March 7, 2008

Let's talk about the new McCain ad.



I think this is a brilliant ad. It seems to be speeding into the future, with flashy visuals that remind me a little of the last episode of "6 Feet Under," when Claire drives off into the desert toward her future and the whole future of all the characters unfolds. But we aren't shown things that will happen in the future, even as futuristic music seems to tantalize us and make us a little anxious about things to come. We see images from the past (intercut with views of the galaxy). Images of Churchill and Roosevelt seem to embody a mystical sense of tradition. Even though I was trying to look at this ad with a critical eye, I kept getting chills. At one point — TR looking out onto a crowd — I thought: This is the feeling of being conservative — it is a deep emotional sense that the past matters and flows into the present and makes sense out of the future.

Time is the expressed theme of the commercial: The first words we see are "The Time Has Come." We know the candidate is old — to me, it's a big problem — but the commercial makes the long stretch of time seem profound and important. Because McCain is old, he is anchored in the past, there, where he is a young man. We see him looking dashing, but also suffering as a POW. In the voice over, he is saying that he felt that he owed more to his country than his country owed him. We hear him say that there was never a day when he was not proud of his country, and, as used in the ad, this must be heard as an allusion to Michelle Obama's statement that for the first time in her life she is really proud of her country.

We see some evocative children in the end — they are young, if he isn't. What do they have to do with him? They vaguely connect to the theme of time. We dipped back into the past, and we swirled around in outer space, but outer space isn't the future, is it? It's all of time. For the future... I believe that children are our future. But that one girl... we see a little black girl pausing over some purple wildflowers. ("I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it.") Is she there to suggest that Michelle Obama — like her husband — is a mere child? The girl plucks at the petals of one flower, so it brings to mind — it must be intentional — the famous LBJ commercial with a young girl plucking at a flower, counting down to a nuclear holocaust. We don't see a mushroom cloud, but some of those galactic images — notably the one at 0:08 — look like powerful explosions.

At 0:26, we see McCain saying "We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will." I confess that I first thought "they" meant the Democrats, and only in typing out the quote did I realize that, overtly, he had to mean our terrorist enemies. But to use that line in the commercial is to play with our brains and make us think — even though he didn't say it — that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are offering to surrender. If that is what Americans don't do, then, implicitly — and I know he doesn't say it — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not Americans.

I'm just sketching out my first thoughts on the commercial. Add to this. Argue with me. I certainly think that many people — probably people who would never vote for McCain — might experience this commercial as scary warmongering and think I'm pretty creepy to get chills from it. Let's talk about all that.

IN THE COMMENTS: Revenant said...
"The Time Has Come."

My soul has been psychadelisized!
Yeah, I was thinking about that too. "Now the time has come (Time)/There's no place to run (Time)/I might get burned up by the sun (Time)" — explains some of those shots of the galaxy — "But I had my fun (Time)/I've been loved and put aside (Time)/I've been crushed by the tumbling tide (Time)/And my soul has been psychedelicized (Time)." A Vietnam song, isn't it?

AND: One commenter, Sandy Shoes, sees the allusion to this, "Koyaanisqatsi"...



Which made me realize it reminded me of this:

152 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

I didn't get into the commerical until the TR part moving into the images of his time as a POW.

It was a fantastic commerical. McCain makes you proud to be an American.

Revenant said...

"The Time Has Come."

My soul has been psychadelisized!

rumtumtugger said...

how hopelessly nauseating: is he really making an equivalence between the situation america faces today and the one britain faced in 1939?

it's simply a means of poeticising his dunderheaded 'national greatness' / 'the military's the answer' philosophy.

AlphaLiberal said...

More importantly, let's talk about why McSame is consorting with a known terrorist regime.

He should be ashamed! What do the troops think?

AlphaLiberal said...

Yeah, it sure looks like someone "took the brown acid," as they said at Woodstock.

The question is not "making America stronger." We're the dominant military force on the globe and spend more than all the other countries of the world combined.

We have plenty of muscle and military power. Do we have the brains to use it wisely to make our people safer and have the diplomatic power? McSame does not, clearly. The dude's got a trigger finger and is itching for more war.

In the 21st century we need to move beyond troglodyte thinking and gunboat diplomacy.

AJ Lynch said...

It will be very very tough for Clinton or Obama to put up better narratives than McCain.

McCain can easily just take the high road by simply showing his own life's story.

Kirby Olson said...

I wouldn't have known the LBJ commercial. It just seemed he was saying that these are all our children, and that we will protect them all. It's meant to verify that people of color are also Americans, and all children mean a lot to him.

Smilin' Jack said...

That was just weird--especially the astro-photos--WTF? And the way "McCain-President 2008" ominously looms into focus at the end, like the title logo on "Lost."

Nobody is inspired by McCain--he wasn't anyone's first choice. He can only be elected as the lesser evil. Maybe with the absurd grandiosity of this commercial (Churchill! Roosevelt! Supernovae!) he's trying to sugarcoat that fact.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In the 21st century we need to move beyond troglodyte thinking and gunboat diplomacy.

You are absolutely right Alpha. The last thing we need is more sabre rattling. European soft power diplomacy has been extremely effective in curbing Iran's nuclear program and ending genocide in Darfur and we need to emulate that even more.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled parallel universe.

Revenant said...

let's talk about why McSame is consorting with a known terrorist regime.

Nice upskirt shot of Jenna Bush, Alpha. You're nothing if not classy.

3rd Way said...

Delusion of grandeur? Roosevelt, Churchill... McCain?

The Dems should welcome ads like this. They should own the issue of war. We have tried the McSame military first option. It has led us to mass casualties and debt as far as we can see. I think I will be voting for something different.

AlphaLiberal said...

That commercial gave you chills, Ann? Are you sure you don't have a window open?

Once again the con's are inflating the enemy into looking like much more than they really are. This is not equivalent, in the least, to WWII.

He should have used the grander Roosevelt saying "we have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Oh, and McCain is loading up his campaign with yet more lobbyists, even as John McCain lies to the American people about being an enemy of lobbyists.

Straight talk, my ass. The "Real McCain" is not what he appears.

Then there's his embrace of the anti-Catholic bigot Hagee. Yeesh!

Troy said...

I would bet your life AlphaLib the troops think very highly of McCain and are petrified of an Obama or Clinton regime.

sandyshoes said...

The ad is gripping.

It owes a fair bit to Koyaanisqatsi.

However, I kind of resent the comparison to Churchill. It's inappropriate. Not to mention a stretch.

The war rhetoric doesn't impress me. We need a new approach.

Revenant said...

A Vietnam song, isn't it?

Was it? I'd never thought of it that way, but maybe I missed the cultural significance. To me it works for any tumultuous event.

MadisonMan said...

McCain is 6 years older than the Churchill of the We will fight them on the beaches speech. McCain is 17 years older than TR of the Progressive Pledge speech. I think I did that subtraction right.

He needs glasses, too -- those words at the end were out of focus!

AJ Lynch said...

Folks, let's face it -most of us (Ann's visitors) are already in one camp or the other.

