HOME... ARCHIVE 2019 ...ARCHIVE 2020

Our 27th year of publishing

Published November 17, 2020



Post election benefit: No more political ads

By John Toth / The Bulletin

No matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, you must have been glad for one thing the day after election night: No more political ads.

Watching television was like taking a shower in sewage when the ads came on. I have never seen so many, or maybe I am just watching more television these days.

I lost track of who was the crooked cop, crooked politician, the partier in the desert or the abusive parent.

Children watching these ads are probably all confused by now, asking mommy if the cocaine addict crooked cop is still beating his wife. Way to scare them to death.

I began to wonder if these people are really that bad, why are they running for office? They should be serving time.

I turned on the television the morning after election night and almost enjoyed seeing the ads for laxatives, Preparation H and for medications I really don't know what they do, but everybody in the ad seems happy as they run around in nature.

And, no more political phone calls. Now I’m just getting calls about my Medicare plan. Too late.

This has definitely been one of the most interesting election campaigns, but not the first in which candidates aired opponents’ dirty laundry. They have all done that.

We started with mud throwing in 1800. That didn’t take long.

The President of Yale University, a John Adams supporter, publicly suggested that were Jefferson to become the president, “we would see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution.”

Weird, I know, but we just had started our democracy.

Some attacks have since become much more sophisticated and entertaining (but not this year).

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson came out with the “Daisy Girl” ad. A young girl picks petals from a daisy and counts to 10. She then looks to the sky as a nuclear countdown begins and the bomb drops.
The message was that Republican challenger Barry Goldwater was too dangerous, and he could get us all killed. "Vote for President Johnson," said the narrator as the mushroom cloud engulfed the world. "The stakes are too high to stay home."

The ad ran once on television. The message was devastating and false. It was President Kennedy who brought the U.S. close to nuclear war with the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Johnson was his vice-president.

Then there was Ronald Reagan’s “The Bear” ad in 1984.

As the grizzly bear lumbers through the woods to the beat of a drum, the narrator says: “Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it's vicious and dangerous.”

The bear represented the Soviet Union.

"Since no one can really be sure who is right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear, if there is a bear?”
Excellent writing, and a very effective attack ad. Much more effective than: He was fired from one department and lied to another; he sniffed cocaine in the desert; or just ads tagging opponents as socialist or sellouts.

The art of political advertising was replaced this year with shrill messaging and very poor quality black and white photos of opponents. It’s not fun to watch them dozens of times while waiting to see who got chosen for "The Voice."

So, change the channel if you don’t like it. But they were on all channels. There were millions of dollars flowing into races for advertising buys on every level. There was no escaping from them.
Until the morning after.

Hey, it’s time to turn on the news. Look, a mattress sale. I don’t need one, but aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)