from yester-election at another candidate:

This was a supremely confident ad and it showed. Memories to Last a Lifetime is not as elegant. It's not as sleek and clean--but it has a similar origin: "We think this guy's own words, in context, are enough to hang him."

In Team Obama's Chicago headquarters, Buzzfeed found that confidence ... or is that arrogance ... is running high:
And to say that the campaign doesn’t fear Romney is an understatement — he’s viewed as almost a joke. (The campaign named their sixth floor elevators for cars to mock Romney’s planned over-the-top addition to his La Jolla, CA home.)
What Do I Think?
The first thing--the one thing--that I believe that everyone should take away from this is how certain Team Obama is that the GOP positions are a losing strategy. It's true that everyone always thinks their positions are winners and someone is always wrong--but Team Obama is playing Money Ball here. For them to create an Ad that Romney, himself, 'arguably' ought to have run in the primary? That should unsettle any Republican voter.

It is one thing to think that liberal/progressive ideas are superior: that's part of the package deal of having those ideas. It's another thing to put your money where your mouth is and sell those ideas in a 2-minute attack ad. Consider that while a lot of people think Palin would have made an excellent VP or even President, I know of no one who thinks she is a world class economist. On that one count, using McCain's very on, in-context words, Team Obama was dead on target.

My second thought is that if I were running Team Obama I would never, ever, in a million years, call my propaganda arm 'TRUTH Team.' You don't have to be a Republican to find this breathtakingly Orwellian (where each ministry did exactly the opposite of what it was named). It's the little TRUTH Team logo at the end of the video that makes me think I'd better 2x check all those quotes (but he sounds so sincere ... and he usually even repeats the question ... Maybe MSNBC is editing those tapes!?)

Finally? Yeah. It's a good Ad. For one thing, we know from Romney's own team he plans to shake his way back to the center. We knew that even before anyone opened their mouth--everyone does it. Worse: anyone paying attention knows Romney will say whatever it takes to get elected president--that's why it's hard to get excited about him--but we also know from his record (uhm, RomneyCare?) that he's more of a moderate than the Tea Party would like. That's a strength in the general ... I think (and so does Team Obama).

So while it has all the moves and the right combinations I think it positions itself a little awkwardly: at some point Team Obama is going to tell us we can't believe anything that comes out of Mitt's mouth--if so, why should we believe this? Secondly, it's a bit long. Yes, it can be cut down or chopped up for air-play--but at the full 2 minutes it's a bit we-get-it-we-get-it-already draggy.

Still? Not ineffective--just not the 30-second nuclear hatchet job His Choice (or some of the Santorum ads) have been.

Rating: B

1 comment:

  1. 100% agree that Obamacare has enough baggage, and it confuses the aim here. Very telling that it plants the "settle on their candidate" phrase up front. I might have gone with "settle with" to emphasize the general lack of enthusiasm for Guy Smiley.