As you might already know, one of the subjects I’m passionate about is communication, especially political communication. Despite the fact that I don’t agree with their current policies and tactics, I recognize the GOP’s mastery at political messaging, and I have written about how we Democrats should improve in this area with posts like Obamacare: That’s Right Obama Cares.
The other thing that you might know about me is that I’m an ardent Obama supporter and that with 30 days left before a close election, I believe that we need to rally behind the President more than ever. I’ve been pretty harsh with Ben Affleck and Buzz Bissinger for expressing disappointment in President Obama and switching his vote to Romney, respectively.
However, I like to call things as I see them and, as much as I’m behind President Obama, I don’t like his campaign’s Big Bird ad:
The first thing that I dislike about this ad is that it lacks the dignity that President Obama has always displayed even in the face of the worst attacks on his character and positions. It could have something to do with the fact that a big yellow bird is the ad’s protagonist, but I don’t think so.
I think it has more to do with the fact that the tone of the ad is sarcastic, meant to elicit an LOL response, but to claim that Big Bird is the mastermind behind Wall Street crooks like Bernie Madoff, even in jest, is not only silly, it’s reminiscent of the plethora of stupid comments that right-wing nut jobs have made in the last four years.
But the thing that bothers me the most about the ad has to do with missed opportunity. The ad could have had true political punch, it could have influenced voters to reject Romney and/or vote for Obama if it would have presented the facts seriously: 1. Romney supports Wall Street deregulation, and 2. If elected president, Romney will cut subsidies to programming that is vitally important to children in rural areas who often learn to read and count by watching Big Bird and friends on Sesame Street.
The question remains: If I, an Obamacrat, have had such a negative reaction to this ad, how will it impact undecided voters? What are they thinking about the President now? We really do need to get better at political messaging.
It is possible that I may be overanalyzing the issue, but here’s my bottom line: I love President Obama’s intelligence, vision and his customary gravitas. I’m not used to seeing him treating serious issues as a joke. If I were comfortable with jokers, I’d be voting for Romney/Ryan.
Author’s Note: According to the Huffington Post, Sesame Street has asked Obama campaign to take down the ad.