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When Silence Speaks Volumes

In what Frank Luntz calls the worst political ad of this cycle, Republican senate candidate Terri Lynn Land of Michigan sits idly by for 12 seconds---robotically sipping from a prop coffee mug, shaking her head, making goofy faces and looking at her watch---after tasking the viewer to think about some mysterious thing her opponent (Democrat Gary Peters, who gave a real barnburner at Netroots Nation) said about the very real GOP "war on women." The ad is vague, it's clumsy, and it lacks any specificity:

When you're playing with pregnant pauses in advertising, you're playing with fire.

So I held my breath over a similar silence in the new TV ad for Kentucky Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Thankfully, this one works much better, in my opinion. After introducing herself, Grimes gives a laid-off coal miner a moment to look into the camera and ask incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell a tough question: "In the last two years we've lost almost half of our coal jobs in eastern Kentucky. Why did you say it's not your job to bring jobs to Kentucky?" Then…the pause:

Six seconds, not twelve. Enough to give the viewer time to think about a specific thing McConnell said (reinforced visually on-screen, unlike Land's ad) and ask themselves, "Yeah, why did McConnell say that dang fool thing?" Then a truck passes in the foreground and Grimes turns to the laid-off coal miner and says, "I couldn’t believe he said that either. I approved this message…because, Senator, that'll be my number-one job."

A credible and interesting setting. A credible Kentuckian on hard times asking a simple and sharp-elbowed question of Grimes' opponent, a pause to imply that McConnell has no answer, and a witty response and direct promise from Grimes that nails it down---she's going to fight to bring jobs to the state. I think it's a smart way to capitalize on McConnell's unforced error, and I hope it helps bump her favorables up a notch. Or two.

P.S. One other thing about Land's ad: why does she ask the viewer to "think about that for a moment" and then, ten seconds later, look down at a wristwatch that's so tiny I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it doesn't have a second hand? I think she's looking at the actual time because she wants to get the hell outta there. As I recall, that didn't work out so well when George H.W. Bush did that during a debate. Think about that for a moment while I stand here and make goofy faces to amuse my dog.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, July 24, 2014

Note: C&J's usual NSA snooper, Bart, is at the dentist today.  Our temporary snooper is Heather, who will be scrolling around from time to time to make sure we're not passing around state secrets, like the nuclear launch code for Missile #234-X-Alpha-1, which is "123456789."  Welcome, Heather!

New Jersey State Fair logo 2014
8 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Christmas in July: 1
Days 'til the New Jersey State Fair: 8
Number of countries out of 44 surveyed in which a majority approve of U.S. drone strikes on alleged terrorist targets: 3 (Kenya, Israel, USA)
U.S. approval of drone strikes in 2013 and today, respectively: 61%, 52%
(Source: Pew Research)
Percent of the 34,557 respondents in a CDC survey who said they are gay, lesbian or bisexual: 2.3%
Current global consumer confidence index, the highest since 2007: 97
North America's confidence index score: 103
(Source: Nielsen Research)


Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

Molly ivins publicity photo  --- small
Here's what we do. We run Bill Moyers for president. I am serious as a stroke about this. It's simple, cheap and effective, and it will move the entire spectrum of political discussion in this country. Moyers is the only public figure who can take the entire discussion and shove it toward moral clarity just by being there. …

One time in the Johnson years, LBJ called on Moyers to say the blessing at a dinner. "SPEAK UP, Bill," Lyndon roared. "I can't hear you." Moyers replied, "I wasn't speaking to you, sir." That's the point of a run by Moyers: He doesn't change to whom he is speaking just because some president is yelling at him.
---July, 2006


Puppy Pic of the Day:  "It’s like watching an artist’s career in fast-forward---which is really, really amazing.”


CHEERS to ExxonMobil Theatre.  Here's a one-act play demonstrating how the Goliath of oil giants came around to adopting non-discrimination protections for its LGBT employees.  Curtain up…

Avalon Theatre stage, Catalina Island, CA
"And the Tony goes to...
Anyone but Bill in Portland."
LGBT activists: Will you approve a non-discrimination policy?
Exxon Mobil: No.
LGBT activists (1 year later): How about now?
Exxon Mobil: No.
LGBT activists (1 year later): How about now?
Exxon Mobil: No.
LGBT activists (1 year later): How about now?
Exxon Mobil: No.
LGBT activists (1 year later): How about now?
Exxon Mobil: No.
LGBT activists (1 year later): How about now?
Exxon Mobil: No.
President Obama: Yes.
Exxon Mobil: Yes.
Curtain down.  Curtain up.  [Jazz hands!!!]  Curtain down.

