If any ad can impress me, it’s impressive; I am a hard target.
This guy’s another minister, and normally I don’t like ministers in politics because I see them as professional liars. This case is a bit different: he’s running for Governor of Arkansas, which means he is running against Sarah Huckabee Sanders. So we have someone who is a long-term, established, professional liar, and the new challenger is … Wow. This is a really good ad.
I’m a tough, cynical old bastard. I’m so tough I’m even skeptical about the F-35 program. But this ad actually made me cry. Seriously.
What a beautiful ad. What a beautiful family. What beautiful smiles. And check out his lady-partner, holy shit who would not want someone like her to cover their left-hand fire arc, or spot for them? Or sew you up afterward. I know it’s somewhat of an act, but – damn – that’s a loving family if I ever saw one. And he’s going up against Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To be fair, Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ qualifications are: nepotism. Her dad, who is how she entered the public sphere, is a former minister and bass player. So that qualifies her like all kinda stuff.
Meanwhile, Dr Jones’ qualifications: a physicist, an ordained minister. He makes the point that his family has been farming in Arkansas for seven generations. (And that farming was not nice) I’m not sure about the Huckabee Sanders clan, but: NASA scholarship to Morehouse. PhD in physics and math, then on to MIT for a doctorate in nuclear engineering and urban planning. I’m not easily impressed, but – dang. His wife, that beautiful lady with the gorgeous smile, is an Air Force veteran – A-10 pilot (OK, so she’s a soldier of the empire) and an ER Doctor. These are not lightweight people who got their jobs because of their fathers’ names.
In a non-fucked world, a candidate like Dr Jones would crush a nobody like Huckabee-Sanders. There’s only one thing that might affect that, and that one thing is shame upon Arkansas.
Chris Jones for Governor!
John Morales says
Too goddy for me.
Some Old Programmer says
Arkansas likes their politicians goddy.
Rob Grigjanis says
John @1: So if you could vote in Arkansas, you would abstain? That’s sticking to your principles!
John Morales says
No. Whatever made you imagine that I would?
(Lesser of two evils, that’s me)
Rob Grigjanis says
Funny, the sentence “X is too Y for me” is generally understood to mean “I won’t be doing X”.
John Morales says
Some Old Programmer, evidently.
Rob, my parenthetical addendum should have clarified matters for you.
I’d still vote for the least-objectionable candidate rather than not having any influence on the result at all.
(Arguing is too enjoyable for me for me to stop doing it)
He might be too goddy for John Morales, but he seems to be exactly goddy enough to appeal to a population that is tradionally religious.
I’m ok with a Minister who uses his stole as a visual aid to explain relativity. What a great ad, I hope he wins.
Let’s all send the guy a campaign contribution. For real.
Andreas Avester says
I am not impressed. In fact, I consider this advertisement terrible.
Of course, I would still vote for this guy (lesser of two evils), and I consider almost all political advertisements terrible (with very few exceptions), and this particular advertisement actually happens to be slightly less terrible than most I have seen.
0:11 — Candidate announces his religious belief. Sorry, but having some specific religious beliefs doesn’t make you more qualified for an office. I prefer it when political candidates keep their religious beliefs private. Faith is better kept as something personal and not brandished for the sake of showing off.
Incidentally, in Latvian political advertisements, pretty much nobody mentions their religious affiliation. Firstly, voters don’t seem to think that one specific religion can make a candidate more qualified. Secondly, if a candidate were to brag about how they are, for example, Catholic, they would decrease their likeability among all the Protestants, Russian Orthodox believers, atheists, Jews, etc.
1:38 — Candidate talks about his wife and children. Again, being in a heterosexual marriage doesn’t make somebody more qualified to be a politician compared to somebody who, for example, is gay and single or into open relationships. Similarly, being a parent doesn’t make somebody more qualified either.
A political candidates’ family status is irrelevant for me as a voter. I don’t want to know. In fact, in most job interviews and offices it would be seen as unprofessional if somebody were to drag their kids along and order said kids to smile in front of the camera. Just let your kids have a normal childhood, don’t drag them to your work (politics is work for politicians).
By the way, most Latvian politicians choose to keep their spouses and children away from cameras. I don’t know anything about the families of pretty much all our politicians. And I also don’t want to know. Other people’s marriages and family statuses are none of my business.
2:09 — Finally, after all this time, candidate starts talking about something that is actually relevant. “Improving educational opportunities, enhancing infrastructure, tools to build businesses and healthy families.” That’s it. There is very little information about what exactly he wants to do. Concrete plans, please. Especially “tools to build businesses and healthy families” is ridiculously vague and could mean literally anything. How do I know whether I like his ideas for how to make families more “healthy” if I have zero clue about how he defines said terms and what exactly he wants to do.
