Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Wagnerian school of campaign advertising 

Tim Burns is running under a "tea party" mantle to take over John Murtha's Congressional seat in Pennsylvania. I have no idea whether he is a good candidate, but his team sent me his campaign ad, which struck me as a bit, er, Wagnerian. It is too breathless for my taste, but your results may vary. Is this good, or goofy?


By Blogger SR, at Sun May 02, 11:00:00 AM:

Burns is on the right track here, but you are correct, it is a bit ponderous. Expect a refined version as time goes on.  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Sun May 02, 11:20:00 AM:

Shades of Excalibur. I prefer Monty Python's methods of choosing Kings.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun May 02, 11:34:00 AM:

Reminds me a little of the first scene in Michael Radford's fabulous version of 1984, when the crowd swoons over the vision of the face of Big Brother.

Nice graphics, unfortunate sound track.

Despite all that, I hope the guy wins.  

By Blogger Goldwater's Ghost, at Sun May 02, 11:38:00 AM:

For sheer political theatre, I love it. It paces like a trailer for a Hollywood blockbuster. I half-expected Coming May 18th to end the spot.

It's no worse that Fiorina's spots in CA.  

By Blogger Andrewdb, at Sun May 02, 12:17:00 PM:

I am not sure where the soundtrack comes from - I wonder if they thought to get the rights before using it. That's tripped up other pols before.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 02, 12:22:00 PM:

@ Bomber Girl
"Watery tarts flinging swords about is no way to confer absolute executive power"....or something like that.

Change the soundtrack to a fife and drum, get rid of the middle part with the single flashing words, and it might be better. It's a congressional election, not the apocalypse.
It is like an overly dramatic movie trailer, which just goes to show how stupid movies and TV have made us.


By Blogger Sissy Willis, at Sun May 02, 02:03:00 PM:

All politics is local except when local politics becomes national via social networking as in Glenn Reynolds's disintermediating the powers-that-be via the internet.

From what I've read and heard, Tim Burns is a smart, savvy man of integrity. Been blogging and twittering about him a lot and lending financial support since I got Scott Brown elected.;)

Interesting district of bitter, Bible-thumping gun clingers who loved the pork Murtha brought home, are anti-trade because of local jobs situation. Fed up with DC business as usual, though, so Murtha's passing affords an opening for Republican businessman Burns.

I've put my words and "wealth" behind him in the spirit of supporting not the party but targeted Republicans who favor limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets. Tim's a self-made millionaire. Some say he's even BETTER than Scott!  

By Blogger Trochilus, at Sun May 02, 02:26:00 PM:

A lot depends on the audience. So does geography.

Playing it to the folks making up the demographic of that PA 12th district, located in the southwestern portion of PA, might get a significantly different reaction than playing it to the folks currently populating our NJ 12th Congressional District, which includes Princeton (and Lambertville, where I live), here in the geographic western half of the District. They are two very different 12th Districts, even though they are both gerrymandered!

I’d hazard a reasonable guess that today's make-up of PA’s 12th is far more akin to the familial composition of the nascent United States at the time of the patriot cause, than is the current far more multi-cultural and multi-background make up of the today's make-up of NJ’s 12th.

So an appeal by that ad might possibly have a stronger basis on a strictly ancestral identification basis there.

Geography, however, is quite a different matter.

For example, it is a bit of a stretch to claim that the "turning point" of our Revolutionary War occurred at Valley Forge. Whilst Valley Forge surely marked the capacity of endurance and devotion to the cause under extreme conditions, and likewise served as the grounds for training and discipline that underscored many future successes, there was no battle there. But I suppose Burns felt he had to select a location in Pennsylvania as close as possible to his district.

In the NJ 12th, of course, we would have rightly had the benefit of selecting the actual turning point of the fight for independence -- the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. Without those two early and stunning victories of surprise at Trenton, and brilliant out-maneuvering of the Brits at Trenton II and Princeton, who knows whether we might not all still be galled by having to hum along with the strains of God Save the Queen on ceremonial occasions! I’m being cynical, of course. But the fight for independence would have certainly been far, far more protracted.

And, also here in the NJ 12th District enthusiasts of the history of the Battle of Monmouth in and around Freehold in 1778, could quite rightly point to the significant accomplishment of Generals Washington, Greene and (Pennsylvania's own) Mad Anthony Wayne who there, for the first time, actually fought the British troops toe to toe in a pitch battle and to a draw in that oppressive heat, eventually forcing disengagement and the continued retreat of Clinton’s troops back to New York City.

