Tennessee's Horny Ford

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anti-Ford ad.jpg

Maybe I'm racially insensitive, but I don't get the uproar over the ad in which a hot chick says she met Harold E. Ford, the Tennessee Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, at a Playboy party and asks him to call her. A Vanderbilt expert on political advertising says it "makes the Willie Horton ad look like child's play." Really? It's worse for voters to think that beautiful women want to have sex with you that it is for them to believe that you let a dangerous criminal out of prison to commit rape and murder? I think Michael Dukakis would disagree. He could have benefited from this sort of slander, if anyone would have believed it.

I know, I know: Ford is black, and the actress in the commercial is white, so obviously the folks who produced the spot were targeting Tennesseeans enlightened enough to vote for a black Senate candidate but racist enough to change their minds if they suspect he might date white women. Maybe. But it seems to me their point was that Ford is a shallow, morally loose pretty boy, especially since the spot opens with another fake man-on-the-street interview in which a black woman says, "Harold Ford looks nice. Isn't that enough?" Scurrilous, yes. Racist, no.

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  1. Jacob, I don’t know if you’re racially insensitive or not, but you’re certainly naive about politics in the South if you really think the point of this ad is that Ford used to attend parties with good-looking women.

  2. How about jungle-ish tom-tom drums? Click my name for explanation.

  3. I think the underlying message was that Ford would offer up attractive white women to Kong as soon as he comes into power.

  4. Sounds like they’re claiming Ford is a heterosexual.

  5. Haven’t you guys figured out that it’s what’s on the outside that counts?

  6. If an ad portrayed Joe Lieberman inviting a young Christian virgin over to make some matzo, I’ll bet you’d consider it racist.

  7. No, Dan, the point of that particular fake interview was to point out the fact that Mr. Ford attended a Playboy party. Playboy is a jerkoff rag, and Playboy parties are notorious for being filled with sexual activities. Neither of these associations are seen as positive things for politicians, who are supposed to be model pillars of morality and “values”. The fact is, Playboy is synonymous with sex.

    “Attending parties with good-looking women” is a far cry from “Attending a Playboy party”, Dan, and you damn well know it.

  8. What do you do if you’re a GOP election consultant and your base is disillusioned? Terrorism isn’t working and jingism is so 2002. Religious “persecustion” by the scientists got beaten into the ground last year, so what’s left? Race-baiting! An oldy but a goody. “He’s comin fer our daughters, get the pitchfork maw!”

  9. Evan!, I see your point except I don’t think Playboy is really seen as all that shocking anymore. Many people don’t even consider it pornography – compared to the stuff out there on the internet it’s downright respectable.

    On the other hand, racist messages in this day and age can’t be blatant…they have to be part of the subtext.

  10. i laughed.

    i find it hard to believe they did it in that manner, though – the production values are damn good.

  11. The issue in Tennessee is that Harold Ford attended a Playboy-sponsored party, attempted to deny it with Clintonian truthiness (he said he never attended a Playboy Mansion party, when the party he went to was in Washington), and is now admitting that he went. It’s a small beer incident, but it was part of a larger attack on Ford’s high living in general (big bills at expensive restaurants and hotels, etc.) that portrayed him as a small-p playboy rather than a nose-to-the-grindstone, hard-working legislator.

    This isn’t a racial issue, but the general press instinct is to accuse all Republican politicians of being racists. Democrats can attack black Republicans without danger, but if a Republican politician makes the mildest criticism of a black Democratic opponent, the press will turn on him or her as a racist.

  12. Jacob,

    I had the same feeling, but I live in California. Is interracial dating still an issue west of the Sierra?

    Of course, for all the talk about the race-baiting, the actual ad is more about taxes, guns, North Korea. One of the better ads I’ve seen this year, actually.

    On the other hand, TNR has a piece up today about immigrant-bashing ads Republicans are running. They don’t bother with any codes and subtexts, nosirree.

  13. Where the white women at?

    The Democrats don’t seem to learn that the point of these things is to get them in a frothy frenzy and get the ad 1000% times more publicity than it would have gotten otherwise. Sort of like some allegedly shocking performance artist getting acres of free publicity when the prudes, right on cue, get all outraged.

    So the thing to do instead is to make an ad where folks on the street talk about Corker and farm animals.