I suggest we all try to view this ad and pretend you are one of the true undecideds. Then consider if it would be effective at adding new supporters!

Got it?!

AlphaLiberal said...

Revenant, the point of that post (not my web site, BTW) was to point out how dumb and stupid the right-wing criticisms of Obama in Somali tribal garb were.

If Jenna Bush is flashing the world in that link, it doesn't mean I approve of that behavior.

You're lucky to have me to explain these things to you.

Revenant said...

[Democrats] should own the issue of war.

The problem there is that the poll numbers have changed; now the percentages of people who thing we're winning or losing are roughly equal.

Now, maybe it will shift back the other way, and Obama and Clinton's cut-and-run position will stand out as the clear winner among the electorate. In that case they'll have a clear advantage on the war. On the other hand, if the current trend continues, by the time the conventions roll around a majority of Americans will think we're winning the war. In that case the Democratic nominee will be in the uncomfortable position of advocating snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Not a winning position, that.

Right now, though, neither party has a clear advantage on the war. The campaign will probably end up being about the economy.

Moose said...

Man, all I can say was that commercial just made shivers run up my spine. It was awesome.

The now banal videos of Obama speaking in that south side Chicago come to Jesus style look pretty flat compared to this.

It was the perfect juxtaposition of McCain's no nonsense speaking style with the sense of history and the future.

section9 said...

Of course.

"Man in the Arena"

It came just after the Churchill bit.

McCain is a Patriot, fighting against the vested interests for you. He may be old, but he got that way in the Arena. Barack hasn't. Hillary's was given to her.

Only McCain has been where they haven't been.

Excellent rollout ad for JMC.

Well done. I can tell by the screaming of the libs that it works.

Sloanasaurus said...

how hopelessly nauseating: is he really making an equivalence between the situation america faces today and the one britain faced in 1939?

True, having video of Churchill warning the world about Hitler back in early 1930a as a back bencher would have been a lot more applicable.

However, I think McCain was trying to compare the endurance and determination of Churchill to himself rather than a comparisons of the threat.

madawaskan said...

I don't have audio so I just have the visual.
[Interesting that in the last commercial talked about I was so bothered by the audio that nothing else mattered-Pavlov? or maybe it was because I felt what it would be like to be on the other end of that call-my dad's last job was at NORAD]

My first impression-"In the Arena" McCain has fought the demons-his own, "our" own-the extreme ends of the party, and the country's. I've got a feeling he knows evil when he sees it and he's not afraid to call it.

The commercial, it's not traditional is it, it's kind of daring and on the frontier visually anyways.

Damn I wish I had the sound.

Freder Frederson said...

This cruel neutrality thing is really working out well for you Ann.

I really don't understand why he had quotes from Churchill and Roosevelt in there--what do either of those have to do with the current situation?

And pictures of a galaxy. I just don't get it.

LutherM said...

It might be the first time in their lives that some of the Obamas and the Clintonistas have heard anything composed by Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt.
Yes, the will dismiss Churchill, TR, and therefore McCain as being "old white men", alleging that the sentiments expressed are out of date.
But perhaps some people will ponder the ideas - which seem somewhat more coherent than the propaganda from the other side.
Very good commercial - but I've already decided to vote for him.

Fen said...

Excellent commercial. It will resonate strongly with Moderates and Conservatives.

It will be very very tough for Clinton or Obama to put up better narratives than McCain.

As demonstrated by AlphaLiberal's desperate trolling.

Sloanasaurus said...

We have tried the McSame military first option. It has led us to mass casualties and debt as far as we can see. I think I will be voting for something different.

We tried peace and love during the 1930s and it led to mass casualties and massive debt. Then again, we tried the peace and love during the 1990s and it gave us 9-11.

Alan said...

What were gonna do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time. When the only people that existed were troglodytes, cavemen, cavewomen....

Roger said...

Given the depressing survey that said 25 percent of Brits thought Churchill was a myth, I wonder how invoking Churchill and TR in the US is going to do. How many younger folks are going to know who these people are?

bill said...

A Vietnam song, isn't it?

The timing -- late 60s -- might make it so. If I recall correctly, I think it's the music playing in "Coming Home" when Bruce Dern walks into the ocean to kill himself.

bill said...

...and it's a song that has plenty of cowbell.

madawaskan said...

Speaking of evil-

Ann have you watched No Country for Old Men yet?

Sometimes evil-it just is.

There's no talking to it, there's no rationalizing with it, there is no understanding it. It just is.

And you fight it where you can and how you can because to not do so means you ultimately lose.

You don't let the times that you didn't, stop you from doing it when and where you can.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, the will dismiss Churchill, TR, and therefore McCain as being "old white men", alleging that the sentiments expressed are out of date.

Luther you strike a great point. Are the sentiments McCain expresses out of date? Is America still the patriotic country of 1776 that stands for freedom and principles (what McCain believes), or is it a post nation state that stands for nothing but a means to deliver goods and services from one set of people to another (Obama/Clinton). I.e., should our future be a continuation of 1776 or should it be the new post modern welfare state.

What a great way to contrast this election.

mark said...

The ad is certainly gripping, at least in some parts. Churchill bit is a gamble - does it move people to think the struggle with Islamofascists rises to the same level, or does it look like an egregious overstatement? Not most of the commenters here who are already pre-disposed one way or another, but those who are on the fence?

It also feels a bit like a combination of Reagan's "morning in America" and "bear in the woods" ads. Those ads likely generated scepticism at the time, but in retrospect I think they resonated with America and pre-saged Reagan's winning message, and much of his governing philosophy. This ad might end up being seen in the same light.

The final thought is that this ad takes off in some sense on Hillary's 3am phone call, and takes it to a whole other level, showing Democrats bickering about experience and readiness as child play compared to people like Churchill, TR, and yes, even John McCain.

It's certainly going to get some attention and MSM face time for McCain.

Chip Ahoy said...

Why, it's all so graphic. It's as if I had watched the video myself!

In another world, I'm a terribly lazy lout. Let my aquarium go unattended for a month. Replicating global climate change by introducing CO2 through an air tube, but no O at all, save aeration dragged down by surface agitation resulting from power heads, the plants have thrived -- thrived so much they're completely crowding out the piscifauna and growing right out of the tank. Ensconced within an underwater forest, the fish are feeling a bit randy. Impossible to breed fish are partying all day long. There's actually about 50 of them in there, going all out of character. Wanna see?

Fen said...

3rd Way: We have tried the McSame military first option

13 years of sanctions.

60+ UN Resolutions over 14 years.

Again I ask: what is the point of soft power diplomacy if no one is willing to enforce it?

save_the_rustbelt said...

Sounds like something from 1967 or 1968.

"If we don't continue the war their lives will be lost in vain."

30,000 additional Americans died for the hubris of LBJ and Nixon.

I can respect McCain because his sons are in the military.

But for most members of the GOP who love war, the criteria are:

1) defense contractors make lots of money

2) someone else's children do the dying

Zeb Quinn said...

even though he didn't say it — that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are offering to surrender. If that is what Americans don't do, then, implicitly — and I know he doesn't say it — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not Americans.

