Last night, Rachel Maddow did a segment on a recently released ad from the Romney campaign entitled, "Dear Daughter." I won't link to it here, because it's just guff, and they don't need the hit count. In the ad, a mother in voice-over welcomes her newborn daughter into the world by lambasting the Obama Administration for all their alleged fiscal failings -- "Your share of Obama's debt is over fifty thousand dollars. And it grows every day." Nice to see you have your priorities straight, mom...
The thing is, I'm pretty sure I've seen this somewhere before, over 30 years ago...
I have very clear memories of a television ad from the mid to late 1970's slamming the national debt using the same tropes. Here's what I remember:
The scene is a hospital. The lighting is dark and shadowy. A couple of well-dressed, official-looking men carrying a briefcase and a sheaf of papers enter a room. The camera's point of view is from the bed's occupant. The men bracket the bed and one of them starts to speak to the camera while leafing through documents. From my imperfect memory:
"Welcome to the United States. As a new citizen, you will enjoy certain rights and privileges. However, you will also be required to fulfill certain obligations which need to be addressed but, basically, you owe us -- in round figures -- fifty thousand dollars."
The scene cuts to a close-up of the bed's occupant -- a newborn infant -- who immediately begin crying.
A male voiceover comes on and says something about the national debt whose specifics I don't remember, while a hospital orderly bustles the two men out of the room. The men scuttle down the hallway to the next room, evidently working down their list.
I don't precisely remember when this ad aired. Based on dim contextual memory, it was anywhere from the mid- to late-1970's, but it could have been later than that. I don't remember whether it was associated with the campaign of a particular candidate. I couldn't even tell you if it was a national or state ad. At the time, I thought it was pretty effective. Of course, at the time, I was in my mid-teens, so what the hell do I know?
I'm pretty certain, however, that the sum of $50,000 was mentioned in the ad. I find it curious that the Romney ad, over thirty years and several trillion dollars later, uses the same sum. Unfortunately, my Google-fu has not been strong enough to turn up a concrete reference to the original ad I remember. If someone can find the original ad (and, more importantly, who produced it), it would be interesting -- not to menton amusing -- to juxtapose it with Romney's latest effort.
"Not even his ads have original ideas."