The picture above is from a prospectus for a 10MM ad buy that is designed to do no less than defeat Barack Obama. It was pitched by Fred Davis of Strategic Perception Inc. to wealthy conservative Joe Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs and founder of TD Ameritrade. The battle plan was simple: create an ad campaign that would ensure the defeat of Barack Hussein Obama (the middle name is important, yo) by linking him to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Here's the mission statement:
Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do.
Show the world how Barack Obama's opinions of America and the world were formed. And, why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president's formative years among left wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees.
The world is about to see Jeremaih Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way. He will draw the attention.
He is truly the elephant in the room.The document was leaked and the Ricketts group immediately disavowed it (saying it was just a proposal, never under serious consideration--and they wouldn't do it anyway). Romney has repudiated it (But he could've refudiated it, amirite?) and Alexrod jumped on Team Romney for not being harsh enough.
Let's take a look at the ad pitch itself!
This is a rare and wonderful chance to look under the covers and see what the ad-men (who refer to themselves as Pirates in the 'team section') were actually thinking when they put this together. The book is 54 pages so we're going to necessarily skim.
Strategy. The Child Is Father To The Man
This section (that is the real title!) is the apology. It takes us back to 2008 and notes that what we learn in our formative years guides our actions as adults. It then excuses the 2008 voters: they were swept off their feet by a handsome, charismatic figure with sweeping oratory. Oh, and we were proud he was black. Furthermore he was running against a "crusty old politician who often seemed confused, burdened with a campaign just as confused." Then the bottom fell out of the economy. That, as the pitch says, was then.
But, my, my, my. Now, the chickens have come home to roost.
Yes, that's a real section heading. It has a picture of a chicken. What's wrong with Obama? He's unable to command our country's greatest concern, the economy. He's sputtering in foreign affairs. He's engaged in bumbling, crude attempts to inject social issues and class warfare into the election.
And yet, the text notes, "we still "like" him."
If we could just explain the crumbling of the Obama phenomena and exploit it we should be able to get through to even the "elusive independent, who doesn't pay all that close of attention but knows things are bad and feels they could get a whole lot worse."
It ends with
But, they still "like" him.Who's writing this stuff?
The plan is to, instead of being part of the "general landscape of harsh punching and counterpunching on the issues" to reach into the independent's gut and dramatically reconfirm and increase unease over Obama's incompetence and his political forays that make it look like he's got something to hide.
It notes (laments) they still aren't ready to hate this president but they're open to the concept that someone else "(perhaps even Romney") could do a better job.
The ad-men note (after, uh, slamming Romney) that the challenge is "How to inflame their questions on his character and competency, while allowing themselves to still somewhat "like" the man" becomes the challenge."
The solution is to show that Obama was shaped by events that were out of his control in his early days.
It's okay to buy Obama's books when he's out of office, okay to watch him on Oprah, but not okay to re-elect him president.It notes that everyone should be prepared for "howling and gnashing of teeth from all the usual suspects and some of their weak-kneed Republican co-conspirators." (Do not, however, piss off Keyser Söze). Be ready for the race card.
This section calls Obama: The metrosexual black Abe Lincoln. It says he has emerged with "more than a bit of the trimmer in him." What does this even mean?
|Smile for the camera, Barack|
Tactics. The Path to Demise
The plan is to unleash teasers and the go nuclear at the opening of the DNC convention in Charlotte. Using the Internet is key--and all the roads lead back to the 5min full force ad on the website which will be social-media'd up. The main ad is cut for 1min and 30 second pieces designed as the baited hooks. While Ricketts PAC is "Ending Spending" the guys want a spin-off PAC: "Character Matters." They have reserved all tree domain suffixes.
The Film. In Detail.
The plan is to sometimes use stock footage of Obama--but when they need him to make appearances in people's lives to use computer generated facial reconstruction to morph in an Obama. They want Jon Voight to be the narrator but will consider an African American.
The film begins with an image of a chick coming out of an egg while the narrator recaps the note of hope that Obama struck in 2008. But how did we overlook this thing: cut to Rev. Wright thundering "Not God BLESS America, God DAMN America!" (this gets repeated twice--in case you missed it).
Cut back to the election (cheering crowds in Germany): he gave us hope, promised us change.
Now we go to ECU/MOS: that's how we elite guys say Extreme Close Up / Man On Street shots. We get to see unhappy people cut with smug (smiling Obama or cheering crowds).
A beautiful little home on a beautiful little street. A proud struggling family in the front yard looking directly into the camera. BO enters from the left, rapidly pushing a gurney down the sidewalk in front of the home. As he passes camera, he looks to us and gives "that grin." Family's eyes follow him with disgust, as he exits the screen.The narrator says Obama gave us government run healthcare as our homes went into foreclosure.
Computer-Obama climbs an image of the growing debt which, according to the notes, is "A bit of an homage to Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' chat that grows off the screen."
We get some more MOS/ECU stuff and the Russian open-mike gaffe. A young woman says "we thought he'd grow into the job--so many presidents have."
Computer Obama visits a couple sitting at their kitchen table pouring over a stack of bills they will never be able to pay. He bows his head in shame.
A shot of Obama walking from the oval office to the residence tracks him ad shrinks him down to 2-3 feet high while the narrator bashes him for not uniting us, bowing to foreign leaders, and so on.