    Come on losers, this stuff isn’t hard. You really should be paying me if you can’t find someone else to think of this stuff for you.

  14. This isn’t a racial issue, but the general press instinct is to accuse all Republican politicians of being racists. Democrats can attack black Republicans without danger, but if a Republican politician makes the mildest criticism of a black Democratic opponent, the press will turn on him or her as a racist.

    Well, the GOP made that bed, and they can lie in it…

  15. I’m with you on this Jake. The ad is so stupid it makes me want to vote for the guy. But I’m astonished to find you so incognizant to trot out this chestnut:

    obviously the folks who produced the spot were targeting Tennesseeans enlightened enough to vote for a black Senate candidate but racist enough to change their minds if they suspect he might date white women.

    The point is to infuriate the racists enough to take time out from beer swilling and go vote.

    Side note; As someone with relatives in western TN, I get down there a couple of times a year. West TN strikes me as less racist area than say MI, both in the rural areas and the cities. (Full disclosure, I am a middle aged white male.) Perhaps this plays better over in the Appellation east end.

  16. I think a lot of you are missing Jacob’s point: are the “He’s cummin fer our daughters, maw” voters about to vote for a black guy anyway? The ad is clearly about his Playboy lifestyle. Maybe they just had a hard time finding a good looking black female republican to act in the ad.

  17. Why is this news in 2006? I believe the guy is single!

  18. I see your point except I don’t think Playboy is really seen as all that shocking anymore. Many people don’t even consider it pornography – compared to the stuff out there on the internet it’s downright respectable.

    Dan, I think you should return to your original point about the South, but this time turn the gaze inward.

  19. Ethan, I was born and raised and still live in the South.

    And I will continue to maintain that interracial relationships are still considered more taboo here than Playboy magazine.

  20. Everyone knows that Lieberman is really a Dark Lord of the Sith, and can use the force to get laid.
    See: http://www.spudart.org/blog/images/2003/liebermans_darkside.jpg

  21. I don’t know how many people actually logged into nytimes.com to read that article, but having just done so, I must say, the liberal bias is very strong. It’s pretty amazing actually. It’s one of those “people say this” when really the person saying it is the reporter. They even say that Corker is leading Ford 49% to 44%, but if Ford wins, it will be a roadmap for Democrats on how to win in the south. Then it talks about old white ladies reaching out for his hand at rallies and saying they’re praying for him. Wow.

  22. are the “He’s cummin fer our daughters, maw” voters about to vote for a black guy anyway?

    Probably not. Are ads meant to get voters to switch, or are they meant to effect voter motivation regarding, “do I bother to vote or go to Taco Bell”? I’ve seen very few ads that seem to be aimed at getting my vote. Most ads are aimed at getting me not to vote for the other guy.

    I don’t get the racist thing either, but then interracial couples do not strike me as unusual. My dad on the other hand always seems somewhat shocked by it. Is it a generational thing?

    What I find annoying about the ad, a point I find annoying about this particular slant of Republicans anyway, is that the worst they can say about the guy is that he might find girls attractive and might, even worse, have sex with them. The bastard might even like parties!

  23. And I will continue to maintain that interracial relationships are still considered more taboo here than Playboy magazine.

    And I will continue to wonder what your response has to do with what I said.

  24. Racism still does exist in the south, but the times do change. I think that the white voters who find Ford’a ethnicity upsetting in some way are already lost to him anyway. I don’t think this ad will add many more (if any at all) to that total.

    The ad strikes me more as an effort to anger black voters, especially female black voters. The message being: “See, he’s not on your team. He’d rather date white girls and hangout with really rich white folk.” That will hurt Ford because Democrats rely on very high turnout from black voters to provide their margin of victory.

  25. Yeah, I’m right with Mr. Sullum on this. The woman at the end of the commercial (a woman whom I’ve come to admire very much in the past day or so, by the way) isn’t meant to inspire racist alarm, she’s there to suggest that Ford has a bimbo addiction, a la Clinton, and is therefore somehow unfit for public office. And I’ll go a bit further and add that the uproar over this seems to me to demonstrate the unpleasant speed and eagerness with which a lot of white liberal non-southerners find completely unreconstructed anti-black racists under the bed whenever they discuss southern electoral politics. Having said that, I assume that, if there are any responses to this post of mine, they’ll include one from someone saying, man, you are naive, I live down south and you have no idea how big the race card is here, leaving me to say, well then, shut my mouth. I think there’s already been a few comments like that but I’m stealing time from work to ramble on about this anyway so no revises.