JEERS to vein attempts.  Hey, congratulations, Supreme Court!  Now you can add "enabler of cruel and unusual punishment" to your resume:

"Outta my way, numbskulls---
we got an execution to botch!"
Arizona attempted to execute a man on death row. One hour after he was supposed to have been lethally injected, however, Joseph Rudolph Wood was still alive, “gasping and snoring.” Wood’s lawyers filed an emergency request to stay the execution and give the man life-saving help, but it was too late: After two hours, he died. […]

Just three days ago, a federal appeals court put the lethal injection plans on pause, requiring the state to disclose “the name and provenance of the drugs to be used in the execution” and “the qualifications of the medical personnel” performing the execution. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court reversed that lower court’s ruling…

They can't get the drugs that work efficiently because the drug makers won’t sell 'em for capital punishment purposes anymore, so now they're just throwing shit together.  ("Hey! Let's try turpentine, spaghetti sauce and wombat urine!")  But I bet Arizona will take swift action to guarantee that nothing like this is ever witnessed again.  By banning witnesses.

JEERS to headline whiplash.  I warn you: brace yourself.  Two weeks ago we read this: 74 percent of Republicans are happy with their new ObamaCare plans.  And yesterday we read this: A huge majority of Republicans and conservatives don’t think the law has helped anybody in this country.  Honest to god, I swear we're deporting the wrong people.

Nixon and Khruschev talking at a microphone during the famous 1959
"Potato!" "Puhtato!" "Tomato!" "Tomahto!"
"Let's settle this with nukes."
CHEERS to great moments in standing around fake display kitchens.  Fifty-five years ago today, on July 24, 1959, Richard Nixon---then Ike's veep---engaged in a verbal fisticuffs with Nikita Khrushchev on the merits of capitalism versus communism, an event that became known as the "Kitchen Debate."  It was a civilized discussion until the Soviet leader got pissed and gave one of Nixon's aide's a nipplectomy with a cheese grater.  (Khrushchev later paid to have them replaced, after which the aide sent him a brief note: "Thanks for the mammaries.")

JEERS to divine intervention.  In Indiana a woman told God to take the wheel of her car.  Moments later the car hit a motorcyclist and two pickup trucks and then narrowly avoided plowing into a fast-food restaurant.  The woman was found to have drugs in her system.  But even more disturbing: God was stone-cold sober.

CHEERS to the latest edition of BillyFact Rates This Claim…  Today's claim  comes courtesy of astronaut Buzz Aldrin:

BillyFact rates this claim: "Holy Shit That Is So Effing TRUE!!!!!"  Join us next time for another exciting edition of BillyFact Rates This Claim…  

CHEERS to tearful reunions.  On July 24, 1866, Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the War of Southern Traitor Aggression.  Fred Thompson and Bob Corker aside, so far it seems to be working out.  But don’t get cocky, Volunteer're still on probation.


Five years ago in C&J: July 24, 2009

CHEERS to saving the day.  Whew, they did it!  Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Senate have finally agreed on a plan to close the state's $26 billion budget gap.  It's very simple---they're closing California.  If there's anything you'd like to buy for your living room---the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, Orange County---no reasonable offer will be refused.  I call dibs on Brad Pitt.

JEERS to the 'Girthers.'  Fox News opens a line of attack on the president's excellent nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, by inviting a crooked fitness kook (whose sex-obsessed "anti-gym" was shut down by the IRS this year) to say that, just by looking at her, she's overweight by 50 pounds.  Which is quite a coincidence because, just by looking at the people on Fox News, I can tell they're undersmart by 50 IQ points.


And just one more…

JEERS to seeing flashing blue lights from your car.  Sarah Palin got busted last week for speeding---almost 20 over the limit.  Setting aside for the moment that had a similarly high-profile Democrat been pulled over for the same offense the media would be freaking and Drudge would have his blinky light working overtime, her response is notable:

Police cruiser with lights on
She was going 63 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone in her Toyota Tundra, according to TMZ, and will pay a $154 fine.  Her explanation to the site was simple. She said she was listening to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" song at the time.  "I wasn't speeding," she told TMZ. "I was qualifying."
She certainly qualified, all right.  As a terrible role model for our a a lead-footed menace to society... I could go on.  Oh, you betcha.

Have a sultry Thursday.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

You read that correctly.  Bill in Portland Maine has a lower favorability rating than the actual personification of evil in the galaxy.
---Walt Hickey, Five Thirty Eight.


Michele Bachmann says she may run for president again. To that I say…

41%1680 votes
25%1047 votes
9%386 votes
10%442 votes
12%506 votes

| 4063 votes | Vote | Results

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