Ready or Not

Political ads dissected and explained.
Nov. 4 2000 10:59 PM

Ready or Not

"Lead" was produced by the Campaign Company for Gore-Lieberman 2000. Click hereto view the ad at Washingtonpost.com.

Advertisement

From: Jacob Weisberg
To: William Saletan

Jacob  Weisberg Jacob Weisberg

Jacob Weisberg is chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group and author of The Bush Tragedy. Follow him on Twitter.

If this ad seems nastier than George W. Bush's Parthian shot, the reason may have less to do with content than with tone. In "Nonsense," Bush calls Al Gore a liar, but does it with a measure of irony. "Lead," which is sort of the distilled essence of a negative ad, uses no such levity. It indicts Bush a social menace and a lightweight in the most direct and literal way possible.

The vision offered here is of Bush's Texas as hell on earth. The ad alternates an image of the Republican nominee with grim glimpses of life in his state. Everything in the ad contributes to a powerful sense of misery and dismay: the woozy, ominous piano music, the urgent voice of the announcer, the miasmic look of the brown-toned black-and-white footage. Bush himself is presented in super-slow motion in a way that renders his blank glance as steely glint of a hanging judge. Here is the full sequence of images and words:

1. Bush scowling ("As Governor, George W. Bush ...")

2. An oil derrick ("... gave big oil a tax break")

3. Bush scowling ("... while opposing health care")

4. Sick child in bed (" ... for 220,000 kids.")

5. Child with head on parent's shoulder ("Texas now ranks 50th in family health care.") 

6. Bush scowling ("He's left the ..."

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.