This is the first post in a new series I am starting on Obscure Echo. Every week (if time permits me) I will post a Top 10 list for a particular topic. I imagine that most of the lists will be on politics or history, which are the major topics of my blog. I write most of my posts in argumentative essay format, but of course, writing these essays take up a significant amount of time and effort, which sometimes I do not have. Posting these Top 10 lists allows me to quickly create short but informative posts that don’t take a long time to read. The lists will always work its way down from ten to one.
Because of the midterm elections at the beginning of this month, I decided it would be fitting to start the Top 10 series off with a list of the ten craziest campaign ads that I saw during the 2014 election season.
#10: “North Star” by Mark Pryor
This is the first of a number of awful campaign advertisements by Democratic candidates running for the senate in conservative states, in which the Democrat presents him or herself so conservative that one watching the ad would be confused what party they are in. In this ad, we see Mark Pryor attempting to appeal to voters in a strange way. Normally, candidates try to win the vote of a racial or ethnic demographic, but in “North Star”, Mark Pryor yearns for the Christian vote by painting himself conservative by toting his bible and stating “who he is a what he believes.” He stumbles over his lines (which are quite simple) when obviously reading off his prompter. It is such a failed and phony ad that I almost want to snatch that bible from Pryor and hit him over the head with it.
#9: “Familiar” by Michelle Nun
To follow up Mark Pryor’s disaster, here is another campaign ad featuring a Democratic loser who runs to the right in order to win votes, all while separating herself from the president and the Democratic party platform. If there is one advertisement to perfectly summarize the campaigns and behavior of the Democratic candidates during the midterms, it would have be this one. In 14 seconds, Michelle Nun condemns the president without even mentioning his name as if he were some hostile creature that to associate with meant certain doom. The worst part of this ad is that somehow Nun and her campaign crew managed to neglect is the fact that it is unclear to which political party Ms. Nun belongs. Ashamed of a picture with Obama? Reveals that she worked for George H.W. Bush and was proud for it? The ad could just have easily been aired by a Republican.
#8: “Skeet Shooting” by Alison Lundergan Grimes
#8 on the list is occupied by another failed conservative Democrat, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the challenger to the soon Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Unlike many of the other weak Democratic candidates, she ran aggressive campaign against Mitch, but unfortunately she ran her campaign the same way the rest did: by going too right and acting more conservative than the Republican candidate. Seeing how badly the Democrats lost the elections, this tactic obviously did not work. It is no surprise that Democrats who are afraid to admit that they voted for Obama lost their races.
#7: “Anthony Brown – The most incompetent man in Maryland” by Larry Hogan
Here’s the first Republican ad on the list, and unlike the ads so far, this one is actually good. It effectively grabs the attention of the viewer due to many elements of the video. It rounds up Anthony Brown’s policy failures and negative qualities in a comical fashion mixed with an entertaining narrator, a Latin background tune, and subtle video effects. Its only downside is the fact that it is such a negative ad. It may be comical and most of the statements in it are true, but the ad itself is one big mound of mud to throw in Brown’s face. In most negative ads, you will at least see the candidate conclude the commercial with the typical law required “I’m ___ and I support this message” statement, but here in this ad you only get a small banner at the bottom of the screen at the very end telling you the Republicans who paid for it.
#6: “Squeal” by Joni Ernst
Its perhaps the most famous campaign ad from this year’s elections and will likely be used to remember the 2014 midterms. Joni Ernst’s “Squeal” campaign ad has gone viral online, with over 800,000 views on YouTube, and was shared by hosts throughout the media industry, from Anderson Cooper to Jimmy Fallon. The commercial caused many Americans to laugh at her stupidity, but unfortunately, she won the Iowa senate race. Keep that in mind; the same woman who said that castrating pigs prepared her for legislating won 53% of the vote and was elected to represent the entire state of Iowa in congress for 6 years. If this is the kind people we are electing to govern us, than America is in far greater danger than I have feared.
#5: “Commercials” by Mitch McConnell
Here’s another ad that attempts to be humorous but just ends up being ridiculous. Seriously, what idiots allowed for such a stupid idea for a commercial to pass a board room, and then ACTUALLY BE RECORDED AND RELEASED? Mitch McConnell must have had babies running his campaign.
