Yesterday, one of our faithful Rowdies emailed me to ask this:

Dear Addy:

How would you respond to this Rick Perry ad?


Ad Mirer

So, here goes..

Dear Mirer:

It’s a well executed piece of propaganda. It does what effective propaganda films often do, induce fear. At 1:45, it will never air as a paid TV ad, but it will be effective online and on cable TV programs.

The video’s strength is its kick-in-the-nuts tough guy swagger. If President Obama doesn’t respond to that, he looks like a weakling. Therefore, I’d recommend President Obama respond with an ad that turns the Perry ad strength into a weakness.

My advice is that President Obama should avoid a traditional tit-for-tat response, and use Governor Perry’s harsh tone against him. To show that Perry’s machismo doesn’t phase him, he should respond directly with controlled disdain. Not bitter like Governor Perry, but not as cool and professorial as he is inclined to be.

For example, the opening visual could be a few seconds of the harshest part of the Perry ad, followed by Obama entering the scene and clicking off the Perry video. Obama then gives a knowing but disapproving smirk, like when a parent calmly breaks up a toddler’s tantrum. He then speaks directly to camera:

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s the same destructive slash and burn tone we’ve heard from the Republican controlled Congress the past two years.

Chart used in ad response.
But we all remember (pointing to the adjacent chart) that America faced an economic meltdown when I arrived in office. And working together, we stopped the meltdown.

The truth is, non-partisan economists say my first jobs bill created about 3 million desperately needed jobs. We saved a million more jobs in the auto industry, and the workers that support it. Overall during my time we created more jobs in our firs two years in office than the previous Republican Administration did over four years.

And the truth is that the Jobs for America Act I proposed to continue the recovery was shut down by Republicans who seem to care more about politics and protecting billionaires than job creation.

It’s been said that “any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.”

We need more carpenters in Washington.

(Pointing at screen) That kind of carping. That kind of finger pointing. That pledge of allegiance to billionaires, at the expense of the middle class. That return to the very same failed policies that created this (pointing at the red bars on the chart). That’s the wrong direction.

I have no doubt that America’s brightest days are ahead of us. (Pointing at chart) We’re doing better, and we’ll do better still…when we all are pulling in the same direction, and when we start rejecting this kind of (pointing to screen where the Perry ad appeared) garbage.”

In summary, Mirer, I recommend President Obama respond to this Perry ad with this strategy: 1) Set the record straight on job creation; 2) Associate Perry with the historically unpopular Congress; 3) Associate Perry with the failed Bush policies that remain so unpopular; 4) Associate Perry with the slash-and-burn tone that swing voters especially hate; 4) Be uncharacteristically earthy with his language fire up his base.

President Obama can’t allow the election to become framed up as a referendum on “Was the recovery as much as we’d like?” He’ll lose that election, hands down. He has to frame the election as a referendum on “Do we want to return to the same policies that created the jobs crisis we’re clawing out of?” That election, he can win, particularly if there is a strong third party challenge from the right.