"New Americans," "Once," and "Hard Things" were produced by Maverick Media for Bush for President. Click for a transcript of the ads.
From: Jacob Weisberg
To: William Saletan
These are technically the first presidential campaign ads, and they have a different look and feel from the earlier Bush "issue ads" produced by the Republican National Committee. Alex Castellanos made the RNC spots, which are fairly prosaic takes on Social Security and education. Bush's own production team at Maverick Media, which is headed by Mark McKinnon and Stuart Stevens, produced this slicker, more abstract and conceptual suite of ads. These commercials don't really deal with issues at all. They are image ads, which try to create a set of positive associations for George W. Bush without worrying us unduly about his policies.
In fact, you get the message of these commercials more clearly if you hit the "mute" button and just watch the pictures go by. Let's go through each of them frame by frame.
As this inventory indicates, the three ads are cut from a single pool of images, the way a suit jacket and pants are cut from the same bolt of cloth. When you see the ads repeatedly, as you might if you lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, or Florida, they more or less merge, mentally. I think that the goal is to create a visual sense of Bush's "vision" of the country.
And what can we say about that country? That it is a sunny, wholesome, and optimistic place where everyone is middle class, the weather is always balmy, and conflict is nowhere in evidence. The dominant emotion is less good cheer than a kind of deep joy at being alive in this kind of world. Babies are born into loving homes. Children learn in sun-soaked classrooms. Men take satisfaction in physical work. Elderly people engage in meaningful and satisfying leisure activities. Most of all, people work, play, and learn together across boundaries of age and race—indeed, without any seeming awareness of those lines at all. There's even interracial-dating, though only white-Hispanic, not white-black.
TODAY IN SLATE
Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola
Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is
Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.
I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.
It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
In Defense of HR
Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.