#4: “#Got Balls?” by Bob Quast
When you thought that there couldn’t be a candidate crazier than Joni Ernst running in the Iowa senate race, you discover this strange campaign ad by Bob Quast, the conservative Democrat who opposed Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate who won the primary and went on to lose to Ernst. The ad starts nice with him rolling a stroller and walking his dog, but gets dark when he casually mentions the death of his sister to display his stance on gun control and attack Braley, all while the cheery background music continues. While holding his Glock, Quast invites Braley to a public debate and promises to leave his gun at home. This part would be funny if Quast showed more joy in his face than presenting himself with his dark serious look. Aside from his conservative positions, it’s no wonder that Quast lost the primary.
#3: “Shot” by Joni Ernst
You might be surprised that I have two campaign ads by Joni Ernst on this list, but Joni Ernst is so hilarious and so entertaining that I had to have another one of her ads on the list. The narrator’s opening statement that “she’s not your typical candidate” when you see Ernst stroll up on her motorcycle in a leather jacket is certainly correct. I can’t think of any other female politician who would do something so attention-grabbing yet conventional. Its not everyday you see a candidate for the U.S. Senate showing off their redneck credentials, especially in an ad that’s supposed to be promoting their campaign. When I first saw this ad I initially thought it was fake, or that it was some parody of a Republican because I thought it was just simply too weird. However, I was strongly incorrect. This is an actual campaign advertisement that’s supposed to be taken seriously, AND SHE WON!
#2: “Alaska Agreement” by Dan Sullivan
This is the third ad on this list that features a candidate shooting a gun and the fourth to have a candidate holding one. What’s with American political candidates and guns? They’re supposed to be promoting the messages of their campaigns during their ads, not shooting their guns. Granted, the commercial is a lot more entertaining when they have one, simply because its a object not usually used in campaign ads. As an American, it’s kind of embarrassing. It makes like us look like we’re conservative rednecks who only vote for folks who shoot weapons while running for office. The aspect of this ad in contrast to the others that makes it so great and hilarious is the fact that him shooting the TV is completely unexpected. Alison Lundergan Grimes’s ad opens with her skeet shooting, Bob Quast merely held up his glock, and Joni Ernst was seen loading her rifle after her omniscient ad narrator tells the audience “she carries more than just lipstick in her purse”, but when the camera’s view shift, Dan Sullivan is seen clutching his rifle and shoots the TV out of nowhere. It isn’t until he turns around that the viewer sees that he was holding his handgun the entire time. I don’t think anyone watching the ad, even once hearing “you’re gonna wanna do this to your TV”, thought to themselves “let me guess: he’s gonna shoot a TV?” My reaction and many others when first watching it was more of a “WTF? Did he just actually shoot a TV? Well, I didn’t see that coming.” For that, Dan Sullivan, the new Republican senator from Alaska, receives the #2 spot on this list.
#1: “Message” by Natalie Tennant
#1 on this list goes to Natalie Tennant, the failed West Virginia Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate for this crazy campaign ad that includes her bragging about West Virginia’s energy industries and (for whatever reason) shutting off the power to the White House. First some random psycho easily runs into the White House with a knife, then Natalie Tennant just flicks a switch somewhere in West Virginia and its electricity goes out? Geez, the secret service is doing a worse job than I thought. Natalie Tennant automatically gets first place on this list for the realistic special effects of shutting off the White House, but she gets bonus crazy points by doing it AS A DEMOCRAT!! The other Democratic candidates on this list shifted away from President Obama in order to save their campaigns, but Tennant took this a step (or rather; a leap) forward by openly condemning Obama to the point that she cut off his power. To give her credit, she has a lot of balls for making such an ad. Most Democrats are weak spineless cowards who are afraid to say the President’s name, and most Republicans are too stupid to have thought of such an idea for a campaign ad (just look at all the ads made by Republicans on this list), but Natalie Tennant, on the other hand, is such a idiotic headstrong Democrat that she produced this ad, which I imagine caused more humor for the public than support. She might’ve lost the election by 28% and not have won a single district, but at least she made #1 on this list for craziest campaign ad of the year. I guess that’s something to be proud of…right?