U.S. Senate candidates Ben Sasse and Bart McLeay both have new TV ads up on the YouTubes over the past few days. Let’s take a look.
Ben Sasse is setting himself up as “The Outsider“. As in, that’s the title he has put on his video.
We will get past the S.E. Hinton analogies and go straight to the question:
Outside of what?
We don’t mean to be overly critical of Sasse here, but this position makes zero sense.
Sasse worked at the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company.
Sasse was chief of staff for the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice.
Sasse was the Chief of Staff for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
Sasse was Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Other than his short time as President of Midland University, the only place Sasse has spent during his post-Harvard and Yale years is on the INSIDE. This is like Sid Dinsdale saying, “The one thing I am NOT is a banker!”
This is like Bart McLeay saying, “I am the ultimate NON-trial lawyer in this race!”.
It would be Shane Osborn declaring, “The absolute thing I have NO experience in is being held captive by the Chinese!”
Well, onto Sasse’s ad(s) — a short and a long:
First the short, which you should also be able to see during tonight’s national championship game:
That ad is supposed to segue you to the longer form, 5 minute version which you can see here:
A few notes on the spots:
The thing with the Capitol is sort of amusing (got to be some serious production costs), and we kind of get it.
(Though bringing “Nebraska values” to the Capitol or bringing the Capitol to Nebraska aren’t exactly transitive properties.)
But it’s a gimmick meant to make you remember Sasse, so we’ll see where that puts him. (People spent a lot of time talking about Pete Ricketts’s red hat.) (And FWIW, Sasse AGAIN got linked by Drudge, which will mean tens of thousands of hits.)
Then when we get to the long version, we see a better intro of Sasse — much of which he spends time talking to invisible people.
(Hey, is there a ghost on that opposite couch!)
But the thing we are not into is this framing of his opponents as “Establishment“.
“They’re Establishment…” Sasse declares with much anguish in his voice.
Now for those of you unfamiliar, “Establishment” is the term used by some Tea Partiers and ALL Ron Paulistas for those who are in-office, and/or don’t agree with them on 100% of issues.
And we’re not into it.
It’s a cop-out term that means nothing.
Especially when applied to his opponents.
None of the other candidates have any direct ties to anyone in office.
Osborn has been endorsed by many Tea Party types.
Dinsdale is rich enough that he can ignore anyone trying to influence him with money.
McLeay has fewer ties to anyone on the “inside” than Sasse does.
So the point here is we don’t mean to hammer Sasse.
We think he would do a good job for Nebraska in the Senate, as we frankly feel about McLeay, Dinsdale and Osborn.
But what we’re not into is the name calling — and frankly Sasse’s apparent cosiness with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and his Senate Conservative Fund.
Last time the SCF tried to buy Don Stenberg into the Senate by declaring Jon Bruning to be a member of the Socs (that’s pronounced “So-shiz“…oh and now we’re getting that “The Outsiders” theme.) And they ended up electing Deb Fischer.
So here’s the deal: Sasse has a lot going for him. He has a great life story and if he can come up with an explainable and effective alternative to ObamaCare, you can bet people with listen. (EVERYONE wants to tear it down. But at this point, people still want the pre-existing conditions issues fixed.)
Do that and he will get votes.
But the blatant pandering to one faction of the party turns us off.
Ah, Bart McLeay.
Another successful, bright, good-looking candidate.
With a horrible, horrible…horrible first ad.
See the 60 second spot here:
Again, if the goal here is to have people “talking” about the ad, Mission Accomplished.
They’ll be standing around the water cooler saying, “Did you see that horrible ad for that one guy with the arrows pointing at the people in his family?”
“Yeah, why did they think I wanted to meet EVERYONE in his family, as opposed to, you know, the candidate?”
“And why did the candidate himself have so little to say?”
“Why were they making me read family members’ names instead of, in theory, listening to them describe his policy positions?”
“And why did they think that the ‘joke’ at the end was funny?”
“And why did everyone laugh on cue?”
“And were they all going out to play football at that point?”
“And who thought this was a good idea for an introductory ad for a U.S. Senate candidate?”
“Well, at least I don’t remember his name.”
“Yeah, me neither.”
“Wait, I know. It’s Bart Starr!”
Too harsh? We don’t mean to be…mean. We’re trying to be helpful.
And we’re sure there’s something better in the McLeay media camp from here.
Well, because from here they can ONLY go up.
(BTW, we’re not aware of any current media buys by McLeay.)
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