Monday, October 25, 2010

California: The Eternal Recurrence

Everyone knows that California is going down the tubes in large part because its governing class has performed miserably. So you might think that Meg Whitman would be just what the doctor ordered, someone from the business world who could extricate the state from the death-grip of career politicians. By the same token, Jerry Brown, the oldest of political old boys, is the last guy you’d expect to rectify a generation of political malpractice.

The point of this Brown ad is to remind Californians that they've already tried turning the page by recalling Gray Davis and electing Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who has the stomach to go through that again?

Knowing that he could never convince Californians that no one as old (in politician years) as he is could ever be new again, Brown’s arguing that anyone who looks new is really old anyway. So it’s time for Californians to turn the page on turning the page by electing the guy who was governor before it ever occurred to their parents to think about turning the page.

I'd say a little prayer for my not being a Californian if I didn't live in New York.


Mean Voter said...

I'm guessing that the similarities between Meg Whitman's ads and Ahhhhnold's ads are not coincidences. So she must be positioning herself to appeal to the same voters who voted for him. It's funny that Jerry Brown thinks that this ad will hurt her and help him. Oh well, California is a strange strange land. Way stranger than New York.

Anonymous said...

People elected Arnold because they were tired of Davis, a politician in the tradition of Jerry Brown. Brown's arguing that, since no one can turn the state around, you might as well vote for me because it's my side's turn to preside over the disaster we call state government. That's the strangest closing argument I ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Brown's campaign slogan during the last week:

It's our time to suck!

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding all the snark, Brown's ad has been devastatingly effective: the fantasy of the businessman-leader being able to circumvent the painful choices before the voters has been eliminated.

Brown's actual closing argument is: I've done it before, I was effective then, and I'm too old to have any further electoral ambitions. To me, that's as strong an argument as you're likely to find this campaign season.

Ron Replogle said...

Anon. 1:50:

The polls I'm seeing suggest you're right.

Dave said...

Now I'm really curious: I wonder if it would be really easy to create an ad like this one for virtually any pair of political candidates. (For instance, I read an article yesterday comparing Rubio's latest ad to some similar quotes from Dukakis's presidential run.)

With volumes and volumes of video on every candidate, and with politicians' tendency to reuse soundbites (especially if they're in the same party), it may be that this "copycat" claim is so easy to create that it's essentially meaningless.

If only I had a bunch of interns to sift through hundreds of hours of videotapes, I could actually test this hypothesis.