In a race sullied with lots of sleaze, Clarke Tucker is going positive with his new ad in his campaign for state rep. Lots of happy families and uplifting talk on pre-k, jobs, public safety and the private option (and a subtle reference to family history — “serving Little Rock and Arkansas is in my DNA”), Plus Tucker’s cute kids make an appearance. They dare you to FOI them.
I wonder whether this year in particular happy — even sappy — ads might stand out and pack some punch given the unprecedented avalanche of political advertising in the state this cycle. Nine out of ten, it seems, lean nasty. Shoot, you can’t watch a football game without more ominous music during commercial breaks than a crappy police procedural (or B horror flick). It’s a good time of year for the local networks making a killing on ad buys, as well as whatever voice actor gets hired to talk about the other guy like Vincent Price in “Thriller,” but for the rest of us, all that noise just starts to be nauseating. All of the innuendo and smack-talking and gossiping and half-truths and outright lies and contentious fact-checks…after a while it wears a body out. Maybe an ad like Tucker’s, if hardly a home run, can at least cut through all the noise.
Anecdotally, my wife, who doesn’t follow politics closely, saw the Pat Hays job creation ad and loved it. She didn’t know whether he was a Democrat or Republican, but immediately said, “I like this guy.” His ad just felt like a refreshing change. Tucker’s new ad isn’t in that league (the Hays ad benefits from focusing on accomplishments already under his belt and Hays has a folksy charm on camera that Tucker can’t replicate just yet), but I suspect the Tucker ad will appeal to some voters in the district who haven’t picked a side yet but are dimly aware that the campaign has gotten nasty.
Of course, the campaign consultants say it’s the negative stuff that moves the needle in the electorate, so what do I know? Hays himself has gone to the dark side. Bad vibrations abound. Hurry November 4.