The Politics You’ll See As You Watch 100M Hurdles

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


I mentioned earlier that the presidential campaign will essentially go on a short hiatus, starting today and lasting for a week or so. Don’t think the lack of news will mean a stop to the TV ads, though, especially if you live in a battleground state.

Barack Obama has released his ad that will play during the Olympics. It’s here:

A new McCain ad that will also be showing in the next few days is here:

Now, try to forget for one second that McCain’s ad has a number of claims that numerous non-partisan outlets are calling substantively false or misleading. Instead, let’s look at the obvious difference in tone. Obama’s ad is positive, with smiling people and lots of light. Americans are hard at work, and the narrator suggests that our can-do spirit will ensure that we’ll be hard at work in the future even as the economy evolves. A bounty of new ideas, some only vaguely defined, paints Obama as a candidate with a new vision.

Consider the McCain ad. It’s negative from start to finish. The happy Americans in the ad, including a mother and her little girl, seem under threat from an ominous narrator and heavy shadowing. There are no new ideas. There is no new vision.

Now, I’ve stated here before I’m a believer that McCain will do his best when he emphasizes his own credentials as a reformer and maverick — in a recent ad he asserted that “Washington is broken,” which frames the election as a battle between two “change” candidates. That seems to obviously be a better situation for McCain than an election with just one “change” candidate.

So it’s no surprise that I don’t think McCain’s negative approach will be successful. Ceding the “new vision” ground to the other guy, when you are already associated with the party that drove the country into a ditch for eight years, seems like a bad plan. And repeatedly complaining that too many people like the other guy (“he’s so popular“) feels like a strategy we’ll be laughing about in 2009. But then, perhaps I am too innocent. I’ve underestimated the power of negative ads before.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate