September 21, 2010

A political candidate displays his bloody wound.

Is this the way to argue that you should be governor?



We were talking about this ad in the comments to last night's live blog of "Dancing With the Stars," a show I was watching (for the first time) to see how Bristol Palin would be presented. Here in Wisconsin, in between the spangled, befringed, high-heeled prancers, we got an eyeful of Tom Barrett's gaping wound. Irene wrote:
In the Madison market, we were treated to an ad for Tom Barrett's campaign.

He's using the horrific beating he suffered as the theme of the ad.

He has an attractive wife with short hair.

He has a labradoodle.
I said:
I've seen that ad before and think it's quite awful. So he did what a decent person would do and got hit in the face. For that, he should be governor? Aren't there 100 war heroes in Wisconsin with more serious injuries? Why is Barrett ahead of them? And what's with foisting a picture of a bloody wound in our faces over and over? And his wife saying over and over that he is a good guy? Aren't there 100,000 good guys in Wisconsin whose wives will vouch for them on camera? What nonsense!

58 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

So if you get a leg or two chopped off, does that mean you should be President?

Peter

Original Mike said...

It was inevitable that somebody on his campaign thought this was a good idea. It will get him some votes.

MadisonMan said...

It's an awful ad.

You have to wonder about Political Consultants -- I mean, I assume the Barrett campaign ran this by someone to see if it was okay.

1jpb said...

That may be one of those dogs like BHO has (Portuguese something or other).

My sister has a pair of Australian Labradoodles, and that dog doesn't fit the mold. Maybe the non-Australian dogs look like that.

BTW, is it absurd to pay a base 2500 plus extra for pre-training for a mutt puppy? Seems odd to me.

Re the ad: this doesn't seem as lame as I assumed it was after reading the comments yesterday. The guy does seems to have made the right call and now he's milking it, so what?

HDHouse said...

Does this qualify for the "if there is a will there is a way" award?

As to the 100,000 guys with stand up wives...probably of course. Are there 100,000 with better taste than to participate in this advertisement? certainly.

This is ad agency work and there are focus groups behind it or it wouldn't be in the view. That alone is scary...that it tested well enough to run.

James said...

Barrett is a lame (literally and figuratively) and reluctant candidate. He had to be personally persuaded to run by Obama.

The only two things he has was that he got in the way of a tire iron and exploiting the unfortunate accident that killed the teenaged boy at O'Donnell Park.

He certainly doesn't have a record of any sort to run on.

Bob Ellison said...

When the phone rings at 3:00 AM, he will bleed on it.

k*thy said...

Granted it's an odd ad for a political campaign, but, in truth, he didn't just "get hit in the face." He almost got killed with a tire iron to the head and hands, defending a complete stranger. I think there is something in that that's important as a character reference, though I'm not sure the ad works as well as it could.

shoutingthomas said...

There's a little more to this than you've stated.

The guy is trying to capitalize on the domestic violence hysteria.

Rescuing the damsel in distress is a powerful political message. It simultaneously appeals to feminist hysteria and and traditional concepts of male honor and chivalry.

Feminists have been calling on the damsel in distress thing for decades. Men respond, believing that their motive is political, when it is in fact chivalrous.

The damsel in distress thing provoked the passage of VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act), a thoroughly deplorable legislative act designed to provide jobs for feminist women who hate marriage and traditional marriage and family.

These tactics are effective. Why not use them?

MadisonMan said...

I do like all the redheads in his family, however. Wisconsin needs more ginger.

AllenS said...

Thank God that there are still men like Barrett, who will risk injury to protect the ones in society unable to protect themselves.

MadisonMan said...

Foisting a picture of the bloody wound in our faces over and over

Well, it's shown once, briefly. Is that too often? It doesn't seem like over and over to me, unless you actually don't change channels when a political ad comes on.

phx said...

You know, after listening to one attack ad (not this kind) after another, this doesn't offend me as much. I like people who have character, and I think the last line about standing up for family and Wisconsin was effective.

I didn't know anything about this person before, now I'm inclined to think favorably about him. And I like that better than if his ad told me what a criminal his opponent was and why I should think unfavorably about him.

AJ Lynch said...

I like the ad and attaboy to Barrett for getting in the middle of that and defending a weaker person.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I mean... This is really the only thing he has to run on.

Here you have a candidate that does not come across as especially bright or well spoken. Absolutely no charisma. No ideas or real successes as mayor. What's a guy to do?

traditionalguy said...

But Barrett doesn't have to beat out thousands of other good guys with wounds...all he has to do is beat one opponent that has no purple heart.

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

Barrett can be a poster boy for open carry laws. If he had had his piece, there would have been peace.

James said...

Thankfully most of you guys don't have a vote in Wisconsin.

FloridaSteve said...

Sorry but I don't have any problem with this. He needs to follow this up with a lot more reasons to vote for him than this but it's a good start. It says something very good about the foundation of his character. It's a characteristic most of the general public would NOT attribute to "most" politicians.

Pastafarian said...

As much as it pains me to defend a Democrat...I don't see anything wrong with this ad.

