As we enter the final weeks leading up to the election, our beloved politicians should transition away from the barrage of attack ads towards ads that reaffirm their stance on important issues and policies, trumpeting what good guys/gals they are and what they stand for. The key word being should. Most pundits agree that this particular midterm cycle is the most chaotic in years, what with bad economic times and the whole tea party thing.
Republicans don’t enjoy the rigid control over their base they once commanded, and they finally have to deal with the fact that while many voters may agree with them on fiscal issues, a growing number don’t agree on their social/cultural stance. The Democrats, meanwhile, are faced with their own internal strife. Their far left base, impatient that not enough has been done to suit their own polarizing special interests, are snapping away, while the vast middle seems to have turned away from the old-school big government stylings of Obama and Pelosi.
In the Land of Lincoln, we have plenty of simple-minded hack ads going back in forth. If half of what the ads claim is true, we have nobody fit for office in this state. Of course the ads use careful phrasing and selective vocabulary: ‘sided with’, ‘supported’, ‘claimed’, etc. There are claims of lying, not paying taxes, siding with Busch and/or Obama, more lying… One of my my favorites features an overweight woman at a grocery store complaining about how the government wants to raise taxes on sweets, soda, and junk food. “Tell the government to keep out. I’ll buy what I want.” Still not sure if this is some kind of super-clever reverse marketing strategy, because every time I see that ad , I start to think about all the junk we eat in this country, how ho-ho’s are a cheaper snack than pears or apples, how ignorant people are of healthy eating habits…
Finally, we have the governor’s race. At least we don’t have to deal with Blago’s smarmy claims anymore. Quinn and Brady seem to be following the model and moving back to theirs bases, though we can expect them to continue attacking each other with gusto until the end. One thing about these base-line ads: they are perhaps more simplistic and intellectually insulting than the attacks. First you have Quinn with his union ads. They simply state AFL/CIO, local pipe-fitters, etc. for Quinn, and show some guys at work. Just in case you happen to be in a union but have forgotten the last 100 years or so of election history in this country. On a similar note, you have Brady with his 2nd Amendment ads. You know, hunters and gun-dudes, and the NRA. Again, appealing to the Least Common Denominator and pandering to the down-state stereotypes. I’m hoping to see some wacky Green Party ads in the final days before the vote – just for a change-up.
The whole scene is fascinating to be sure, but it doesn’t give you a lot of confidence for the future. Still, we at Beemsville implore you to arm yourself with as many facts as you can, do your research, and participate. And as always, if all else fails, we’re advocating throwing the bums out. In Illinois the establishment doesn’t deserve another chance.