Campaign ad of the year?

>> Monday, May 17, 2010

It's possible this campaign ad is the most amazing thing ever. Dale Peterson is a Republican candidate for Alabama's Secretary Of Agriculture. He's also the inspiration for the title character in Walker, Texas Ranger:

Over at Salon, Gabriel Winant suggests this ad is a condescending cheap shot trying to appeal to a lowest-common-denominator of conservative, rural, blue collar voters. Winant writes:

It's really difficult to give the Peterson ad an honest viewing and come away thinking that this guy thinks highly of the people whose votes he's after. Besides the arguments being total nonsense, the symbolism is just way too aggressive. Peterson tips his cards when he edges that gun into the frame, as if to say, "Yeah, those idiots will eat this up."

I fear Winant is missing the larger point--I mean, he's probably right and all, but isn't the more interesting question raised by Peterson's ad how many people he could kill or injure in a roadhouse brawl? I'm not quite sure how often the Secretary Of Agriculture in Alabama is expected to get into vicious bare-knuckle dustups with drunken rednecks or shoot out the tires of an escaping drug dealer named Ramirez while pursuing on horseback at a full gallop, but it seems pretty evident from his ad that Mr. Peterson is probably capable of not merely this much, but if there's ever a need for a state cabinet member to ride his horse underneath a helicopter in the midst of taking off, stand up in the saddle and grab a landing skid, swing himself up onto the vehicle, punch through the glass door, pry it open, pull out the pilot and rescue the hostage, Alabamans could do a lot worse than Dale Peterson.

The funniest thing in all this, maybe, and the saddest, is that if you go to Peterson's page, it's not really as batshit crazy as you might hope from that campaign ad. There's a little bit of predictable corniness and some predictable vagueness about what he might actually do differently if elected, and some of the flag-waving here and there that you tend to take for granted with Southern politicians, and there is a page about a young lady who likes hunting that has no apparent context and I have no idea why it's there--but all of that taken in stride, Peterson doesn't actually seem like a bad guy from his campaign site. Not saying I'd vote for him if I lived in Alabama, or if he were running for office here, but, hey, he doesn't seem to be too bad a feller for the SecAG job. So why does he have to go and spoil that with a TV ad that's hysterically over-the-top?

Perhaps Peterson's getting some bad advice from the cynics Winant takes aim at. Seems likely enough, and a bit of a shame if true.

Or maybe I have it backwards. Maybe Peterson's site is deceptive, aimed at online denizens. Maybe Peterson really is the action hero the TV spot makes him out to be! There's only one way to be sure--I propose all candidates for Alabama Secretary Of Agriculture be flown out over Mobile Bay in single engine airplanes, each under-equipped in the fuel and functioning-landing-gear departments and over-furnished in the categories of pilot-with-heart-trouble and angry-grizzly-bear-in-cage-with-bad-lock. Whichever candidate can successfully land his plane will be elected... King Of America For Life.

And I don't care if he is a Republican. Man can land a plane with no fuel or landing gear while being attacked by a bear, man has my respect.


Janiece Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:25:00 PM EDT  



Leanright,  Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:46:00 PM EDT  

You know I love a good conservative, but this ad just makes us all look like gun-toting rednecks.

I wonder if WE have and Ag Commissioner here in California?


Leanright,  Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:48:00 PM EDT  

Now THIS is how a conservative speaks! Love this guy.

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