by Conor Friedersdorf
In a prior post, I wrote:
I’d suggest that folks who use this silly knife and bazooka analogy reflect on the politicians who are elected in the United States. Check out our presidents and senators. You won’t find a lot of people who take the bazooka approach to public discourse. Angry, self-righteous bile spewing isn’t actually effective.
A writer at Balloon Juice replies:
What would you call the Willie Horton ads, what would you call the Swiftboat ads, what would you call the “Daisy” ads? I get that in each case, the presidential candidate didn’t get tough with anybody, Mr. Gittes, his ad men did, but that’s a meaningless distinction, especially since young Conor is arguing against the political value of Keith Olbermann here.
Here's a short clip that includes the Willie Horton and Revolving Door ads. Its critics object that it subtly played on the racism and racial anxiety of Americans its tone isn't self-righteous or bile-filled, however contemptible it is.
The Daisy Ad is here. Again, you don't see a candidate persuading voters by being angry and vitriolic. What you have is someone playing on the fears that his opponent is going to start a nuclear war. That's why, instead of Lyndon Johnson facing the camera and shouting at the top of his lungs, "THAT NO GOOD LUNATIC BARRY GOLDWATER IS GONNA GET US ALL KILLED," we see a little blond girl plucking petals from a flower.