    Still, that woman doesn’t really seem like the pure vessel of white southern virtue you’d expect if this ad were about black sexual rapacity. Like Groucho said, fighting for that lady’s honor is clearly more than she’s ever done. But maybe that’s part of the slickness of the ad.

    Soething else, though: these funny political ads: do you think they work? I mean, as much as everyone hates the grainy-photo, horror-movie music attack ad formula (OK, not everybody), those commercials at least rub one’s nerves the wrong way and associate discomfort with the target, probably. This anti-Ford ad, it makes me think, from its tone as much as its content, that if Ford’s elected, hilarious hijinks will ensue. Me, I like hijinks, they don’t even have to be sexy, Playboy-mansion style.

    And FINALLY, that guy’s comment (in the commercial), “thanks to Ford I can pay taxes even when I’m dead,” or whatever, that’s the first Republican “framing” of the estate tax thing that’s struck a chord with me. The “death tax” term always struck me as silly. I should mention, I like “Reason” a lot but I don’t consider myself a straight-up Libertarian; I’m more like one of those liberal tools I gripe about in the first paragraph.

  26. Ford is black??

  27. Does it make me racially insensitive if I didn’t even realize that Harold Ford was black?

  28. I understand Ford has a longer, thicker platform.

    He can also filibuster all night…

  29. Damn, that was a funny ad. I didn’t know the Stupid Party had it in them.

    And for those who think the ad is racist: stop projecting, people.

  30. ?Racism still does exist in the south, but the times do change. I think that the white voters who find Ford’a ethnicity upsetting in some way are already lost to him anyway. I don’t think this ad will add many more (if any at all) to that total.?

    I agree. Having lived in the south and in the north, I think an interracial relationship is much more shocking to rural Yankees then Southerners. In the south everyone works with at least some blacks, patronizes black business, went to school with blacks, ect. I can?t believe how openly racist people are in the small Northern PA town I just moved to (99.7% white, literally).

  31. The purpose of the Playboy party reference in that ad was to attampt to undercut Ford’s effort to appeal to religious types by previously airing an ad that showed Ford talking from a church pew about where he learned right from wrong. The point of the ad was to portray him as a hypocrite.

  32. Why, of course the ad is racist! You see, in a national race where every dollar matters, the RNC are going after that most sought-after constituency, the Tennessee Klan member who is obviously against race-mixing, but was actually going to vote for Ford, until they pointed this out. Those wascally Wepublicans!

  33. Why, of course the ad is racist! You see, in a national race where every dollar matters, the RNC is going after that most sought-after constituency, the Tennessee Klan member who is obviously against race-mixing, but was actually going to vote for Ford, until they pointed this out. Those wascally Wepublicans!

  34. Personally, I think your average redneck is more likely to vote for someone who goes to Playboy parties than someone who does not.

    So, if this ad is supposed to be targeted at rednecks who Fear the Black Man ™, it probably backfired.

    I suspect, thought, it was meant to remind/reinforce to the electorate at large that Ford is the privileged son of a powerful political dynasty.

  35. I might just be naive about racial attitudes in the South (living as I do way up here in enlightened Missouri), but my first response to the charges of “racism” in the ad is that the critics of that aspect must be doing an awful lot of projecting.

    I think the underlying message was that Ford would offer up attractive white women to Kong as soon as he comes into power.

    Waaa … besaa … KOONNNNNNG!

    PS: How much for the golden woman? In the commercial, I mean?

  36. This whole thread is totally surreal given the fact that even Justin Timberlake is blacker than Harold Ford Jr.

  37. I’ve got a white wife who obviously wishes she’d met him at some point, Playboy party or elsewhere, judging by the comments I hear every time he appears on the boob tube.

    Maybe it’s just me (definitely no Democrat), but I watch the ad and just think “wow, he got to attend a Playboy party!”. Pretty good ad, IMO.

  38. This really is all too silly.

    If you want to project, in mere seconds mind you, the image of a bimbo-floozy, who are you going to use?

