Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hint to Merkley campaign

This would get my vote

Late stage political advertising runs the gamut from simply annoying to absolutely dispiriting. We’re now hunkering down in the midst of a blitzkrieg of escalating negative commercials on the tube, tabloidized mini-dramas in which one’s opponent is portrayed as the main attraction to a Halloween haunted house. The photo of the poor candidate always has a black background and his or her skin is a ghastly yellow. The TV’s volume mysteriously rises, yet the voiceover sometimes sinks to a stage whisper. Partial quotes are sprinkled around like blurbs from a movie trailer.

The worst thing, though, is that the same commercial is shown six million times. Frequently, it’s run two or three times in a five-minute programming break. The goal is for each and every viewer to memorize the entire attack ad to the point of having bad dreams about it.

These ads eventually disgust a small but significant percentage of the voters to the point of not bothering to vote. This typically turns out to be a Republican advantage, because the base treats an election like a gladiator event that they cannot afford to miss.

Here’s what would get my vote:

Audio: Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” or Pachobe’s “Canon.” Something light and soothing.

Video: Scenes of Oregon’s beaches, mountains, wooded wilderness areas, free-flowing rivers, an elk herd, a salmon jumping, the sun rising over the Wallowa’s and setting at Cannon Beach. Or a bunch of puppies playing.

Voiceover: No voice over.

Text overlay: No text overlay.

Political message: No political message.

Nothing but nice music and pictures. And at the end, “I’m Jeff Merkley and I approved this interlude between negative campaign ads.”

Campaign funds couldn't be spent more wisely.

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