Monday, October 02, 2006

Hard Negative Ads

The Republicans have gone hard negative against Ted Strickland, the democratic candidate for governor here in Ohio. Strickland has been consistently ahead of the Republican candidate by a number well outside of the margin of error (often in excess of 10%). Here are some of the nasty, homophobic ads:

This hyperbolic set of "values ads" reeks of desperation. Both use text on the screen that warp voting against institutionalized discrimination into voting against "marriage." Apparently Ted Strickland is in favor of eliminating marriage, replacing it with wild sex parties, at which attendance will be mandatory, all across Ohio.

Besides showing just how desperate the republicans are in this race (You NEVER try an ad like this unless you have no other choice... the risk of boomerang is just too high) and show just how ugly the GOP gets when its cornered, these ads make me wonder about something. They play to identity, othering homosexuals. This is designed to fire their base of course... why is their base not fired? Part of it must be the Ohio GOP scandals, but those should be dragging down Mike DeWine as well, shouldn't they? But DeWine is neck and neck with his democratic counterpart.

Could it be... race? Could white, rural Ohio (I assume this is the GOP base here... it is everywhere else) just not be interested in coming out for Ken Blackwell, the African-American candidate the Republicans are running? Could these ads hope to encourage Ohio voters to think of themselves, not as white (or black, since the GOP has been hoping to make inroads among African-American voters for awhile) but rather as straight and "Christian"?

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