The British retreat from Philadelphia, following the entry of France into the war and after Saratoga, came at a sharp price for them at Monmouth. Plus, General Lee finally got his damn due (court martial) in Englishtown, which is also in the NJ 12th.

Subsequently, as a story once told by Silent Cal goes, even General Cornwallis himself noted the overwhelming importance of the marker laid down here in '76!

"It is recorded that a few evenings after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown a banquet was given by Washington and his staff to the British commander and his staff. One likes to contemplate the sportsmanship of that function. Amiabilities and good wishes were duly exchanged, and finally Lord Cornwallis rose to present his compliments to Washington. There had been much talk of past campaigning experiences, and Cornwallis, turning to Washington, expressed the judgment that when history's verdict was made up 'the brightest garlands for your excellency will be gathered not from the shores of the Chesapeake but from the banks of the Delaware.'"  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 02, 02:53:00 PM:

A little over the top. Too long, way to many single words on the screen. Points off for historical inaccuracy and excess drama.

But I much prefer politicians who appeal to liberty over those who promise (other peoples') money. He would likely get my vote if I were in his district.

Daedalus Mugged  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Sun May 02, 03:14:00 PM:

@ David. Indeed.
(Off mike: bloody peasant).

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Sun May 02, 06:18:00 PM:

I'm not a Madison Avenue man, but you posted it and I watched it; so it's accomplished a lot by way of merely advertising ... the music is not goofy ... too arrogant ... and by my tally, WW II and by way of fiction, in Apocolypse now ... off stage, Wagner always loses ultimately ... as does arrogance.  

By Anonymous Locker Room, at Sun May 02, 07:04:00 PM:

The descriptor "Wagnerian" is pretty on the mark here. I'm reminded of fellow Missourian Mark Twain's assessment of Wagner: "His music is not as bad as it sounds".  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon May 03, 12:15:00 AM:

It taps into the very real identification of modern Tea Partiers with the original colonial rebels ("Don't Tread on Me"). Nice pacing, steady beat, and simple, dramatic phrases without being too ridiculous. nice work on the graphics, too. Good work.

Up till the halfway point, when it seems like they artificially extended it (one word at a time? really?) to fit in more of the soundtrack. Mistake. And an expensive one, if they air it on television. Even I got bored.

Re: 'Arrogant.' I fail to see how. The whole point of the ad is righteous rebellion *against* an arrogant and over-reaching political elite, specifically evoking the colonial rebellion of 1775. Unless you're simply of the view that classical music = arrogance.

Heh. Word verification = orevhwa. (au revoir)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon May 03, 03:15:00 PM:

Doesn't sound like Wagner to me. Carmina Burana by Orff, maybe.  

By Blogger g2loq, at Mon May 03, 05:40:00 PM:

I think we have already tried subtlety and staying above the fray before ...

What did that get us?  

By Blogger VC-Ron, at Mon May 03, 08:24:00 PM:

Anon 12:22, interesting choice of words ...

"It's a congressional election, not the apocalypse."

It may not yet be the apocalypse, but we are getting close to losing everything if we cannot succeed in raising the quality of our elected officials.  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Mon May 03, 08:52:00 PM:

Interesting point, VC-Ron. I have often wondered about the "quality," however defined, of people who choose governing as a career. Without prejudging the answer since I am sure many of you know fine people who are candidates/elected/public service officials, it seems as if many talented, motivated people, particularly right out of college, business or grad schools, have opted for other careers. My own grad school which has produced quite a few stellar diplomats, public service types and the like for decades saw a huge shift from government jobs to private sector jobs (I-banking, consulting) from the late 80s through the last couple of years (although who could find a job from last year's class, I don't know).

I was happy to hear at my undergrad school Jim Leach exhorting alumni to consider the motto "in the nation's service" to include successful business people who opt to choose public service as a second career.

The problem, as I see it, is the one astute comment (OK,I exaggerate perhaps) that Sarah Palin made in her book - what sane person goes into politics?  

By Blogger MainStreet, at Tue May 04, 11:22:00 AM:

Entertaining, but where is the substance. Who is he really? It tells us as much about him as we knew about Obama and his "hopey changy" spots and look where that got us.  

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