Is This the Best Political Ad of the Season?

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A great campaign ad reminds us that elected officials actually do help their constituents.

Anyone living in a battleground state this election season knows how relentless the campaign advertisements have been: in the mail, on the radio, and certainly on television, where one nasty spot often follows another, no matter what show you happen to be watching. In part, we have the Citizens United ruling to thank for that -- the U.S. Supreme Court's First Amendment ruling from 2010 has made it much easier for money to flow into these ad campaigns, and far harder for anyone to do anything to stop it.

But every once in a while, amid the lies and the drama, you come across a political ad that is transcendent; not because it makes some great point, or savages an opponent, or evokes an angry response from the viewer. Sometimes, you see an ad that simply, and eloquently, captures one of the ways that elected officials do help their constituents, directly, on both a human and an official level, in a manner that neither the constituent nor the official are ever likely to forget.

I'm not here to endorse Ed Perlmutter in Colorado's 7th District. I'm here simply to praise his ad as welcome relief from the rest. It's a timely reminder that politics isn't all about the filibuster, or the angry speech on Capitol Hill, or fundraising dinners, or the slick appearance on the cable show. I don't know if the folks in this ad are going to vote for Perlmutter or not, but that's almost besides the point. These Republicans came to their Democratic representative seeking help and they got it. On a day when we celebrate the 216th anniversary of George Washington's Farewell Address, in which he decried partisan political bickering, it's truly a comforting story.

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Andrew Cohen is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is a legal analyst for 60 Minutes and CBS Radio News, and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.

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