In addition, while talking about his ancestors, this politician implied that he opposes systemic racism. Again, that’s nice. But I want concrete ideas and specific plans.
The bulk of this advertisement was irrelevant filler information. What I want to know from political candidates:
1. Their plans. What they want to do. For example, “implement state-funded healthcare” or “provide access to university education for young people from poor families,” “legalizing gay marriage.” Give me clear ideas and plans how you intend to realize them.
2. Their overall attitudes. For example, “social justice” or “opposing racism and homophobia” or “gender equality.”
In addition, if a candidate mentions their education, that’s somewhat relevant, but I don’t see this information as absolutely necessary for me to decide whether I want to vote for this person.
I don’t want to hear vague nonsense about how their family has been hardworking for generations and how their parents taught them work ethics. I don’t want to hear vague crap about, for example “tools to build… healthy families.” State your exact ideas. Free healthcare for kids? Free university? Environment in which kids of color aren’t subject to systemic racism? Or maybe somebody images that “healthy families” means “Christian straight married parents who spank their kids, enforce strict gender norms upon them, and abandon them for turning out trans or gay.” How do I know if a politician doesn’t elaborate?
Seriously? If those women and girls didn’t have beautiful bodies and beautiful smiles, would they be less valuable? If no, then why are you emphasizing the fact that they are, indeed, beautiful?
Hmm. So having a loving family makes a politician more qualified to run for office?
Also, how do you know? I know of countless families that managed to hide secrets about domestic abuse while smiling for the outsiders (or in front of the camera). Firstly, whether a politician has a loving family is irrelevant for us as voters. Secondly, we don’t know a thing about their family from a 2 minute video.
A physicist is indeed a qualification. An ordained minister is irrelevant at best and possibly also problematic.
Also, why should it be relevant how some politician’s distant ancestors lived? What if it turned out, for example, that my grandfather spent decades in jail for a bloody murder? Would that be a justification to discriminate against me? I don’t think so, because I have no influence over my ancestors’ actions and life choices. Similarly, if my grandfather had been an amazing and hardworking person, that also wouldn’t be a justification to treat me favorably.
In this case, we might argue that the abuses this politician’s ancestors suffered might be an example that illustrates the need for affirmative action and programs that help impoverished people of color, but other than that, it is irrelevant where and how some politician’s ancestors lived. Also, the fact that some family lived in some geographical location for 7 generations does not make a politician more qualified. A politician who is an immigrant could be just as qualified.
I can agree with your opinion that this woman, indeed, happens to have a beautiful body and a gorgeous smile, but do people really have to always evaluate women based on the appearance of their bodies? Why this need to constantly emphasize and talk about some woman’s appearance?
Reginald Selkirk says
Lies! He talks about 1819, and shows photographs from a much later time.
Marcus Ranum says
He talks about 1819, and shows photographs from a much later time.
Photography was barely mainstream by 1850. Daguerre was just getting interested in the process around 1820.
I suspect you’re being silly, but I was not 100% sure, so…
Andreas, you’re not wrong but the whole point of the ad is likely just to make people aware that [candidate] exists. I recently read pretty much the same discussion about a campagin poster: It’s just [no-name political candidate] outside making barbacue. Political content? Zip, but it’s the probably the first time most voters will hear about this person. So it’s just a seasonally themed name plate. Six months from now the picture would be with a christmas tree and clichêd wooly jumpers no one ever wears.
Since this example is a video ad, instead of the all-[nationality] [pass-time] picture, we’re treated to the local vernacular of wholesome buzzwords, in this case, jobs, god, family, jobs and the here no doubt crucial emphasis that [candidate] is very American indeed, and not at all foreign, immigranty or anything like that. Of course different countries have slightly different dictionaries and I’m not surprised that Lithuania’s word list may be a bit light on gods. I bet its crammed with “job” synonyms though, same as everywhere else.
With these things, an agenda or plan isn’t helpful. Arguably, it’s never too useful to try and race through your Political Vision (TM) in two minutes flat and hope people get the right message. Soundbyte politics are a great way to ensure universal disappointment, not that that ever stopped anyone. Besides, in two-party US I wonder if there’d be any point at all to naming policies. Most ads could probably stick to a simple on-screen message, “[Name], I’m the [party] candidate. Vote [party!]” and have by and large the same effect. Policies? Bah, at least they’re not [other party].
At any rate, I don’t think much of this ad myself, but I suppose it’s better than those one-liner ads US politicians seem to be fond of. You know, “Drain the swamp” or, much worse, gun-waving, some horrifying gun-related pun referencing some political issue* and a target being shot in a haphazard and generally unsafe manner. Oh, and attack-ads, of course. I guess that’s what you get when the politicians also realise there’s no point in advertising their policies.
