Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Coming Attractions

I've never been one to get worked up over the influence of money in the political process as long as it's invested in the dissemination of political speech  (see, e.g., here).  As far as I'm concerned, funding speech is the least objectionable way for fat cats to exert political  influence inasmuch as the influence is being exerted through the consciousness and will of voters.  Generally speaking, persuading voters that this candidate is, and that candidate isn't, worthy of election isn't a way of exercising power over them.  Indeed, insofar as attempts at persuasion convey information relevant to a voter's decision (and rebut disinformation clouding his judgment), they make the vote he ends up casting a more faithful expression of his real interests and ideals.  As long as special interests are going to be buying political influence anyway, better they do it that way than buy bribing public officials or lobbying them behind closed doors.

Yet there's no denying the effect that the SuperPac money now flooding into the presidential politics is having on the production values associated with mainstream political messaging.  Have you noticed how much most every political spot you see nowadays (at least from a candidate other than Herman Cain) looks like the coming attractions for a summer blockbuster?  I've already commented on that fact in connection with spots promoting the presidential candidacies of Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry.  But if you think it's just a Republican thing, take a look at this pro-Obama, anti-Romney spot financed by something called prioritiesUSAaction:

Give me a moment to catch my breath.  I'll leave it to you to decide whether blurring the line between electioneering and popular cinema is really a good way of engaging voters' deliberative faculties.  (No one ever said summer blockbusters make us smarter.)  But you'd have a hard time denying its entertainment value.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem with the ad is that it is defensive in the 'if you think I'm kinda blah, check out my opponent' sense. Importantly, it actually obscures his flat-footed flip-flopping by mixing liberal policies that went awry in Massachusetts with a list of right-wing policies some swing voters might like.

Quoting "There are a lot of reasons not to vote for me (or elect me)" is a cheap shot -- something -- if Romney is truly as bad as the rest of the ad suggests should already be plain.

The economy is bad and many people have tried and failed to start small & medium sized businesses recently, thus his mere failure might better be downplayed and replaced with the idea that while he had the capital & and many things already going for him, his failures can be pinned to a lack of innovation, savvy, and imagination – qualities he claims in spades and sells as a salient difference between himself and Obama.

Romney is slick and poised; his acumen at a key political skill – appearing to be all things to all people – is impressive. One hopeful subtext of the ad is the idea it would be a serious mistake to underestimate him. >> Ben Currie

PS: On the money issue libs & lefts often decry big money when it comes from the Koch brothers, but stand less amazed by its un-democratic pressures when it comes from George Soros. Here's my test: a winning lottery ticket floats on a liberal breeze through the open window of my apartment. I go collect my tax-free $87 million. I create a fund to protect myself, family, and closest friends from financial ruin. Now I wonder should it really be against the law for me to hand over $30 million to say Bernie Sanders so he can get on the ballot in all the states +DC and thus be free to run scathing and educational ads against the GOP and their nominee?