I think you read that in there on your own Ann. I didn't hear it that way at all. I knew he was talking about the terrorists from the getgo. One thing to remember is McCain doesn't play politics on that level.

As for the ad itself, as we can see right here in the comments, the committed left will hate it. But many in the center and on the right will be moved, and that's who it is aimed at.

Freder Frederson said...

Given the depressing survey that said 25 percent of Brits thought Churchill was a myth, I wonder how invoking Churchill

Considering that Churchill was the consumate survivor who not only presided two British military disasters (Gallipolli and the Battle for France in 1940) but managed to redeem himself after the first and pin the blame for the second on the French (when the cold hard fact is it was the Brits who cut in run in the face of Rommel's crappy little tanks), perhaps the comparison is apt.

Churchill was always able to rewrite history to make himself look good.

Freder Frederson said...

One thing to remember is McCain doesn't play politics on that level.

Huh?

ricpic said...

What about the Mexican enemy pouring into Arizona? No no, pay no mind to the million hombres stepping through the torn back curtain. Eyes front, facing our terrorist - but not Islamist - enemy, straining for a view into our glorious mythical future. That's the ticket.

Middle Class Guy said...

AlphaLiberal said...
You're lucky to have me to explain these things to you.



We'd be luckier if you disappeared.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Latest economic news:

Kellogg Brown and Root (formerly of Halliburton, nee Cheney) set up an offshore company to fulfill Iraq contracts so it could avoid hundreds of millions in US payroll taxes on contracts funded by the US taxpyers.

Michael_H said...

That is an excellent ad. It will appeal to voters across a wide spectrum of political beliefs. The viewer knows, at the end of the ad, whose hand should be on the red phone.

Of course, it doesn't offer universal 4 year old pre-kindergarden, so it has that problem going for it.

rhhardin said...

There's a reference to the Goldwater speech (I don't seek the Presidency ...)

And the galaxies are both where Churchill is speaking from, and TR.

And also a reference to one of Bush's finest speeches after the shuttle disaster.

I'll hunt those up.

BJK said...

It's an interesting ad, but I'm left to wonder just how many people are actually going to see it. It's not like McCain has the freedom to make national media buys until he's able to withdraw from public funding.

I also can't help if the ad asks too much of the audience: what percentage of the general public really knows enough about Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt to fully understand the message? Even going to a good high school, my history courses never had enough time to really focus on the events of the 20th Century.

I'll admit, the TR angle sets up very well for McCain. Military leader -turned-President; a Conservationalist Republican. I would expect the campaign to come back to this theme over the coming months.


Ultimately, though, given the constraints facing the campaign at this moment, it seems very much like the type of ad you hope the media / talking head roundtables will pick up and run for you. Given where these comments are being made, I'd say it's working.

Fen said...

But for most members of the GOP who love war, the criteria are:

Yet another Moonbat vomits up the chickenhawk fallacy. Yup, McCain's ad is very effective.

john said...

Chip...

Make your bed.

rhhardin said...

The Goldwater Speech

Bush's speech on the Challenger disaster :

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

George said...

TR and Churchill were also arrogant snots, in the best sense of the word....brawlers....like McCain.

In fact, both TR and McCain were boxers.

The guy doesn't need a 3AM ad, that's for sure.

It was 3 a.m. for him for five-and-half-years in the Hanoi Hilton.

George said...

Oh, Rev...

Speaking of being psychedelacized, here's the other new McCain video....

Time has come...

AlphaLiberal said...

You know, this is a real backward-looking ad. On reflection, it says to me "this guy is really living in the past, thinking we're reliving the events of his life when actually this situation is something different."

p.s. I enjoyed the Trog video! Talk about a blast from the past!

Blue Moon said...

I thought the ad was pretty good. It reminds of something that has been missing of late from the Obama campaign. I remember Obama giving very overtly patriotic speeches and people chanting "USA, USA..." He seems to have turned away from that, but if he wants to cut into Hillary's middle Pennsylvania support, he ought to go back to that.

If I was David Axelrod for a week, I'd get a pickup truck and just drive Obama from town to town in PA, starting in Pittsburg and ending 7 days later in Philly, eating lunch everyday at the local greasy spoon.

rcocean said...

Interesting Ad. I wonder how many people under 40 especially minorities know -or care about - TR or Churchill?

And is McCain going to point out he was Vietnam POW in every commercial for the next 8 months? Wait, of course he will. He's been bringing it up constantly for the last 20 years.

The war hero, the black man, and the woman. When are we going to start discussing policy and the future?

Cedarford said...

Ad is effective. I would say that both Churchill and Reagan As God are two tired old symbols that need a rest from Republicans.

The Churchillian one especially has become tedious as Bush wrapped himself in the mantle of Churchill, had his syncophants say he was the American Churchill who would spread democracy, defeat Evildoer "Islamofascists" and Arch-Evil Saddam as sure as the Great Churchill led a similarly helpless and besieged nation to crush the Nazis.

So his ad breaks down on "more of the same old Churchill rhetoric." It gives a sense that he will just take the American Churchill toga from Bush and do the same old stuff - when aside from a few remaining Neocon Jews still willing to open their mouths on their Churchillian Bush Hero and all the other beaten to death WWII imagery 60 years later of Munich, the Blitz, etc... - the public wants the next candidate to be UNLIKE Bush-Churchill.

McCain hasn't overused Reagan, but just about every other Reublican has in justifying any screwball idea with assertions that Saint Reagan would have approved of it if he had it on his desk in 1982.
Well, it's not 1982, and Reagan was not some rigid blind thinker trapped in 1930s Amber, but a guy who constantly evaluated his positions and happily compromised some of his beliefs away in Tip O'Neill deals if he got more than he gave away in the process.

McCain is far better when he is not milking his "POW as suffering victim" meme, but instead saying whatever price he paid in national service was worth it and he owes the country even more. It feeds into the hunger of young and old not to "maximize liberties enjoyed by the New "ME!!" Generation, but to serve and contribute to something greater than themselves.

Enough with the pandering.

Henry said...

Here's another pop culture reference: Rodger Hodgson doing Fool's Overture (Churchill at 2:21).

McCain purposely reaches for the tattered mantle that Bush wears so poorly -- that of the man to be vindicated by history.

When you see Naval Aviator McCain it's almost believable.

But those images need to be used very sparingly, or they'll lose their power.

mark said...

When are we going to start discussing policy and the future?
With this ad: We win. Jihadists loose. The future depends on it. That's a pretty important policy and is one of the key challenges in our future, no matter how much Dems would want to sweep it under the rug.

ZPS said...

Oh, Ann.

Did John McCain give you bigger chills than the Huckabee floating cross ad?:

"Let me confess that while I approached this video with an absolutely cold, clear view of how political it was for the Huckster to say he was setting politics aside, somewhere toward the end I got chills."