    Anna Nicole or Oprah?

  39. Anyone up for a race card game?

  40. I found the ad to be more of a clever indictment of moronic Republican voters.

    Wait, is that not what they meant?

  41. I might just be naive about racial attitudes in the South (living as I do way up here in enlightened Missouri), but my first response to the charges of “racism” in the ad is that the critics of that aspect must be doing an awful lot of projecting.

    Uh-oh, I’ve been flanked with the “only a racist can recognize racism” argument!

  42. “I know, I know: Ford is black, and the actress in the commercial is white, so obviously the folks who produced the spot were targeting Tennesseeans enlightened enough to vote for a black Senate candidate but racist enough to change their minds if they suspect he might date white women.”

    No, it’s targetting Tennessee “traditionalists” who are frustrated or apathetic enough to stay home on election day, but who are racist enough to get off their butts and vote against a miscengenationist. Everything the Republicans are dong right now is about turnout.

  43. “And I’ll go a bit further and add that the uproar over this seems to me to demonstrate the unpleasant speed and eagerness with which a lot of white liberal non-southerners find completely unreconstructed anti-black racists under the bed whenever they discuss southern electoral politics.”

    Yeah, you know, like all the charges that Corker is running a racist camapaign that were flying about before this ad came out.

    Like…um…you know…when…uh….hmmmmmm.

    Here in Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee for governor is a black man, Deval Patrick. Throughout the campaign, his white Republican opponent has been running ads about how “soft on crime” he is because he used to be a defense attorney, and once paid for a DNA test for a convict. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth about “attack ads,” but zero charges of racism.

    Then the tone of the ads changed subtly, and began to accuse Patrick of “associating with murderers, rapists, and thugs.” Thugs. There had never been a case brought up in which Patrick was associating with gang members, or even defended one, but for some reason, as he began to pull ahead in the polls, the ads changed from “Deval Patrick sticks up for criminals” to “Deval Patrick associated with thugs.”

    There is qualitatively different subtext to that charge, and you’d have to willfully blind not to notice it.

  44. Now listen he-uhh Kingfish, iss time we be doin’ sumpin’ ’bout all dis miscengenationism!

  45. It’s pretty funny that the Republicans are criticising Ford for being *openly heterosexual.* The appropriate response ad is obvious…

    A criticism for a young man going to one playboy party and flirting? It’s pretty fucking lame; Ford should take it as a complement coming from the party of dirty old–and sometimes pedophilic–men.

  46. How old are you, Jacob? Have you ever lived in the South?

    For a significant number of Souterners, the possibility of a black man coupling with a white woman is a highly incendiary subject?-what do you think many lynchings were about? Fortunately, those who hold such racist views appear to be diminishing in number, but it is the evil remainder to whom this odious ad is targeted. The ad, even if not racist per se, panders to (mostly older) racist voters.

    The Constitution of the State of Tennessee from 1870 until 1977 included an express prohibition of interracial marriages. The referendum to repeal this provision passed by a very narrow margin. Those who voted in that referendum were born no later than 1959. While I don?t know the age breakdown of those who voted yes and those who voted no, I would surmise intuitively that the votes for repeal would skew younger.

    The ad in question is niche advertising, designed to boost turnout in a small segment that, at least since the days of George Wallace, has overwhelmingly supported Rethuglicans. Current polling indicates the race between Rep. Ford and Mayor Corker to be within the margin of error. Every vote in this election is important; control of the Senate may well turn on Tennessee and Virginia. The target of the RNC ad is voters who are old enough to remember the Jim Crow era?specifically, the racists who remember that era fondly.

  47. See a tongue-in-cheek visual that gives Mr. Mehlman a dose of his own “Innuendo” medicine…here:

    http://www.thoughttheater.com

  48. The reaction to this ad is what you’d expect, given that there is a significant number of people who seek out examples of racism and (surprise!) find it everywhere. I’d also point out that if it was a black woman who appeared at the end of the ad, you ALSO be hearing cries of racism, for making disparaging assumptions about the morals of black women. So there’s no way to win, really.

  49. >I’d also point out that if it was a black woman who appeared at the end of the ad, you ALSO be hearing cries of racism, for making disparaging assumptions about the morals of black women.

    Agreed. It would have been very foolish to use a black woman to portray the hussy in this ad.

