Rating: 2 stars
The polling is tomorrow, but the presidential election is over. Clinton wins. Dole loses. And voters stay home in record numbers.
Hey, don't take my word for it. My source is the Republican Party.
Yes, in one of the more astonishing gestures in the history of political advertising, congressional Republicans are essentially conceding the presidential race in order to generate interest in their own campaigns.
"What would happen if the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House?" the narrator asks, over antique-looking footage of a fortune teller and her crystal ball.
"Been there. Done that," he continues, sardonically, as the crystal ball reads not the future but the past.
"Remember? The largest tax increase in history. More wasteful Washington spending. A government-run healthcare scheme. The liberal special interests aligned with Clinton desperately want to buy back control of Congress .*.*. If we give the special interests a blank check in Congress, who's going to represent us?"
Forgetting for a moment that the "healthcare scheme" was defeated by a Democrat-controlled Congress, and forgetting that the formerly hot-button term "special interests" has been used so often and haphazardly as to have become almost meaningless, this spot poses an interesting question.
What, indeed, will happen if the Democrats rise again? The answer is almost certainly: far less than would have happened had a Republican Congress been complemented with President Dole. But the question may nonetheless resonate. For all the voter frustration with gridlock, polls do show Americans to be more comfortable with divided power than with monolithic power.
So this last, desperate, pathetic scare tactic could buoy the troops for one last charge to the polls.
Or not. The ad is so weighted with grim resignation, it could have the opposite effect.
To Republicans and other potential ticket splitters already fed up with the impotence, disingenuousness, uncivil tenor and superficiality of the Dole campaign, the message may instead be: Why fight the battles if you've already lost the war?