Or did McCain chill you more than that 2005 anti-Kerry attack ad from the GOP:

"I think the commercial is very powerful and effective. It gave me chills. Every word of it, every clip, is perfectly chosen to send the message that the Republicans in fact waited far too long to send."

Either you're a fan of creepy rhetoric, or you can't think of any other word to describe your emotions when Republicans open their mouths.

Revenant said...

I'm amused that Freder's reaction to "McCain is like Churchill" was "Churchill sucked!".

Yeah, good luck on that one Fred.

Impartial observer said...

Even though I was trying to look at this ad with a critical eye, I kept getting chills.

So much for the vow!

You were out almost quicker than Kramer in that famous masturbation episode.

The charade is over, Ann. Thanks for making that clear so quickly!! I love transparency.

Balfegor said...

McCain is 6 years older than the Churchill of the We will fight them on the beaches speech.

Wow -- Churchill was that old? That means he was McCain's age+ in his second stretch as PM, no? And wow! So he was.

I'm amused that Freder's reaction to "McCain is like Churchill" was "Churchill sucked!".

Yeah, good luck on that one Fred.


Might work in England, where I think he's seen as a bit of a dotty old man. Not so much in the US. We love Churchill.

MadisonMan said...

BJK: The quoted TR speech was made after TR left the Republican Party to form the Progressive Party. Perhaps McCain has left the Republican Party as well.

Michael_H said...

rhhardin-

Bush didn't give the Challenger speech; Reagan did. Peggy Noonan co-wrote it with Reagan. It was a beautiful speech.

Balfegor said...

Bush didn't give the Challenger speech; Reagan did. Peggy Noonan co-wrote it with Reagan. It was a beautiful speech.

Rhardin had the right speech, just the wrong name. It was the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Just like it said in the quote.

Freder Frederson said...

I'm amused that Freder's reaction to "McCain is like Churchill" was "Churchill sucked!".

Yeah, good luck on that one Fred.


Churchill made some incredible horrible blunders that would have ended a lesser politician's career (and cost the lives of countless British soldiers). That he was able to recover from these blunders and shift the blame for them is a tribute to his skill as a politician.

I wouldn't say he sucked, but his legend certainly glosses over some very serious flaws.

ZPS said...

I wonder what else gives Ann the chills?

We already know Huckabee does, as do Republicans attacking John Kerry, and now it's John McCain.

Of all the beautiful, meaningful moments in life (so many of which Ann photographs herself!), the one time she decides to talk about her emotional responses...and it's that she gets the chills when Republicans speak.

ZPS said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWaVMTlm8_8

nathan said...

It is delightful that yhou are a good American and get so charged up and enlightened by a commercial put together by professionals. I am sure that this will take care of the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, the housing debacle, the massive new ueemployment figures, inflation, rise in gas prices, lack of health care and on and on...what else do you watch now that Six Feet Under is buried?

Nomenklatura said...

It's amusing to see how many of your commenters live on a planet where this stuff has as much impact as an undecipherable set of alien hieroglyphics. You evidently do not.

"This is the feeling of being conservative — it is a deep emotional sense that the past matters and flows into the present and makes sense out of the future" is exactly right.

Personally I found it the most effective political ad I've ever seen (ad I usually hate them all). It's all but unanswerable, given what the Democratic party's would-be candidates and congressional representatives have already said during the campaign. Nor does it require McCain to mention any particular candidate or even the Democrats in general to make his point.

Just how much of the country finds this stuff meaningful we will find out in November, but many of us suspect it's enough to produce a McGovern-style blowout victory.

titustourjete said...

I love that Madonna video.

Madonna is amazing.

She has a new cd coming out in April.

Madonna gives me chills.

As far as the Mccain ad goes my sense is this is not going to be about national security.

If you look at polls a majority of Americans are really concerned about the economy. Cost of gas, jobs, housing slowdown, etc. My view is that is what is going to drive this election this year but of course I could be wrong.

At least it isn't about gay marriage.

titustourjete said...

I meant this election is not going to be about national security. Sure, it will be one of the issues but I don't think it will be the most important.

I think the economy will be.

Revenant said...

I am sure that this will take care of the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, the housing debacle, the massive new ueemployment figures, inflation, rise in gas prices, lack of health care and on and on

Maybe she's bright enough to realize that the next President isn't going to magically fix all of your problems for you?

Just a thought.

gg said...

I think it's a great ad, but McCain has to be careful not to overemphasize his personal history or what he views as his kinship with independent-minded conservative giants like TR or Churchill.

One of the best things about McCain, especially should he go against Obama, is his tone of humility and unassuming modesty. I think it's genuine. But he can't overdo the "Hey look, I'm modest and I'm a war hero!" theme. As true and as strong as it is, the message can get worn out before November. A modest hero shouldn't have to call attention to the fact that he's a modest hero.

Cutler said...

Pity Roosevelt wasn't a conservative, but a turn of the century progressive. In that vein he was a militarist, imperialist, lover of big government regulation and an ardent eugenicist.

Not a hero for the modern Republican Party.

ZPS said...

Other things that potentially give Ann the chills:

http://www.thewednesdayreport.com/twr/twr-v18/President_Ronald_Reagan_and_Vice_President_George_Herbert_Walker_Bush.jpg

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/clinton/trippl.jpg

http://www.walkinginla.com/Page2/images/818rat.jpg

http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/images/GeraldFord_BillClinton.jpg

and...

maybe just for fun:

http://mexfiles.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/fatman.jpg

Ken Wheaton said...

I'm going to have to disagree on this one. While the ad obviously worked for you, I think it's a great branding idea marred by amateurish technique. It's entirely too long, the space shots are hokey and the kids don't fit.
Ken Wheaton
Advertising Age
AdAge.com/campaigntrail

Revenant said...

One of the best things about McCain, especially should he go against Obama, is his tone of humility and unassuming modesty. I think it's genuine.

Really? Because he always struck me as the kind of guy who thinks "I'm incredibly humble and modest, and people damned well ought to respect me for it". :)

For a "modest and humble" guy he gets snarky in a big ol' hurry when people question his sincerity.

Eli Blake said...

Ironic though, because Teddy Roosevelt was hardly a conservative! The conservatives of his day put him on a ticket with William McKinley primarily to exploit his 'war hero' status earned in the Spanish-American war, never guessing that he'd actually become President. While President, he created the National Park System, signed the first wildlife protection acts (thereby for the first time ever closing off areas in America to development because of environmental reasons), and created regulatory agencies such as the precursor to the Food and Drug Administration (mainly to inspect meat).

He really irritated conservatives of his day and they were only too glad to see him gone.

Then again, that may be exactly the image that McCain is hoping to cultivate.

Cutler said...

Bingo blake. That's his hero. And he's entirely aware of it, having written (or ghost-written) about Roosevelt at length in his books.

Ann Althouse said...

ZPS said...Oh, Ann.

Did John McCain give you bigger chills than the Huckabee floating cross ad?:

"Let me confess that while I approached this video with an absolutely cold, clear view of how political it was for the Huckster to say he was setting politics aside, somewhere toward the end I got chills."

