5 Moronic Political Ads That Inexplicably Got Approved
Every politician says something like "I'll create jobs, while my opponent will strangle jobs in their sleep." But you can only hear it so many times before you tune out, so we don't blame campaign ads for trying to get creative. It's just that sometimes the people in charge clearly wanted to make an arthouse movie instead of political campaign ad. Which is how we end up with stuff like ...
Herman Cain's Horrifying "Sick Of Stimulus" Series
Think back to the Before Times, consult your cave drawings and review your oral history of the 2012 presidential election: Herman Cain was the dubiously successful businessman turned inexperienced politician who captured a ridiculous amount of support and media attention with his weird, impractical ideas... before sexual harassment allegations made everyone come to their senses. It's a saga that looks delightfully quaint today. As per standard, he went on hiatus for three months before making his comeback with a series of YouTube commercials dubbed "Sick of Stimulus." They targeted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, so naturally, they featured a little girl who... tortures... animals?
Confused? So was everyone else. The first ad starts off with a goldfish minding its own business.
The fish is then thrown out of its bowl while we hear the girl declare "This is the economy." Is it, Herman? The goldfish thrashes around, doing what fish do when they're not in water. But right when it seems as though our friend has reached the end of the line, the girl splashes it with some muddy water and says, "This is the economy on stimulus."
The camera pans up to the girl's cold stare, and she asks, "Any questions?" Then we close on a zoomed-out shot of her standing in the middle of a burnt landscape, yelling the same question as if the radiation poisoning has really started to eat away at her brain.
People were confused, especially since the ad didn't suggest any policy changes. It simply prompted viewers to visit Cain's site, where they were asked to donate to Cain Solutions (presumably a goldfish support group). Reveling in the public's response to their animal torture, for their next ad, the Cain camp upped their game with a rabbit.
The ad begins with the same girl holding a rabbit while saying, "This is small business." She puts the rabbit down before continuing, "This is small business under the current tax code." Then this happens:
The third ad in this series portrays the American taxpayer as a chicken farmer and big government as the chickens he feeds. The chickens soon eat the farmer, even though in the last ad, the taxpayer was the cute animal and the man was The Man. A mixed metaphor like that can ruin such an otherwise-coherent message.
And yes, there's our little demon child standing next to the farmer's dead body, idly wondering if anyone has any questions.
If you're wondering what Herman Cain's political career looks like today, sickofstimulus.com is currently occupied by four brief pieces of Thai erotica, all of which somehow offer superior economic insight.
Dan Helmer Goes Top Gun In A Karaoke Ad
Virginian Democrat Dan Helmer is running against Barbara Comstock for Congress in 2018, and in late 2017 he dropped a campaign ad that would get even the staunchest progressive voting Republican.
Helmer arrives at a bar on his motorcycle. His wife, Karen, tells him that Comstock is there, and she challenges Helmer to get Comstock to hold a town hall. Helmer responds, "Town hall? I can do you one better than that." Then he adds "we've lost that loving feeling," immediately disproving his claim. Even his wife tells him that this is a bad idea, but her plea falls on tone deaf ears, as Helmer grabs a microphone and launches into the song. But get this, the lyrics have a political twist!
The entire bar joins in the chorus, making it unclear why Comstock was hanging out in a venue that caters exclusively to alcoholic Democrats who have nothing better to do than get karaoke drunk on a weekday afternoon. Their participation does not improve matters.
They keep this up until Comstock leaves the bar, which proves a point about the economy or whatever. The ad ends with Karen saying, "Good job, Dan," to which Helmer replies, "Thanks, Maverick."
The Michigan Republican Party's Sharknado Ad
This attack ad on Michigan Democrat Gary Peters, featuring tornadoes, flying sharks, and bad CGI, was a desperate attempt by the Republicans to stay relevant ahead of the 2014 midterms. Laboring under the misbegotten belief that people weren't already sick of hearing about Sharknado, the 30-second ad starts with Peters' head plastered on a cartoon body, making him look like Nedry from Jurassic Park.
As he stands on the beach, a voice narrates: "Dark clouds are gathering, and Gary Peters is in the eye of the storm." It goes on to claim that Peters is funded by a convicted felon who is connected to a loan shark ring run by an international gangster. It's a serious accusation that's completely undercut by the "baby's first Flash animation" style.
Even more cringeworthy than the effects is the attempt to wrangle "Loan Sharknado" into the Coherent Pun Corral. Somehow even worse than that is this revelation: after learning about the dodgy dealings behind his campaign funders, Peters returned those contributions years ago. The GOP might've been better off using the $50 spent on this ad to do some fact-checking instead. Peters won, and is still serving today.
David Dewhurst Parodies "Let It Go"
David Dewhurst is the former lieutenant governor of Texas, and in the 2014 primary he ran against Tea Party candidate Dan Patrick, aka Dannie Goeb, who worked in radio and television during the '70s and '80s. Dewhurst released a bizarre video featuring a cutout of Patrick performing a confessional song in which he "comes clean" about changing his name and having a career in the entertainment industry, both of which are apparently unspeakable sins. Oh, and it's a "Let It Go" parody, because Dewhurst hates this world and everything that lives in it.
We're also treated to footage of Patrick/Goeb doing some kind of stage performance straight out of the '70s, as though aging is just another of his great deceptions.
This was not the shocking expose that Dewhurst had been hoping for, as Patrick had been very open about changing his name, and not even modern American voters could bring themselves to find a scandal in this. Dewhurst went on to lose his reelection bid. As he deserved to, both because he apparently refused to run on any actual issues, and because he left "The Lyin' King" right there.
Ted Cruz Ruins Office Space
In 2016, the Cruz campaign targeted Hillary Clinton and her email scandal by parodying the iconic Office Space scene, wherein our disgruntled heroes wreck their useless office printer.
In Cruz's ad, Clinton goes to town on a computer while "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Clinton" plays. Get it? It's a parody of Geto Boys' "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta" from, uh ... a completely different Office Space scene.
This was all a jab at an FBI report that revealed Clinton's aides destroyed two of her malfunctioning mobile phones.
The only problem is that the parody wants us to view Clinton as an entitled elitist, even though in Office Space, the scene is a small rebellion against the system by trod-upon, sympathetic characters. Maybe someone should explain this movie to Ted Cruz.
Cruz also clearly wanted to score Cool Points by aping the Geto Boys song, but the group publicly denounced Cruz's ad on the biggest platform built solely for public denouncements: Twitter.
One member also appeared on Yahoo News to call the ad "blasphemy." Maybe someone needs to sit Cruz down and explain the movie. And then pop culture. And then humanity in general. Try to use numbers.
Zanandi will now be taking your questions on Twitter. Also, read her blog.
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For more, check out The 6 Most Baffling Political Ads Ever Aired and The 5 Craziest Presidential Campaign Ads Of All Time.
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