    As for the different theories about how the woman’s whiteness might have been intended to influence people to the Republicans’ benefit– maybe the creators of the ad were just throwing it in there to see if and how it might work to their advantage. The issue of interracial relationships is still incendiary in the south, and as Dan T. said, racist slurs have to be part of the subtext in this day and age — at least if anyone actually expects to get away with making them at all.

  50. Dunno, just seemed like a normal political ad to me. Nobody even had a southern accent in that ad – it could have been for a Montana candidate as well as any other state. I didn’t see the racist part with the white woman – if you hate interacial coupling, you wouldn’t probably be considering voting for a black man anyway. I saw more that it was a morality thing, what with him hooking up with dumb, loose, blond chicks.

    I can’t really believe I’m even responding on this thread, the whole thing seems so silly.

  51. Innuendo? Isn’t that where you put an Italian suppository?

  52. Is she naked? I have to wonder.

  53. What do you suppose would happen if the Republicans were to accuse Ford of “slavishly” supporting the the Democratic party line?

  54. If a naked woman gave Corker an election, would Asian-Americans be offended by the pun?

  55. Harold Ford is pretty light-skinned, so it looks like miscegination is a family tradition for him. He should embrace his heritage.

    I would also say that the women in Playboy generally appear more attractive than the one in the ad, but she doesn’t have the benefit of heavy airbrushing, so I won’t hate.

  56. I’d also point out that if it was a black woman who appeared at the end of the ad, you ALSO be hearing cries of racism, for making disparaging assumptions about the morals of black women. So there’s no way to win, really.

    Yes there is. Use a white Playboy party woman, but also (though digital image manipulation) portray Ford as a blond, blue-eyed white man.

  57. Some googling has turned up info that Harold Ford Sr. was a pretty polarizing figure in Tennessee politics. The fact that his son is running for statewide office probably isn’t lost on most Tennesseans.

    I’d vote for someone for being a player/playboy, but I also wouldn’t ever live in Tennessee, which is the capital of redneck music. Sounds to me he has his work cut out for him.

  58. It is not stretching or projecting to read a racist subtext into that ad. Many people, both white & black, are very uncomfortable with “race mixing.” I have tried to set friends up with other friends who impressed me as very reasonable, progressive thinkers who then blew my mind by not being interested when they discovered that the prospective partner was not of their race. I have known other people who did not consider themselves racist, but would make jokes about dating black chicks, with the understanding that that would never happen. Combine these somewhat common attitudes with the Southern stereotype of the “buck” who lusts after white women, and it seems clear to me that the creators of the ad were either among the most ignorant political campaigners ever, or they purposefully exploited the subtle yet pervasive racism that still infects our country.

    …I also wouldn’t ever live in Tennessee, which is the capital of redneck music.

    Memphis & Nashville are great music cities. I was not a fan of country music until I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame. Since then, I have made special trips to Nashville just to catch shows at the Ryman. I love that city. I could never live there, however. They seem like they aren’t the South when you visit, but I have been told by folks who have lived there that if you stay too long they treat you like a dirty yankee.

  59. You guys are missing some very obvious points here.

    1) All the shots were about policies except for the black chick saying he “looked good” and the white chick (with no visible clothing) insinuating sex. It kind of stands out …

    2) Corker’s own (radio) ads have tribal drum beats playing in the background when Ford is criticized about his Playboy attendance. Fucking obvious shit, this is.

    I don’t think this stuff will really hurt him, so I agree with that particular point of the post, but put this together the the darkened flyers and the ads that mention “black” about 12 times, implying that he doesn’t care as much about white voters to boot, and you don’t have to be a political scientist to see what is going on.

    (Even?) the average commenter at Reason should possess the aptitude to figure this out …

  60. highnumber:

    “it seems clear to me that the creators of the ad were either among the most ignorant political campaigners ever, or they purposefully exploited the subtle yet pervasive racism that still infects our country.”

    I think you’re right. And having grown up in the South, I’d say there is no way that in Tennessee the creators of the ad were not aware that they would push people’s buttons by using a white woman. I mean, I don’t dispute that racism exists across the nation. People in most regions of the country are just more liable to hide it. However, within the last 5 years, while in South Carolina, I have twice had the experience of a complete stranger making blatantly racist comments to me in the most casual way, assuming that because I’m white I would have no objection. And I can’t really believe that would happen in California, though I can’t specifically speak to the less urban regions of the state.