Or did McCain chill you more than that 2005 anti-Kerry attack ad from the GOP:

"I think the commercial is very powerful and effective. It gave me chills. Every word of it, every clip, is perfectly chosen to send the message that the Republicans in fact waited far too long to send."

Either you're a fan of creepy rhetoric, or you can't think of any other word to describe your emotions when Republicans open their mouths.


Congratulations on finding the only other times I've said something gave me chills. 3 whole times in 4+ years. So, you haven't made sense.

Greg said...

The history mixed with galaxy images comes straight out of Jody Foster's movie Contact, creating much of the same emotional effect.

Trooper York said...

Grusinskaya: I must leave now, you pasty faced strumpet. What a whirlwind. I have never had so much conflict in all my life. Fighting and pushing and shoving. Thank God I have found a new love. I can banish all thoughts of the Baron.
Miss Peggy Noonan: You are abandoning the Baron? Why pray tell?
Grusinskaya: I have found a new love, the Major. He was a pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille. The Red Baron shot him down but he survived as a POW until the end of the war. He gives me chills just to think of him. He reminds me of all of my great Heros. Like Churchill.
Miss Peggy Noonan: You mean he is as bald as an egg with more chins than a Chinese telephone book?
Grusinskaya: NO you thin blooded translucent doily sniffer. He is indomitable. A bulldog.
Miss Peggy Noonan: Not a beagle? My friend Andrew has a beagle. They go everywhere together.
Grusinskaya: NO you whey faced pervert. He is like all my heroes rolled into one. He gives me strange tingles in my innermost vortex. Most of all he reminds of my hero Teddy.
Miss Peggy Noonan: The famous old fat liberal lion and aquatic stunt man?
Grusinskaya: NO you albino adulteress. Like the President. Teddy Roosevelt.
Miss Peggy Noonan: Oh I see. Bully!
(Grand Hotel, 1932)

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

The history mixed with galaxy images comes straight out of Jody Foster's movie Contact, creating much of the same emotional effect.

Ann Althouse said...

ken wheaton said...I'm going to have to disagree on this one. While the ad obviously worked for you, I think it's a great branding idea marred by amateurish technique. It's entirely too long, the space shots are hokey and the kids don't fit.
Ken Wheaton
Advertising Age
AdAge.com/campaigntrail


I'm not disagreeing with this. Though I said nothing about the length, I knocked the child images and the space stuff. My judgment is about the effectiveness of the ad in making someone who might vote for McCain bond with McCain, and also in creating a feeling about conservatism and history. Intellectually the outer space shots are very weird, but I think they work in conveying a subliminal message about the profundity of history.

Greg said...

History & cosmos inter spliced
from the movie Contact:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RVK7rXSiCCA

ZPS said...

Well, you said it yourself...."the only other times" have all been in response to disingenuous Republican propaganda. Nothing else gives you the chills (and when we say 'chills' here we mean that they--the chills--had a positive effect on you) except Republican advertising. At least, nothing else that you talk about on this here blog.

Tom said...

McCain mentions that he is imperfect, without shouting it.

I think this is both effective and important -- like imperfect America, able to make mistakes/ be mistaken, yet still be good. Better than others.

Of course, I'm biased in my own desire to fight against Unreal Perfection.

I hope McCain tries to correct history on Vietnam: the military won the war with the 1973 Peace Accords, but the Dem Party voted to lose in stopping enforcement and stopping the funding for our imperfect anti-communist S. Viet allies.

Marc was right above:
We win. Jihadists lose.

Ann, please keep looking for ads that give you chills -- 3 times in 4+ years isn't enough.

Balfegor said...

I'm going to have to disagree on this one. While the ad obviously worked for you, I think it's a great branding idea marred by amateurish technique. It's entirely too long, the space shots are hokey and the kids don't fit.

Forget the space shots, what about the Star Wars hyperspace effect? What on earth were they thinking? I'm not an advertising professional, or even a graphics design professional, but I'd have cut out the space shots and edited the audio to remove the cheers of the audience. Probably reduced the volume of the background tinkle too.

In addition, the contrast between the black and white shots (including the black and white shots from McCain's time as a POW), and the colour space shots and sky shots (And shots of McCain speaking in the present) are quite jarring, and could have been done better, as in the Clinton 3AM ad, by letting the colour in towards the end or something, together with the shots of children and so forth.

McCain's campaign colours have even been black and white, so it wouldn't be all that outlandish to have an ad whose colour scheme starts out black and white.

Of course, then again, what do I know? I thought the wolves advert was shot so amateurishly, but it evidently worked well. And I think the Obama propaganda ads, especially the one with the chanting, are creepy and horribly off-putting, but those seem to work fine too. So my sensibilities may just be out of sync with the viewer population.

Trooper York said...

Grusinskaya: Come you dimwitted doxy. The Major is going to speak at the inn. I must go and sketch him so I can send out a missive to my many correspondents. They must support him in his campaign for chancellor.
Miss Peggy Noonan: Bully!
Grusinskaya: Stop calling him that you fool. He is just a strong and opinionated man. A man of action. Oh how I would love to trace his liver spotted skin with my tongue. Run my fingers through his single strand of hair. Polish his false teeth before leaving them on the nightstand during our nights of passion.
Miss Peggy Noonan: Oh to be in love again. If only he would win. Who are his rivals?
Grusinskaya: Its seems that they are a callow youth of dubious antecedents and the cuckolded wife of the prior chancellor who is known for her foul temper and general unpleasantness.
Miss Peggy Noonan: Well then it should not be a problem. Soon you can be together and he can beat you until you weep tears of blood while he twists your nipp…..eh, never mind.
Grusinskaya: (muttered under her breath) Pervert.
(Grand Hotel, 1932)

ZPS said...

Such a peculiar little blogger, that Ann.

"Argue with me...I certainly think that many people might experience this commercial as scary warmongering and think I'm pretty creepy to get chills from it. Let's talk about all that."

I argue that her chills are telling, and question why only certain things give her chills. But oh, no, that just doesn't make "sense."

If you don't like being called out on your biases, or at the very least your desire to appease your Republican fanboys, why bother asking for it?

caplight777 said...

The Chambers Brothers?

Oh, no Ann. Tell me you don't watch all those pathetic PBS aging rock group concert fund raisers.

BTW that Chambers Brothers album had a great rendition of "People Get Ready" that was released a few years ago on a Starbucks CD.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

This brings back the counter culture in rhythm and stroboscopic imagery, in the mixture of main beat Churchill, TR, as Moses guide to McCain "We will not surrender, they will" with also jazz downbeat, 'an imperfect servant.' And, of course, it's a great Hegelian synthesis in medium of the conflicts of America and thus an expression of love for it to 'give you chills.' It takes on the Alinsky negative personalization of our conflict, seen from the imposition of 9/11, and asks that it be solved appopriately by a different outcome than the Democrats recommend.

Jim C. said...

