David Weigel flags for us an amusing case of two politicians, one a congressional candidate in Tennessee, and one a candidate for agriculture commissioner in Alabama, who are running virtually identical ads produced by the same media consultant. It's not just the stock footage and the scripts that are almost identical but the fact that the two are standing in the same field next to the same tractor, and in one candidate's ad, you can see him talking to the other candidate. But that's not what I want to point out. The ad from Stephen Fincher tells you a lot about why Americans are cynical about politics:
"Stephen Fincher will stand up to Washington," it says. "Cut taxes to create jobs. Control wasteful spending. Stop expanding government. Expand freedom instead." Really? Here's a bold prediction: No he won't. Not because he'll be seduced by Washington's ways or because he doesn't actually want to do those things. He won't do them because if he wins, he'll be a freshman congressman in a body with 434 other members, who have to deal with the Senate and the president to do whatever it is they want to do. The idea that this guy is going to single-
handedly cut taxes, control spending, and stop the expansion of government is about as realistic as the idea that if we elect him, we'll all have whiter teeth and good fashion sense.
And I could be wrong about this, but it often seems like it's the most anti-government candidates who make the most sweeping claims about the national transformation that will occur if only you elect them. And then what happens? All the things the good folks in Tennessee thought were going to come about because of Stephen Fincher's election don't come to pass. They won't take this as evidence that Fincher himself ought to be voted out (especially since he'll be running against some commie Democrat), but it will certainly reassure them that government is broken and nothing can be accomplished.
-- Paul Waldman