Phoebe Connelly

Phoebe Connelly is a former web editor of the Prospect. Previously, she was managing editor of In These Times. She writes on political culture, human rights and feminism.

Recent Articles

THE AD WARS.

Depending on how you’re scoring at home, we’ve entered either Phase II, Phase III, or Phase IV of the presidential campaign, the post-Iowa-and-New Hampshire race to Michigan, for the Republicans, and South Carolina, for the Democrats. Since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have come out with fairly predictable here’s-the-candidate-giving-their-best-speech ads, for this week’s ad analysis we’ll examine what the other candidates have rolled out in the past few days. Let’s start with Rudy Giuliani, who is actually only competing now in Florida. This might be because a significant portion of the electorate there is elderly, and their diminished hearing and vision could slightly delay the inevitable process by which people exposed to Giuliani quickly come to realize they can’t stand him. Like the other Giuliani spots, this one seems to want to emphasize Rudy’s bleak spirit. He sits in a darkened room, his face half hidden in shadow, like Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now ...

PRE-N.H. AD ANALYSIS.

With the New Hampshire primary tomorrow, our weekly ad analysis examines the TV spots being offered by the two men poised to win this critical contest: Barack Obama and John McCain . McCain seems to have found himself here almost by accident, while Obama’s campaign is here because it’s doing almost everything right. The ads are no exception. Let’s start with this one from Obama: This ad portrays Obama as a kind of insider/outsider: yes, he’s in Washington, but in every way he is not of it. With the section that starts, “In Washington, he did what the others could not,” we see four still photos of Obama: one outside the White House, one in what looks like it could be a back hallway in a hotel, with chairs stacked up against a wall, one in an actual hearing room on Capitol Hill, and one speaking to a crowd. All four images set him apart. In the third, he is looking into the distance, with his mind seemingly on something larger and more important than the work at hand. In the fourth, he...

CHECKING OUT HUCK'S ADS.

As we continue with these weekly ad analyses, I suspect one of the main themes will be how amateurish and off-the mark so many of the ads are. So this week, I thought we’d look at one candidate’s ads, a selection that on first glance seems to be pretty good. They have reasonable production values and feature a candidate who is as good talking to the camera as any you’ll find. But these ads -- for flavor-of-the-week Mike Huckabee -- are extraordinarily weak. Up until now he hasn’t had much money to air them anyway, so it might not seem to matter all that much. But if he’s hoping for his television spots to give him a serious boost beyond what he’s already getting, he could have done a lot better. Let’s start with this one, which is a variation on the familiar bio ad, giving the candidate’s primary message and a few of the facts the campaign wants you to remember about him: The big problem that leaps out about this ad is that the audio and video tracks are sending two completely...

DEMOCRATS AND THE POLITICS OF FAILURE.

Are Democrats to blame for how little of their legislative agenda they've passed this year? Terence Samuel isn't so sure, but whether voters can be convinced is another issue: Congress, particularly the Senate, was designed to frustrate quick or easy maneuvers; the power is with the dissenters, and Republican senators have used it to full advantage. I think that Democrats have put up a good fight and have nothing to apologize for. If they are guilty of anything, it is of their willingness to take the long view, and the political hit, rather than just allow everything to grind to a halt. The suggestion that Reid should just let the Republicans filibuster ignores the responsibility Democrats have to keep the government functioning. They have to be aware, however, that their voters may not be quite so understanding or forgiving. Read the rest (and comment) here .

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