Ahmedinejad wants to destroy Israel. "Mein Kampf" is a best-seller in Arab countries. No parallels to 1939? What more do the sneerers want? Will even Israel being incinerated in a new Holocause convince you?

Trooper York said...

"or at the very least your desire to appease your Republican fanboys,"

HEY, I resemble that remark. Cut it out.

ZPS said...

"I think this is a brilliant ad."

This, from the same woman who said, "By the way, the sleeping child appears to be black. Mere coincidence?"

Sometimes she sees NIGs. Sometimes she gets chills.

Good grief. How can you expect anyone to consider any of your observations worthy of any honest deliberation. It's all just one nutty dog and pony show. Albeit an entertaining one, at least.

Jim C. said...

The astronomical images were over the top, but the ad did give me chills because I admire Churchill and think the comparisons to 1939 are valid.

The speeded-up sections were a metaphor for how we are rushing into the future no matter how much the nay-sayers deny it. We MUST meet the challenges or be destroyed. And as an old saying goes, it's later than you think. a LOT later.

RJ said...

I think it's a great ad. Sure, it's bound to drive the peaceniks, the people who really do want to see America lose, crazy. They're a small minority, though, and would never vote for McCain anyway. There's another, more sizeable, much more important group of Americans who are very much against the war, but still want us to win it. I think those are the people McCain could reach with this ad, and most of them are old enough to appreciate the imagery used. They're old enough to see the flow of time as Ann does, they have kids, and they are all concerned with the future. Like Hillary's 3AM ad, this is the kind of thing they will suddenly think of when it comes time to pull the lever and make their choice.

Kirk Parker said...

Freder,

The idea that the failure of Gallipolli was Churchill's fault is just plain preposterous--unless you mean the C. should have realized that he had only idiots to carry it out, and so instead fell into the kind of inactivity that apparently admire in a leader.

The Drill SGT said...

M said...McCain is 6 years older than the Churchill of the We will fight them on the beaches speech. McCain is 17 years older than TR of the Progressive Pledge speech. I think I did that subtraction right.

If I have the math right, Churchill was 76 when he BEGAN his last tour as PM 1951-55. That was in a day when folks lived a lot shorter lives. mcCain's age looks young in that context.

The Drill SGT said...

think that this adplays wel to a demographic that McCain hope to win. patriotic Reagan democrats. Those blue collar dems that Hillary is getting now will be influenced by this ad.

They may oppose the war, but they dont want the US to lose and the remember those photos of the US helo's taking folks off the embassy in 75. Never again!!

The Drill SGT said...

"Time Has Come Today" - The Chambers Brothers

Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can't put it off another day
I don't care what others say
They say we don't listen anyway
Time has come today
(Hey)

Nolanimrod said...

Maybe I'm just an unsubtle dumb bell, but I never for one moment thought McCain's "we will never surrender; they will surrender" applied to his electoral opponents, but to those who would harm America. Hmmmm... you don't suppose?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

but I never for one moment thought McCain's "we will never surrender; they will surrender" applied to his electoral opponents, but to those who would harm America. Hmmmm... you don't suppose?

Consider: Marine recruiting center in NYC is bombed. Americans initially suspect:

a) Islamic extremists, and

b) the anti-war Left

That says it all right there.

Elliott A said...

The ad is genius because it provides the perfect background to either amplify or frame the message he wants us to hear,by applying the emotional context usually missing from such messages. Once you hear the message, then you still have to buy it.

Revenant said...

Actually, Fen, when the initial reports suggested that the same person had targeted the Mexican and British embassies as well, my first thought was that it was a Ron Paul supporter -- anti-war AND anti-foreigner.

Blake said...

I wasn't gonna look at the ad, 'cause an ad has never changed my vote, and I ain't voting for Mr. First-Amendment-is-nice-and-all-but-nothing-to-get-excited-over-it.

But...okay. And...meh. It's not bad. It's got a quasi-religious feel to it which I guess McCain needs since H&O have a lot fervent true believers.

But when I saw Churchill and Roosevelt, and then McCain, I found myself thinking "One of these things is not like the other...."

Blake said...

On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if I were wrong?

Ken Wheaton said...

Ann,
Ironically, I'm a registered republican likely to vote for McCain and the ad left me cold. You're not a McCain supporter and it worked for you. Shows you what my criticism's worth!

Maybe the McCain camp purposely targeted independent bloggers likely to rationally critique an ad. Not a huge voting bloc, but hey.

rcocean said...

"There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

From John McCain's New Book -"Twins of Greatness, TR and Me."

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

"This is the feeling of being conservative — it is a deep emotional sense that the past matters and flows into the present and makes sense out of the future."

Well said. So much better than that "standing athwart history yelling stop" puffoonery.

bravo Althouse!

Terry said...

It is interesting that when Democrats show America's past, they focus predominately on those things this nation has done wrong. When Republicans show our past they focus on what the nation has done right.

Tim said...

"Considering that Churchill was the consumate survivor who not only presided two British military disasters (Gallipolli and the Battle for France in 1940) but managed to redeem himself after the first and pin the blame for the second on the French (when the cold hard fact is it was the Brits who cut in run in the face of Rommel's crappy little tanks), perhaps the comparison is apt."

A statement like this generally leads to only two conclusions: the one making it is either profoundly ignorant of the facts, or is lying. I will, recognizing the commenter's history, concede a third possibility: that he is both profoundly ignorant AND lying.

The French lost France, as the record shows; stating otherwise is just wrong, whatever reason the statement was made.

Tim said...

"It is interesting that when Democrats show America's past, they focus predominately on those things this nation has done wrong. When Republicans show our past they focus on what the nation has done right."

Yes, when I first became politically aware in the mid-60's, I noticed that. And, being proud of my nation's history despite its flaws, I registered as a Republican - that is, I joined the team that loved America as I did. I left the haters by the curbside, and not only did I never look back, time has only confirmed my decision.

Fen said...

the one making it is either profoundly ignorant of the facts, or is lying.

Thats why I let his revisionism slip by. It so incredible it doesn't deserve the effort of a detailed rebuttal.

Revenant said...

I don't know that I'd even call it revisionism. Revisionism makes me think "ok, that's not correct", whereas Freder just makes me think "did he really just say that?"

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

So I watched the commercial, and in my opinion, it's not at all hard to see what's being hinted at by the footage of Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, McCain as a young man, McCain now, and space. In fact, for me, it can be summed up in one word: progress. TR was a famously progressive Republican president. Churchill understood, with crystal clarity, that in order to have progress you must have freedom, which at times must be defended by force. The young McCain attempted to help our South Vietnamese allies defend their freedom by force, and paid an enormous price for doing so. McCain now sees the need to help our Iraqi and Kurdish allies defend their freedom by force. Why? Because the values that Churchill, Roosevelt, and McCain have all defended are those most likely to ensure that there is a future in which the sky's the limit.

Don't see the connection between optimism and children? Read Mark Steyn's "America Alone" and consider that of all of the Western nations, only America is having children at replacement levels, with the former Communist states being the most-rapidly-dying Think for a moment about why that might be.

Daryl said...

Althouse wrote: we see a little black girl pausing over some purple wildflowers. . . . Is she there to suggest that Michelle Obama — like her husband — is a mere child?

No. You're overanalyzing it. She's there because of affirmative action. Or, more to the point, she's there so that Senator McCain is not accused of trying to sell an idealistic vision of a future America that excludes minorities.

Kirk Parker said...

Theo,

Yours is an interesting comment. However, it's a bit jarring to read "I have ... avoided drink" in something that started with a reference to Churchill's reprise as PM at an advanced age! :-)

Joseph said...

There are a couple of obvious reasons for the children at the end of the ad.

1). In modern politics, any policy that can be described as being "for the children" automatically wins a certain level of public support, regardless of whether or not that policy has any logical connection whatsoever to the welfare of children. In other words, some people will happily ignore all the stuff about Churchill and Roosevelt, but then see children happily playing and decide, then and there, to vote for McCain.

2). In modern politics, any policy that leads to a harmful consequence to even a single child is wrong and bad, no matter what the overall benefit of the policy is to the general good. So showing that one's leadership will lead to "symbolic child representing all children" leading a life of meaning, wonder, and happiness diffuses this line of attack.

3). Bob Dole's 1996 Republican Convention slogan "A Bridge to the Past" was totally (and deliberately) squashed by Bill Clinton's later campaign slogan "A Bridge to the Twenty-First Century". For McCain to remind voters that he has future generations in mind when he becomes president is a no-brainer for him. The images of interstellar nebula and distant galaxies also play into this theme of McCain as visionary, 21st century leader.

The space images also serve another important role, which is to make sure that the ad doesn't become too focused on Roosevelt or Churchill. Let's face it, Teddy Roosevelt was such a charismatic guy that, 100 years after his presidency, we can watch grainy footage of him smiling into a camera and be charmed by him. Cutting from the "concrete" images of Roosevelt on camera to the more "abstract" images of space viewed from a distant perspective keeps Roosevelt from stealing the show.

AllenS said...

Freder--

Let's talk. I have some questions to ask you. You keep avoiding me. I have this feeling that you've accomplished very little in life, and so you make stuff up. You constantly make stuff up so you can join the conversation as if you have some kind of street cred. Right? I think you don't want to talk, because you can't remember what you've made up in the past.

Mr. Forward said...

"CLINTONS JUST KEN'T GET IT RIGHT"
http://www.nypost.com/seven/03072008/news/columnists/clintons__just_kent_get_it_right_100850.htm

Obama: "Yes We Can"

Hillary: "No, we Ken't"

John: "McCan"

hdhouse said...

yeah right. Time has come.

FATHER time has come. We have had 8 years of a senile goat as president..do we now need a senile Senator?

Mr. Forward said...

"We have had 8 years of a senile goat as president..."

Bill Clinton is senile?

Donald Douglas said...

Great analysis, but runs out of steam at the conclusion:

"Argue with me. I certainly think that many people — probably people who would never vote for McCain — might experience this commercial as scary warmongering and think I'm pretty creepy to get chills from it. Let's talk about all that."

What's to talk about, respectfully, except that you need to get out, in all kindness, and visit some lefty blogs? Try Glenn Greenwald. Fearmongering's his schtick, you know.

Other than that, fabulous evocations: Time has come today!!

Love it...

American Power

amr said...

I have not been a big McCain supporter during the primaries, but I can not turn away from a man who knowing what was in store for him, did not take the offer for an early release from being a POW for the good of his men and country. As a veteran, and with some tears now rolling now down my cheeks, that sacrifice tells me a lot about this man.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyro said...

When it comes to videos meant to "inspire" voters, it is ok if you're a republican. Otherwise, you're a leader of a cult of naive voters putting too much trust in a politician.

"The Time Has Come."

That's where the entire video fails. "The Time Has Come" is used to herald in the arrival of something new, something different, a dawning of something. Trying to use it in service of an old, longtime Senator whose campaign premise is to be the successor of the GW Bush legacy just makes no sense whatsoever.

Donald Douglas said...

Tyro: The time has come for a leader to beat back the nihilist, multiculturist, politically-correct surrenda agenda. We need to do that today.

McCain's Churchillian, which is what the ad's all about, IMHO.

Sure, we can read a lot into it, perhaps not as well as Althouse, but the basic messages is: "We Will Never Surrender."

To borrow from the great British PM:

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Lebanon and Gaza; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in counterinsurgency. We shall defend our nation and allies at whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender!

American Power

Beldar said...

I agree that the commercial is brilliant, but the target audience for its maximum effect is a small one.

Probably most American voters know something of, and respond positively to, Winston Churchill.

But Teddy Roosevelt? As it happens, he's one of my great heroes. But I'm guessing that huge chunks of the public won't even recognize him, much less draw the parallels to him that the McCain campaign would want us to draw. (They have a lot in common: TR was certainly a maverick, too.)

PatCA said...

I guess my other comment didn't make it, but there is more history and policy meat in here than in all Obama's speeches or Hillary's ads (remade from 20-year-old ads).

Who's the "new" politician here? It's McCain--he sees his opening, running against ahistorical candidates with little except logos and posters and sound bites, and is taking maximum advantage. If he can continue to lead instead of pandering to niches like the Dems, he's got it.

jjv said...

I liked it but I would cut the space stuff and the kids at the end. I would also do another one and steal the Democrats-Kennedy "pay any price, bare any burden" and Roosevelt (nothing to fear but fear itself). McCain is like Rainer Sarnac in the old T.V. show "call to Glory" and has a total JFK vibe.

Beldar said...

Impressions from a second watch, perhaps tainted by reading the comments here:

The rushing-by clouds, stars, and traffic all seemed to me to be shaky, fast-moving jet pilot images.

The quick snip of him grinning and holding out his arms to quiet the cheering crowd -- right after "We'll never surrender, and they will!" -- struck me as very odd the first time through. The second time through, it reminded me of something I already knew: that because of physical disability tracing back to his POW injuries, he can't raise his arms very high. I don't know if that was the intention or not; if so, though, it suggests an even narrower target audience.

The McCain as POW images are indeed going to be awfully familiar by November. I don't think there's the danger of backlash with them that John Kerry faced, however. (Interesting that one of the quick flashes in this commercial was of McCain smoking a desperately scarce cigarette in his Hanoi Hilton hospital bed! Contrast that to once, recent, and possibly/probably still-current cigarette smoker Barack Obama, of whom photos or videos taken while smoking are extraordinarily rare and ruthlessly avoided by his staff.)

Images of TR aren't common anymore, but his voice? Or moving pictures of him? Regardless of what he's doing in them (which isn't much), simply seeing him in motion and hearing his voice is astonishing to someone who already has a high opinion of him. And it's vastly more effective than still-picture photos of TR would have been, or someone merely reading his words, for those of us who actually know who the hell TR was and what he represented in the America and the world of his day.