Is it the way to argue that you should be governor? Well, it does present evidence of character and courage. All candidates include trifles in their ads to give the voter the impression that they're decent people. This guy just has some more substantial evidence than most.

And I don't see why he must be modest and stoic and never speak of this incident. He's not Spiderman, for fuck's sake.

I can't agree with even one of your criticisms. You said he did only what any decent person would do. Really? Have you heard of cases of rapes and murders occurring where dozens of neighbors could hear the screams and never came to help?

Would you take a tire iron in the face to defend someone? Maybe you would; but that puts you in the top 2% of human beings.

And I doubt that this is his only argument that he should be governor; just the only one presented in this ad. I really doubt that his campaign slogan is "Vote Barrett because he got the shit beaten out of him." He probably has other qualifications and policy positions that other people who have been injured don't have.

And as others have pointed out, the wound appears for only a couple of seconds, only once.

edutcher said...

Ann notes, "Aren't there 100 war heroes in Wisconsin with more serious injuries?". We make the assumption courage is an indicator of other worthy virtues. Most of the time it is.

Ann Althouse said...

And what's with foisting a picture of a bloody wound in our faces over and over?

Look what a bloody shirt, not even his, did for Jesse Jackson.

phx said...

Pastafarian is completely in synch with my view. That renews my optimism in the world.

Irene said...

For the record, I also thought it was a horrible ad.

A politician "treating us" to an ad is not a good thing.

sonicfrog said...

It's Just A Flesh Wound!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I like that better than if his ad told me what a criminal his opponent was and why I should think unfavorably about him.

Barrett doesn't need to do this. He already has his proxies doing it for him.

Richard Dolan said...

Like Pastafarian I don't see what's the problem with this ad. It's hard to see how it would make someone leaning towards Barrett to vote against him -- so no real downside. All it says is that the mayor tried to help some woman and got whacked with a tire iron by the thug for his efforts. That should be worth a few points with the 'can't stand a wimp' voters -- so some potential on the upside. In NY, a woman on LI got elected as a Dem to Congress because her husband was shot on the LIRR, and she used that incident to became a hero of the anti-gun crusade. At least this guy was a bit closer to the mayhem.

The target audience for this ad is undoubtedly women. I suspect that Ann's reaction is atypical.

former law student said...

I like this ad's integrity.

The ad is about the candidate, not his opponent.
The candidate cannot praise himself, so his wife does it for him.
His wife seems to be telling the unembellished truth.
We simply see the results of the act of common decency the candidate performed.

Oligonicella said...

shoutingthomas --

"The guy is trying to capitalize on the domestic violence hysteria."

Yeah. "I'll get some mileage out of this." As he steps into a crowbar beating.

ricpic said...

Putting himself in harms way to protect a stranger was admirable, but then to, in effect, brag about it? Made me wince.

William said...

I'm with Pastafarian. We, at the very least, know that this man's instincts are honorable and brave. I give the guy a lot of credit.

phx said...

Putting himself in harms way to protect a stranger was admirable, but then to, in effect, brag about it? Made me wince.

I see what you mean, but political candidates, like job candidates, get a pass from me on that bragging thing.

AprilApple said...

If democrats talk about what they really want to do, nobody would vote for them.

shoutingthomas said...

Yeah. "I'll get some mileage out of this." As he steps into a crowbar beating.

I didn't suggest that he decided to use the issue before the incident.

You did.

It's a good thing he stepped in.

garage mahal said...

Surprised Althouse missed the voter caging brouhaha involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity, and various Tea Party groups.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ah bless. The whole family walks the dog together.

Srsly tho, his face did look bad there.

But speaking of pummeling ...

This is my favorite viral pummeling video. The first comment put me in stitches.

Second favorite viral pummeling video. 67 year old vet pummels poser. NSFW (language) Apparently both are crazy. Comments degrade to racism.

garage mahal said...

That was awesome Chip, especially the first clip. He connected on every damn swing.

Calypso Facto said...

OMG garage! Those evil Republicans were going to look for evidence of fraudulent voting and then turn the investigation over to the responsible authority?!? What a scandal!

And about this post, I'd say I respect Barrett for his intervention, but do think it denigrates the honor of the act to then trot it out as political fodder. Barrett's obviously figuring to cover both the high and low roads by using this ad in conjunction with getting the SEIU coordinating with the media to smear Walker...

Calypso Facto said...

Re: Chip/garage n pummeling: that first video IS quite a display of fist fighting talent. Dude rocked his two opponents (but apparently not enough firepower to keep them down).

ndspinelli said...

Chris Rock does a great bit holding his "brothers" accountable. Chris rants, "I'm tired of dudes braggging...Hey man, I take care of my kids..I buy clothes for my kids." Rock pauses, gives that patented look, and says, "You take care of your kids, you buy clothees for your kids..THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO MOTHERFUCKER!"

Well Mayor Barrett, don't break your arm congratulating yourself on what you're supposed to do.

T J Sawyer said...

It's a nice ad. It was just run out of its usual time slot.