    Having now seen a photo of Ford, I think they were making race an issue in more ways than one. Southerners do tend to believe in the one-drop rule, many still genuinely believe that miscegenation is against God’s plan, and many just plain have a need to keep black people “in their place.” Given how completely obvious is Ford’s white ancestry, and given that he is a man with very high social status, using a white woman for that particular role in the ad is bound to trigger fear in racists about the “white race” disappearing, being diluted, etc. After all, if Ford produces one more generation with a white partner, it’s quite likely that those offspring would be able to successfully pass for white.

    People can say it’s silly to perceive intent to exploit racism in the ad, but I think it’s naive not to.

  61. This discussion is ridiculous. The crtiticsm is that he went to a Playboy party. To illustrate that fact, they wanted to use a model who looks like a Playmate. Go back over the past decade and count the number of black playmates. Case closed. The real outrage here is that Ford is getting blasted for attending a “Playboy” party with a bunch of other actors and celebs. Big deal. That right there is enough reason to vote against Corker. But then Ford had to ruin it by acting like such a pussy and trying to fool people into thinking he didn’t go. Screw both of them.

  62. No, it’s targeting Tennessee “traditionalists” who are frustrated or apathetic enough to stay home on election day, but who are racist enough to get off their butts and vote against a miscengenationist. Everything the Republicans are dong right now is about turnout.

    point of evidence.

    You know something is definitely not racist whenever joe claims that it is.

  63. Did you see the next video in line? Corker’s daughters have some serious potential. Way hotter than the Bush twins. Corker for president in 2008!

    I actually think the ad’s brilliant. It works on so many levels. I suppose it might provoke a twinge in a few otherwise politically inactive racists that might make them get up and vote, but think of all the other people that might get affected. (In the interest of openness, they had me %100 at “guns”; I pretty much vote whichever way the NRA recommends)
    Don’t think for a minute that there aren’t portions of the black community (especially women) that have plenty of nasty things to say about black philanderers. I suspect it’s not an accident that the black woman is admiring his looks from afar, while the white woman appears to know him.
    Even a non-racist might, having watched this ad, stop to wonder why it is that the large majority of “Ladies’ men” in politics are Democrats. There are plenty of people that don’t want to put another guy like that in power. Sure, there’s an occasional Republican that gets caught in sexual immorality of some kind or another, but usually their careers are over. Whereas on the Democrat’s side, we’ve got Clintons, Kennedys, that dude that actually had sex with the page and served six more terms, Willie Brown, et. cetera.

  64. For the people who see racism in this ad, it says more about where your own head is at, and your low opininion of voters in places like Tennessee than it does about the creators of the ad.

  65. Whatever the racial implications of the ad (and what a tired subject *that* is), it certainly is amateurish, and mostly implies that Tennessee Republicans view their constituents as a bunch of rubes.

    Since I view the choice between Republicans and Democrats as mostly a non-choice, unlike some of the obvious partisans on this board, I expect at least to get some entertainment value out of their begging for my vote. In other words, get some hotter women in the ads, please.

    Or at least make scurrilous accusations that are more entertaining. George Allen has a good thing going with that child-porn shit against Webb. Maybe some subtle accusations about the size of his manhood would be a good followup. Could make a nice racial tie-in there, too, and drag in all of the fun from southside Virginia.

    If we can’t have limited government, at least give us some damn entertainment for our tax dollars!

  66. “The Democrats don’t seem to learn that the point of these things is to get them in a frothy frenzy and get the ad 1000% times more publicity than it would have gotten otherwise. “

    Quite right. It’s a brilliant ploy to make the message viral. It worked – just look at the length of this comment thread. It also draws out Democratic bile (“Willie Horton” indeed) that does nothing to help them with the crucial Independent voters.

    I agree with ‘SuperMike’. It’s a very effective ad, doing exactly what it’s designed to do. It won’t hurt their candidate substantially except among those who weren’t going to vote for him anyway. It raises awareness of him. And the garment-renting, histrionic displays of outrage among the Dem faithful will take them off-message. Nice job.

