Rick Santorum and The Last House on The Left

Years from now, the Rick Santorum Presidential Campaign won’t be known for much.  He has gone along way on the strength of an uncanny ability to make hatred sound virtuous, but let’s face it, his campaign is clearly having its final death spasms and will hopefully be put out of it’s misery, Old Yeller style, in a matter of weeks.  Not that anyone will shed a tear for the man.  Those who hate him will move on to more worthy targets and those who love him will find another dimwitted fear monger to cast their lot with any day now.  America is chock full of hateful, well-spoken vipers who can carry the neo-conservative mantle yet another yard as it lurches ever so slowly towards 1951.

It’s easy to rail on Santorum and weeks from now, it’ll be even easier to forget he even exists.  However, I think that he should be praised for one thing.  His shadowy team of Gollum-esque backers has managed to create the single best negative campaign ad since LBJ nuked that poor little girl picking the daisy.  If you haven’t seen the Obamaville ad and you happen to still double-check the locks on your front door when anyone mentions Willie Horton, you are in for a treat…

The first fifteen seconds of this ad are beautiful.  It’s as if they hired George A. Romero or the guy who used to do the Nine Inch Nails videos to shoot the thing.  The dimly lit streets of some American town.  Pale, muted colors.  Crows.  Rusty playground equipment and the abandoned shoe of a child.  Desolation.  Despair.

This is usually the point where the bloodthirsty ghouls wander down the boulevard in search of brains.  Instead, we get a flood of about 10 images in one second.   Happy family.  Front porch.  Old couple.  Jailed prisoner.  Baby in red.  Is the baby a communist?  Is the baby a symbol of purity stained by years of liberal attacks on….I dunno…..babies?

Yes, that was a subliminal cut to an eyeball at the 17-second mark.  Why?  Who knows, but it sure is creepy.  More despair in Zombie America.  People losing jobs.  Families in squalid apartments forced to eat nothing but apples.  Cut to long abandoned hallways.  Evil doctors lurking around every corner with needles,  ready to harm you all the while bleeding your bank account dry.

Then, the best image in the whole ad.  A man with a gas pump aimed at his head committing….uhm….dieselcide.  More images.  Religious candles being blown out by, I guess, liberals.  Darkness. But, wait…it gets better.

Old people.  About to be harmed.  By Iranians.  With nuclear weapons.  Yes, at the 40-second mark, you did see the ad cut from killer Iranian leaders to Barack Obama and back again.  You didn’t make that up.  It really happened.

People.  Marching in line.  Drones.  Zombies in suits.  Sent to America to take your freedom and potentially restrict your family’s ability to visit theme parks. Wall Street.  A menacing, monstrous looking tree with glowing eyes.

Images.  Speeding up.  You’re fired.  You’re in your minivan and you’re angry.  Obama.  Piggy bank breaking.   Faster.  Eyeball.  Red.  Capitol.  Faster.   Jails.  Bossy old women.  Glasses.  Faster.  Iranians.  Faster.  The red baby.   This hell on earth could only be one place…..Obamaville.

What could it all mean?  It’s a surreal pastiche of terror.  Watching this ad made me less concerned about the economy and much more concerned about the possibility of giant hawk-like creatures coming down from the sky and ripping my head off.

Forget all this policy mumbo-jumbo, let’s scare the bejesus out of them.  It’s not that this is an uncommon tactic, it’s just that you rarely see it so clearly spelled out.  This is the mother of all attack ads, because it implies, pretty clearly, that voting for Obama is not just a bad idea….it will, in no uncertain terms, KILL YOU.  Short of selling bottles of rat poison with Obama’s face on it, I’m not sure how much more clearly you can make that point.

So, a tip of the hat to Rick.  He left us with something that will stand the test of time.  His campaign is directly responsible for taking things to a level that shady little hucksters like Lee Atwater never dreamed.  He’s created the first all-American political slasher ad.  An ad so vile, so repugnant, so clearly aimed to poison the well, that it will take Herculean effort to match its malignancy.  After all, when your entire campaign is based on the idea that hopefully America will become so unlivable, so completely ramshackle, that its people will rise up en masse and elect a guy who could easily have been the Commander in “A Handmaid’s Tale”, why the hell not run an ad like this?

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  1. #1 by Jim Wheeler on March 31, 2012 - 9:16 PM

    OMG. Excellent analysis, Keith.

    When all else fails, appeal to the amygdala.

    • #2 by Keith Spillett on April 1, 2012 - 4:13 AM

      HA!!! That should be on a bumper sticker on Karl Rove’s desk.

      Thanks for the read, Jim. I was hoping you’d catch this one.

  2. #3 by Maz on March 31, 2012 - 11:26 PM

    Newly declassified CIA documents reveal that it is Obamaville, not De Moinz, Iowa, that have birth to Slipknot. I mean if I had to live with Communists charging me $15 a gallon for to juice up my Hemi, I’d also be a dissilusioned, serial killer-obsessed masked doofus. The good news is of course that, much like Obamaville, Slipknot may be a figment of the neocon mythmaking machine.

  3. #4 by John Erickson on April 1, 2012 - 3:52 PM

    I just wanna see Santorum try to off himself with a gas nozzle. Just so long as I can be front row, with a large supply of road flares.
    Hey, I’ve labelled myself a conservative for most of my life, and the whole GOP field is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. And trust me, living in Chicago and touring major US cities, there is a LOT of REALLY scary sh… er … stuff out there! 😀

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