It's obviously designed to run during the 10:00p.m. news. For anyone left that watches those shows, all they show anymore is the occasional local beating or cat-snuffing. This fits right into the viewer's expectations.

froggyprager said...

Pastafarian- your comments are right on and made me laugh out loud. I think the ad is ok but I could do without the bloody face shot.

Most many candidates who were combat vets do at some point mention their service and if they were injured. That is ok and does show something about the person. He also has a longer ad about economic development that speaks more clearly about his real accomplishments compared to Walker which you should watch.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Teddy Roosevelt was shot on the way to a speech, spoke anyway:

Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he wasn't coughing blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.[68] He spoke for 90 minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

I guess I think it's a little tacky to turn Barrett's heroism into a campaign ad, or anyone else's for that matter. In Teddy Roosevelt's case he had LITERALLY just been shot, and showed up to the speech anyway, which is another order of manliness altogether.

former law student said...

Mayor Barrett, don't break your arm congratulating yourself on what you're supposed to do.

Supposed to do? We have a duty to intervene when one stranger beats up another? We never covered that in torts.

How often have posters here intervened at the risk of their own physical injury? I suspect a lot of people have failed to do what they're "supposed to do."

Synova said...

"He almost got killed with a tire iron to the head and hands, defending a complete stranger. I think there is something in that that's important as a character reference, though I'm not sure the ad works as well as it could."

I watched it without sound. The picture wasn't that awful, really, not when people are used to television gore. Without sound the ad is a whole bunch of news footage of crime. The pictures, the visuals, are negative rather than heroic.

I think that putting yourself at risk for another person is something important to know and as such things go probably more legitimate a point to highlight than some others, but I agree that the ad itself probably is not going to work as well as people hoped.

AJ Lynch said...

Chip:

Those are good clips.

I saw the Old Bear on a TV show made after this incident. He's a former Marine I think and has done some martial arts as well.

He's about 6'5".

Oligonicella said...

shoutingthomas --

"It's a good thing he stepped in."

Then, there's nothing wrong with alluding or even being proud of one's actions, eh?

LL said...

MadisonMan,

But gingers have no souls.

traditionalguy said...

In my experience there are actually many aggressive guardian personality types who will quickly jump into a deadly situation, although most personality types will not. Be thankful if you have one around, even if they sometimes look funny at you while quietly sizing up situations and people. You can recognize them by scars on their faces and their disfigured noses. IMO Barrett is one of those a good guys.

shoutingthomas said...

Then, there's nothing wrong with alluding or even being proud of one's actions, eh?

My original post makes no statement about this either way, so what's bugging you?

You'll notice, if you are capable of reading that, after I suggested that the candidate was appealing to the domestic violence hysteria, i concluded my remarks by writing:

These tactics are effective. Why not use them?

Ring any bells?

Revenant said...

Supposed to do? We have a duty to intervene when one stranger beats up another? We never covered that in torts.

It is covered in Basic Manhood 101.

roesch-voltaire said...

I agree this is over the top, but I doubt that there are 100,000 men or women in Wisconsin or anywhere else that would respond this way. The fact that Barrett has the courage and decency to do says something about his character that should be a factor in the election. Allens gets it!

Pogo said...

The common decency to intervene is as rare as 'common sense'.

Best cut the discussion short, though, lest Cedarford is tempted to launch into his patented tirade about folks called "heroes".

Pogo said...

I don't watch political ads, so I don't care.

Revenant said...

I agree this is over the top, but I doubt that there are 100,000 men or women in Wisconsin or anywhere else that would respond this way.

Barrett saw Peters yelling at a woman. He attempted to calm Peters, then took out a phone to call 911. Peters then attacked him, and Barrett defended himself (unsuccessfully, since Peters was armed).

In your opinion, 98% of the people in Wisconsin wouldn't do that much? I'm pretty cynical myself, but come on.

veni vidi vici said...

Is he still in traction or something? Why wasn't he in the goddam commercial?

Also, what's with the wife's unsmiling visage? Can't muster a smile to invite people to vote for your hubby?

I love the cop with the Germanized "Youngblood" surname. Otherwise, lamerz to them all.

veni vidi vici said...

I didn't have the sound on when I saw it either. Without blather, the visuals don't deliver anything, much less close a sale on a candidate.

In fact, without sound the visuals look like a news report about a dead candidate, replete with a photo of his banged up head and his stern wife apparently yammering his eulogy.

Ineffective. Do I care about his heroics? Not really, although they are admirable.


"I suspect a lot of people have failed to do what they're "supposed to do.""

This does not change the fact that they were "supposed to do" it, though.

Thorley Winston said...

I watched the ad with the sound off and came away with the impression that this was the candidate’s widow talking about how here husband was killed while heroically trying to stop an assault on someone.


I agree that while his heroism is admirable (and it might make me prefer him to another candidate if all other things were equal which they never are) and if I were religious, I’d pray for him and his family, but also as a voter I would have serious concerns about whether his injuries are so severe that he wouldn’t be able to effectively serve as governor.