  67. I think MJ has got it right. I heard it was a racist ad and after watching it couldn’t figure out what was racist about it.

    I live in the deep south near places where Rebel flags are not that uncommon. I guess us hicks are just dense because the racist part passed right over my head. Actually the “your right Harold, I do have too many guns” was much more effective but then I’m just a gun-tottin’ southern hick.

  68. “How about jungle-ish tom-tom drums? Click my name for explanation.”

    There are drums mixed into the music of a campaigns ad, so this clown jumps on it to sling cheap accusations of racism. Drums and/or other dark musical tones are used in audio media to denote a threat or ‘evil’ presence (think Darth Vader). They insert a choir in the background when the candidate they favor is mentioned. It’s the way messaging is made, seen it a thousand times, nothing ‘racist’ about it. But I guess if you just want to make a charge, you can make it. Nothing to stop you from making a fool of yourself if you’re so inclined.

  69. If the commercial had used a loose-looking black woman, it would have been panned as, well, you know….

    The man just can’t catch a break around here.

  70. Dang. Who’d think Democrats would find racism in a commercial criticizing a black politician. Totally blindsides me.

  71. “For the people who see racism in this ad, it says more about where your own head is at, and your low opininion of voters in places like Tennessee than it does about the creators of the ad.”

    Are you referring to the Republicans who criticized the ad, or the RNC that took it down?

  72. so obviously the folks who produced the spot were targeting Tennesseeans enlightened enough to vote for a black Senate candidate but racist enough to change their minds if they suspect he might date white women.

    Bonus Possibility – maybe the ad is meant to turn off black women irritated that Ford is dating outside his own race (I am scarcely an authority on Southern black culture, but have read of such things).

  73. Mr. Snitch has it exactly right. Because of the over-the-top reaction of liberal partisans – who reflexively think of white Southerners as racists and bigots – he most significant effect of this ad is to remind Tennessee voters that if the Democrats win, they’ll be governed by people who see them as the source of most problems in American life. They’ll be reminded that a lot of Democrats want to inflame the racial tension in the country for partisan ends. And they’ll be reminded that a lot of liberal sophisticates on the coasts look down on them and view them as boobs to be manipulated and reconstructed.

  74. “I have tried to set friends up with other friends who impressed me as very reasonable, progressive thinkers who then blew my mind by not being interested when they discovered that the prospective partner was not of their race.”

    I am speaking as someone who has been in an interracial relationship for 14 years, an interracial marriage for 11, and the father of an “interracial” child. Its wrong to assume racism is at the root of a persons reluctance to date outside their race. Interracial relationships can be more difficult, even before factoring in that one will have to deal with the minority of Americans openly hostile to “miscegenation” or “race-mixing”.

    As for the add, I doubt it never occurred to any of the people behind it that implying a black politician was having serial affairs with attractive young white women might help his opponent marginally in drumming up the Klan vote. But anyone who honestly thinks that was the primary purpose of the bimbo portion of the add, let alone the add as a whole, is a fool. The add, from beginning to end, is aimed at painting Ford as a lightweight prettyboy running a content free campiagn with no serious ideas.

    If the only criticism they can come up with is to scream “RACISM!” they’re pretty much playing into the hands of the RNC. “Vote for me or you’re a bigot” is probably NOT an effective campaign response to a charge of being a slacker playboy.

  75. Just to clarify, I don’t think exploiting race was the primary purpose of the ad. I think it was generally making him look like a player and a party boy. I agree with whoever said they could not have used a black woman for that role, but having to use a white woman gave the ad an extra kick of which they must have been aware.

    As to what types of people it might affect in this way or that — turning black women off him because he might date “outside his race” (though clearly he is bi-racial at least, and can’t really be said to have a race unless you do believe in the one-drop rule), rousing lazy racists to vote, or just rousing a controversy that would get people paying attention to Ford — what difference does it make? What makes anyone think it has to be just one?

    Advertisers are probably more interested in what might work than they are with *why* it might work. I bet they’re willing to try all kinds of things. Like, I have no doubt that alcohol companies would hide little skulls and crossbones in an icecube in a liquor ad, but that has nothing to do with whether I think it would have a subliminal influence on people.

    And by the way, I’m not outraged by the ad at all. I just think it was a cheap shot. What else is new?

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