*c.f. “thinly veiled threat” and possibly “stochastic terrorism”
Reginald Selkirk says
Yes I am being silly, but also correct. The video, starting at 0:34 shows a couple photographs labeled “Ouchita County, Arkansas, 1819”
Andreas Avester says
“I exist. My values are social justice and secularism. I want schools devoid of racial segregation with free lunches for children and textbooks free of pseudoscience. I propose state-funded healthcare and university education. I believe that women should have equal job opportunities and trans people should be able to live as their true selves.”
“I exist. I have a wife and three daughters. My ancestors have lived in this place for many generations. Being hardworking is among our family values. I see no conflict between science and religion. I propose improving educational opportunities, enhancing infrastructure, and providing tools to build businesses and healthy families.”
One of these introductions gives me a lot more useful information than the other. Both require roughly the same amount of seconds to say. One clearly states what the candidate wants (even if they don’t have enough time to elaborate their exact plans how to achieve all those goals that have been packed into this wishlist).
The other is intentionally ambiguous. When a candidate states that they see no conflict between science and religion, every voter is free to interpret these words to mean whatever they want to hear. One will assume this means the candidate endorses creationism and Bible study in schools. Another will assume the candidate sees the Bible as a collection of metaphors and doesn’t take everything in it literally and wants science-based education. Or “healthy families.” Again, that’s intentionally ambiguous phrasing. One voter will think about free healthcare and universities for kids. Another voter will think about conservative family values like heterosexual marriage and spanking of children.
There are several disgusting politicians’ behaviours during their election campaigns:
1. “Vote for me, because I am a good person. Look at me, I am fucking only one woman with whom I am legally married. I even fiddle with my daughter’s hair in front of video cameras. I am a good parent and husband, believe me. My political opinions? You don’t need to think about those. I am a good person, you can trust me, I will decide in your place what our city needs.”
2. “You really want to know my political opinions? Let’s make our city great, let’s make it a place where people want to live. Is that a good slogan? It should be sufficiently vague and ambiguous so that you are free to imagine whatever you want. Regardless of whether you are a transphobe who wants a city in which trans people are marginalized and erased or whether you are a trans person who wants your local clinic to provide you hormones, you are welcome to interpret my words to mean whatever you wanted to hear.”
Yes, and my first impression about this candidate is terrible. He showed that he is a sleazy politician who intentionally phrases his political opinions as vaguely as possible, and wants to appeal to everybody and nobody in particular.
In addition, he also demonstrated that his political advertisements are meant to be manipulative, meant to intentionally mislead voters, play with their emotions by utilizing value-laden buzzwords.
Fair enough. But this candidate succeeded with stating almost nothing in more than two minutes. He only implied that he opposes racism and stated nothing else about his positions about various political topics.
True, politicians and parties suck.
True. I have seen worse political advertisements.
Andreas, the ambiguity is a feature not a bug, in order to win he has to appeal to as many people as possible. Electoral politics is an area where pragmatism wins over idealism.
Andreas Avester says
Yes, I know. And I hate politicians.
By the way, when you have dozens of political parties, ambiguity is no longer mandatory (it is still extremely common, though). A party can, for example, get 15% of votes by constantly talking about social justice, gender equality, and gay rights. That would be enough to get into the parliament and coalition government.
Some parties even have names that indicate their overall attitudes (examples: “New Conservative Party,” “The Progressives,” “The National Alliance,” “Latvian Russian Union,” “Latvian Social Democratic Workers’ Party”). You should be able to get a rough idea what each of these parties propose merely from glancing at their names.
In each election I can choose between dozens of parties. In general, the more ambiguous the advertisements, the higher the likelihood that this is simply some oligarch’s party whose only goal is to enrich the oligarch who is the leader of said party. Thus I typically vote for parties with less ambiguous messages who are actually willing to clearly name at least some concrete political stances.
Reginald Selkirk says
Here Are The Oldest Photos Ever Taken In Arkansas And They’re Incredible
He has no chance. He is black.
Andreas: Most voters are not as…rational…as you are. These ads are not targeting voters like you. But I liked your missive above, nonetheless!
Andreas Avester says
Yeah. I have noticed. The kind of advertisements that would appeal to me (informative, fact-based) do not appeal to majority of other people.
Thus, before each election, I check party programs online and make decisions accordingly. People who actually bother to read party programs aren’t the target audience of political ads anyway.
It’s just that when advertisements attempt to manipulate my emotions (as Marcus stated, this ad actually made him cry), I instead become annoyed. I am fine if ads attempt to convince me with rational arguments and facts, but don’t you dare trying to mess with my emotions and being manipulative.
But it seems like other people actually like manipulative ads that make them cry. Oh well.