"Dishonest smears that he repeats, even after it's been exposed as a lie. Truth be damned. A disgraceful, dishonorable campaign... It seems deception is all he has left."
That's the voiceover on this new Obama ad:
A list of thoughts:
1. Are viewers expected to get the references? I wasn't sure what the "sleaziest ads ever," the "smears," and the "lie" refer to, and I've been following the campaigning very closely and posting and analyzing ads.
2. It seems likely that the viewer is just supposed to accept the assertion that there have been sleaziest ads, smears, and a lie, mainly because the names of newspapers appear on screen next to quotes.
3. I think quite a few voters, like me, will feel very skeptical about generic assertions and quotes taken out of context. We American voters are competent ad watchers, and I don't think this will work on us.
4. This ad screams its negativity. The ominous music. The string of very ugly words: sleaziest... vile ... dishonest smears ... lie ... damned ... disgraceful ... dishonorable ... deception. And yet the ad seeks to inspire outrage about McCain's negativity. But we're not watching McCain's ads. The example of sleaziness is the one before our eyes now.
5. The ad has a title: "Honor." And the voiceover at one point says "dishonorable." Honor is a key McCain theme, one that reminds us of McCain's military service. Does Obama -- who tells us he once considered joining the military -- think he can rip away McCain's honor by quoting the Washington Post? McCain has nothing left but deception? Why would we be ready to accept that message? This ad puts a lot of stock in the viewer's reverence for mainstream media, but don't most Americans think the media are trying to help Obama?
6. The McCain ads I can call to mind are disarmingly funny. This Obama ad is completely devoid of humor or charm. It's got a cheap "nutroots" feeling to it.
7. "Dishonest smears that he repeats, even after it's been exposed as a lie." "Smears" is plural. What's the antecedent for "it's"? I thought Obama's campaign was largely built on his brilliant speaking ability. You've got to write the adscript in solid English -- especially when you're talking about deception and tearing quotes out of context. Otherwise, you are the one we will be suspicious of.
8. I hate lies, but I also hate the overuse of the word "lie." Don't say lie if you just mean exaggeration or saying one thing and leaving out something else. Now, what exactly was the lie? And speaking of saying one thing and leaving out something else, Obama left out what the supposed lies and smears are. Using "lie" the way this ad uses lie, is this ad a lie?
9. Obama got the message that he needs to attack McCain and not Palin.
10. This ad strikes me as a big whine: Hey, no fair. Your ads work better than mine. Quit it. Or I'm telling.