TR, of course, was in fact the youngest American president, ever, when he took office — substantially younger than Obama is now. (JFK was the youngest president ever elected, but not the youngest to serve in the office.) In B&W, in the jerky movies, and with the old-style clothes and whiskers, he looks old, though. And he died young. I don't think Obama's going to try to appropriate the TR comparison; he's entirely satisfied with being the modern Jack/Bobby Kennedy.

The blue flowers are definitely Texas bluebonnets, probably photographed on a roadside somewhere near Austin. I don't think this was a reference to the 1964 LBJ "Daisies" commercial at all, which was a countdown. I think instead it was a striking blue-dominated image, picked to follow a striking red-dominated image (the little girl with the red cowboy hat in front of the flag). Secondarily, it's something that will make every proud, chauvinistic Texan (is there any other kind?) smile a small smile of recognition and appreciation.

The golden image that immediately follows (girl running through dawn-lit field) is a bang-on "Morning in America" memory cue, more subtle but more effective than having a picture or sound-bite from Reagan.

Blake said...

Actually, Teddy Roosevelt was featured prominently in the 2006 Christmas blockbuster Night at the Museum, played by Robin Williams.

(The L.A. County Museum of Natural History had the Williams-as-Roosevelt wax dummy for a while, which must have been disturbing for those unaware of the movie.)

I'd be surprised if TR didn't make an appearance in the sequel Escape from the Smithsonian.

Eh. Who am I to judge? I learned about the WWI flying ace Red Baron from Snoopy.

chickenlittle said...

Blake:
flashback time!

Blake said...

Ha! I've never heard or seen that before. Bit before my time....

MTfromCC said...

I think it's an interesting, but ultimately counterproductive, commercial. The historical footage is especially interesting, and the POW footage evokes sympathy, but I think it reinforces the fact that he is from a different (and past) era, and that he is an extremely hawkish person, likely to overreact militarily. In an election built on a desire for profound change and anti-war sentiment, it is not a winning message. And I think the shot at Michelle Obama is snarky. She said "first time I have been really proud", not "first time I have been proud" -- there's a difference, although I do not expect people who play politics out of the Atwater Rove playbook to admit it. And perhaps, just perhaps, her life experience and his are sufficiently different that the remark she made is actually understandable, except by the Americo-centric, for whom such nuance makes absolutely no difference.

Although at times inspiring in a History Channel sort of way, when all is said and done, it basically reinforces everything those of us who are uncomfortable with McCain don't like about him, although it may give the GOP faithful a patriotic woody.

civic literacy said...

funny thing is that you and some of the comments here seem to connect TR with conservatives.
taken any history classes?
TR was anything but! he was a leader in the Progressive movement, and an advocate for government intervention to protect people from corporate power.

the one thing TR, Churchill and McCain have in common is a fascination with warfare and empire building.
that says plenty.
certainly enough to remind me why McCain should never sit in the Oval Office.

and suggesting that Michelle and Barack Obama are children is an insult. a race baiting one at that.

Sofa King said...

Nice effort, but you can't out-psychadelicize Nixon.

JSN said...

Ann,

I took the Daisy bit the other way. It reminded me of Daisy, and I thought "McCain is the kind of guy who could easily be associated with a nuclear holocaust." I don't know what Thad Cochran has against McCain, but his recent words are in that mold.

Funny, all your commenters missed something. I read them all, just to see. Something important.

KennyJ said...

Is it just me or does this film try and convey that it is America that's being oppressed? You'd have to be completely mind-warped to be persuaded by this rubbish. There can be absolutely no comparisons made between defending against a Nazi invasion and the illegal war for oil that's currently going on in Iraq!! Continuing with the war and occupation will only propagate more violence and create more extremists!! Americans must vote for change.... for the sake of all of us!!

Ernest_Patterson said...

I love this ad! It gave me chills too... none of the other candidates try to move voters with patriotism and a love of country. It definitely does not make me regret changing parties so I could vote for him in my state's closed primary.

Val said...

I was watching CNN live when the first Twin Tower came down on 9/11. I turned off the TV, saying to my wife, "if democracy in America is still alive as it was in de Tocqueville's day, then President Bush will have to take out two Muslim countries should the second tower come down, if he expects to be re-elected President."

Symbolism is powerful. Democracy in America is alive and well as much as it was in 1776.

I did enjoy reading Ann's analysis of the symbolism.

The 2008 election will probably be more like the second coming of Barry Goldwater for Republicans if McCain continues to use ads like this one that have little appeal to younger voters.

browninhawaii said...

Although I am turning 50 on Friday, I don't recall the LBJ ad; I have only seen it recently on webs.
It is a visually striking ad: the movement, the purple flowers, children, and such.
Personally, I love the quotes and the anchoring to the past. Yes, that is how I feel about America. It sickens me that so many younger than me won't have a reference point for Churchill or the others. McCain's voice, however, does not measure up to Churchill or Roosevelt.
I had no doubt that McCain was speaking of never surrendering to the terrorists. Do I believe he will be strong on the border? No.
Where did the POW footage come from? This must be used sparingly.
Yes, I feel the "proud" statement is in direct contrast to Michelle Obama. Were research done, I feel certain McCain made his statement before she made hers.
I didn't notice the girl in the purple flowers was black until I looked again to confirm Ann's comments.
I like the ad very much, but I have so many misgivings about McCain's political past.
I have told my sons that I am resigned to this being a cycle of lesser presidents; McCain is not my first choice, but I expect less damage from him than the other remaining choices.

outback71 said...

I too caught the 'We'll never surrender...they will". I didn't know if it was referencing the terrorists or the Democrats. I think it would have been a lot more powerful to say We'll never surrender, our enemies will".

That would remove the partisan misinterpretation of what otherwise was a deeply captivating commercial.

Working Class Hero said...

Nice ad. Emotional. Hip. Cool. Yet, with a strong connection to the past. Deftly challenges Obama's goofy claim that the "old" way of doing things is irrelevant.

The extended (or alternative) version needs references to Reagan...and Lincoln...both great republicans that stuck to their guns and made tough choices for the greater good. Although I imagine there aren't many media clips of Lincoln at work :(

Keep up the well targeted creative. Fire for effect.

Laika's Last Woof said...

"I am sure that this will take care of the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan"
The Surge. Advantage: McCain

"the housing debacle"
Eliminate government fairness-in-lending rules which essentially force lenders to make bad loans. Allow free market to judge loan default risk. Advantage: Republicans

"the massive new ueemployment figures"
Curtail immigration. Advantage: Pat Buchanan? Ron Paul? (If you really think unemployment is a big issue right now.)

"inflation"
Cut spending. Advantage: McCain

"rise in gas prices"
Open Alaska and the continental shelves to more drilling, end environmental restrictions on Canadian oil imports. Advantage: Republicans.

"lack of health care"
For some to lack is preferable to the entire system being turned into a government-run train wreck in which all of us suffer. Advantage: Republicans.

If you're against McCain and the Republicans the issues you raised aren't doing you any favors.

Robert said...

Where did McCain get the cigarette he is smoking? That use to be thought of as accepting aid and comfort from the enemy. Is he receiving special treatment?