Sudden cut to a once proud man literally on his knees in shame, no clue where to turn next. (he's in a field with the sun behind him)We see BO and RW arm in arm. Then BO "leads a long group of supporters walking in a straight line behind him, blindly. Like sheep"
Then the money shot: The smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center towers.
|Give the people what they came for, baby|
The final images are black with white text:
Seldom in life do we have a second chance to make the right decision.
This time, we do.Combating Racism
Before deconstructing the ad, I want to look at one more thing. There is a chapter called Fending Off Racism. It's one page and opens with:
The instant response liberals give to any attack is to deem the attack racist. In the case involving an African American president, even more so.Their approach is twofold:
- Get an "extremely literate" conservative African American spokesman in our group. They have approached Larry Elder (who the text describes as a prominent ABC talk radio host in California). Apparently he immediately "got it." They are also speaking with unnamed African American business leaders.
- The second way so fine-tune the images and words through "focus groups" to lessen any "elements that could reasonably be deemed "racist.""
What Does It Mean?
The problem for conservative message people is this: if you are a true ideological partisan you believe Obama is a radical Marxist American hating fraud (possibly born in Kenya or, at least, Muslim-indoctrinated in an Indonesian madras). You have a serious disconnect with the mass of people out there who like Mr. Obama and want him to succeed. Or, as you put it in your pitch-book, "like" him.
Because how could they? Don't they see?
This the same thing Neo-Nazis grapple with as they wonder how the masses of 'sheeple' could not get what the race-traitors and blacks are doing to America. If only we could just wake them up.
Now, this sounds harsh--and, yeah, I guess it is: but the problem here is not per se what Fred Davis and the rest of the "Recommended Team of Pirates" (their term in the book) actually believe--the problem is that they can't step back far enough to see how it looks to everyone else. This is why this document will do more damage than good. Joe Ricketts, who wants to freakin' stop the spending is NOT ready to engage in a full on racially-loaded testicular assault against Wright. Once leaked, the Ricketts family went into damage control!
Anyone writing the first few pages of this book should've stopped, pushed away from the keyboard, and gotten someone who actually voted for Obama and is not a birther to start writing again--because the whole thing is founded on a basic central flaw; Americans do not hold their politicians accountable for what their pastor says. If that were true? Get rid of Romney. Get rid of Rick Perry. You could probably torch everyone but maybe Guillani--he doesn't seem like much of a church-going type to me.
It's also founded on another big problem: No one thinks Barack Hussein Obama is all that religious. Oh, sure, he says his religious faith was shaped by Wright. But people who really hate him think he's a Muslim. Everyone else knows he's more likely to be playing golf or shooting hoops than sitting in a pew Sunday morning ... and that's people who like him.
So the assault itself was misguided ... except for one thing: the actual payload that, because of the apologist-to-the-voters-who-love-him has to stay almost buried.
What's That One Thing?
The one thing that the ad tries to do--and has to tread carefully with--the payload--is 9/11. That's what this, under the covers, is all about. When 9/11 happened America's air of invincibility was punctured. Even if we didn't believe God literally had a force field around us, most of us believed that we were more or less unassailable (except by Canada ... and maybe Mexico ... those bastards). When the towers came down it hit us in the gut that that wasn't so.
When they show the ruins what they'd really like to show is the planes hitting the towers. To the sound track of "God DAMN America." They'd really like to show Computer-BO looking up, rapturous, as people hold hands and jump from the upper floors. That event--that imagery is what God DAMN America is all about. That's where the whole "Chickens" thing comes from. The ad spends all its time on MOS/ECU nonsense and throws the kitchen sink (bowing to the Saudi king, Obamacare, etc.)--but Wright? The reason he has any cachet at all is because of what he said about 9/11.
So I think they chickened out.
They'd also have a cognitive dissonance problem: aside from droning the fuck out of the guys behind 9/11, BO actually had Bin Laden killed. They might not want to bring that back up.
What Do I Think?
For a block buster ad, it's a little amateur hour (the Pirates thing? Come on. The 'metrosexual Abe Lincoln' thing ... what does that even mean? Is Mr. Ricketts supposed to get a laugh out of that?). It's nasty enough--but it doesn't have the balls to go where it really wants to.
Either that or for the millions these guys are gonna get paid they don't actually know why Chickens, God DAMN America, and Rev Wright are all connected to 9/11. I think it's clear they did know--and I'll even spot them (despite, like, the Pirates thing) that they knew they were trying to diffuse a bomb and had to tread very carefully else they reap nothing but blacklash.
I think the more interesting question is: Why is this racist? Are they right? Does the left just tar anything with racism? If so, why worry?
I think the reason this is racist is because the normative person in "America" (or "The West") is a white male. If you use the pronoun 'he' generically you are never grammatically wrong. Not so with 'She.' We don't have "flesh colored" band aids or crayons anymore but they were for white skin when they were named that (and they're still the same color).
When you go after a preacher of a church if it's a black preacher that's a specific adjective that's pretty much crucial. You can't swim in the ocean of western culture and split that atom: going after Rev. Wright is going after a black preacher of a black church. That is going to make a lot of black people uncomfortable. When that happens: the charges of racism ... may stick.