From witches to 'Aqua Buddha': why Election 2010 ads are so outrageous
Is Christine O'Donnell a witch? Does Rand Paul worship the 'Aqua Buddha'? These have been the subjects of two legitimate political ads in Election 2010. What's going on?
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Maybe, but at the moment these are just a few of the topics in political ads this midterm election cycle. Opening an ad for Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell of Delaware with the words “I am not a witch"?
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But one thing is for sure – outlandish, outrageous, downright kooky ad material, which not too long ago would have been banished to the catchy-but-unthinkable file, is pretty much all over the place.
And, says senior Republican strategist David Johnson, it is here to stay.
The political culture is adjusting to changing viewer and reader habits, he says. With so many sources of information, from TV to the Internet and mobile devices, it’s harder than ever to stand out.
“The more extreme, the more colorful your ad is to draw attention you will stand out,” he says. “It is very much like reality TV. The way to stand out is controversy."
California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina cast her primary opponent, Tom Campbell, as a demon sheep. Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, who has staked himself to a large lead in the polls, has characterized himself as "one tough nerd" in ads. Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate is running ads about a college prank in which opponent Rand Paul allegedly demanded that a blindfolded woman pray to the "Aqua Buddha."