This (via Andrew Sullivan) is my new favorite campaign ad of 2010, for one Pamela Gorman, who's running for a congressional seat in Arizona. Watch, and then we'll discuss:
Except for the "I'm Pamela Gorman and I approve this message" at the end, Gorman is mute during the ad, either staring glassy-eyed into the camera or shooting guns of various types. In fact, there are no fewer than six separate shots of her shooting. While we do learn that she hates taxes -- a real policy issue! -- what this ad is mostly about is that Pamela Gorman loves shooting. Let's all look at her shooting. There she is, shooting. Am I the only one who sees this and thinks of those videos in the bargain bin at Blockbuster with titles like "Hot Chicks and AKs" that consist of nothing but girls in bikinis shooting assault rifles? You can call that sexist, but if you think the ad's producers didn't have something like that in mind, then I've got a bridge you might be interested in.
It isn't easy to come up with political ads that stand out, so you've got to give some credit to whoever came up with this idea. In a multi-candidate primary, having a memorable identity -- like, "She's the one that does the shooting in that ad" -- can be all you need. From what I can tell, Gorman seems to be the kind of nutball we're getting unsettlingly used to seeing running for office (see here, for instance). But this ad just might be enough to get her the Republican nomination in the conservative Arizona district where Republican Rep. John Shadegg is retiring. And that means that a year from now, she could be making our laws.
-- Paul Waldman