This is the new Obama attack Ad called "My Job."
My Job is 33 seconds long and it opens with Obama approving this message. Oh, boy does he. Obama approves the hell out of this message. The music, which hangs in the background, is somber and sad--not ominous or foreboding. The voice over? Well, you've heard it before. There is no narrator--just Mitt Romney speaking on hidden camera to his Boca Raton donors.
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
As he talks, with text to help you as the audio isn't that great, we see washed out pictures of the people who Romney is presumably being mean to while the "47 Percent" of Americans hangs in space from scene to scene.
|Mom and the kids--in poverty, looks like|
|Working woman of color--does she look like a victim?|
|Vets--and he goes straight to WWII ... Right? Or are those guys Vietnam? Korea?|
|Yeah, yeah--we get it--these guys all work and Romney doesn't care about them.|
|Does she look irresponsible?|
What Does It Mean?
Firstly, let's look at what's missing. The full quote of the 47% speech is available here. I have bolded the parts that are cut for this attack ad. Here's the full quote:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement, and that government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 -- he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.Team Obama cuts out:
"So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
- That's an entitlement ...
- The whole thing about Obama starting with an edge and how the message of low taxes doesn't connect.
- The bit about tax-cuts for the rich.
This isn't all that meaningful: most of what was cut was donor-bait. In a 30-second ad the stuff about "tax cuts for the rich" isn't meaningful. The other cut stuff is to sort of harden the blow. If you add in the "entitlement line" (1) the viewer might stop and think "Well, hey, maybe I don't think the government should give people housing!" I mean, maybe not--but it's possible. The stuff about low taxes? Well, you don't want to sell Romney's low-tax message in your attack ad, do you?
But the other thing that's missing is young white males. Obama is losing with young to middle aged white males and they are also some of the ones who (although they may technically be in the 47%) feel most robbed by liberal taxes. He doesn't make a play for them: this is for his demographics. Plus, uhm, seniors. We are told that Seniors really hate the Ryan voucher system so maybe those old guys are getting the anti-Ryan AARP newsletter? Bet on it.
The sadness is purely fake--the somber music and washed out colors? It all denotes sadness (look at the color-scheme on any depression-medication commercial before the drug gets named): oh yes, we are told, this is a sad thing to see Romney exposed like this--to see that half the government doesn't care about the poor. To see the lack of compassion for the working people who pay payroll and sales taxes and stuff but don't pay Income Tax. Does Obama think it's sad? No: Obama got maybe 1% poll bump and he aims to make it 1.5%. He'd show this to people in the Congo if he could on the odd chances that one of them might have the credentials to mail in a ballot. He's crying all the way to a second term (potentially).
And the kicker? The title of the video is the punch-line. It tells you that 'Romney's Job' is not to worry about the poor. That's the take-away: that his job as president is to ... hey? Worry about the rich? The middle class? Maybe--but not the poor. That's the encoded message: Romney's job is going to be to worry about himself.
What Do I Think?
Do you remember "His Choice?" From 2008? John McCain saying he'd need help on the economy so he'd pick a good VP for that. Then ... Palin winking? Jaunty tune? I gave that an A. Why? Because
- It boldly just uses the candidate's own words--in context. Here it does the same thing. The omissions do not alter the meaning.
- It builds its case without any explanation. It does not need to manipulate us. It simply lays out the message straightforward and lets you decide for yourself.
- It makes sense. Whatever you may have thought of Palin, her expertise was supposed to be (a) innate conservative values and (b) energy policy--not economics. McCain admitting he wasn't an economist was straight-talk. Him saying he'd get a VP to help him with that ... kinda made some sense: Presidents often get a VP with, say, more fiscal or foreign policy experience than they have. But Palin was not the right choice for a heavy-hitter in a financial meltdown. That didn't sink it for McCain--but it made the ad fair and pointed.
- It had a sense of humor. The music and the choice of Palin's debate wink was enough to draw a surprised laugh from more than one person.
This lacks the sense of humor and it does go for some fake manipulation with its mournful color-scheme and music. The music, however, is understated. The color-scheme doesn't go into melodrama like Santorum's Obamaville did.
The deal here is this: it appears that the 47% comments may have been worth 1% or more in a very, very tight race. The vote-master at Electoral-Vote.com runs the numbers and determines that Obama has about a 2.5point lead (if you give Romney 3pts across the board--he wins the EC). Given this spread? He's going to hit and keep hitting until polls show nobody cares.
I think this is going to be effective--Romney's defenders have an intricate defense of the remarks: he was speaking about strategy, not governance (where he most certainly would worry about those people). He confused two numbers that are the same (47% Obama voters and 47% don't-pay-income-tax). People like the vets and working people know that wasn't what Romney was talking about ... and ... No one thinks they're in the 47% anyway (which is true).
In order to absorb this defense you have to be plugged into the conservative conversation--if you are not Romney cannot explain this to you. He can go on TV and say he really cares about the poor (or, better, have Ann say it)--but against this video? One is what he said privately--the other is public speech--when it comes to convincing an undecided? You already know which wins.