The Republican National Committee has primed the righteous outrage pump with an ad they're running against Harold Ford in the Tennessee Senate race. Many complaints have been raised about the ad, including a claim that it's racist, but I think the ad is just funny as hell. It takes all those tedious 'man on the street' ads, turns them on their ear, and pokes fun at the candidate.
From what I know about him, Ford is a bit of a prig. He's a socially conservative and fiscally liberal Democrat — the worst possible kind of Democrat, found in the Lieberman wing of the party. I guess we can just be thankful he didn't infiltrate the GOP like so many others of his ilk. He's self-righteous and humorless and it just tickles me a little bit to see an ad like this.
According to critics, many of the claims in the ad are misleading. Apparently, Ford supported doing away with the marriage penalty, and there's very little to link him to some of the other issues. Those are fair criticisms. What's less reasonable are the criticisms which say the ad is racist, primarily because it portrays a presumably promiscuous white woman gushing over Ford – who is African American, for those who didn't know it already. I have to think we're well past the day when racially mixed relationships were a campaign issue. Strom Thurmond acknowledged his mixed-race child and if he can do it, the stigma is pretty much dead. It really seems like reaching to try to turn this into a racial issue. Some critics have even said the hunter depicted is supposed to be in 'blackface,' which is just ludicrous.
I realize that, technically, this is an example of truly outrageous campaign mudslinging, but it's done with a certain amount of style and humor and I enjoy watching it a hell of a lot more than a lot of the more earnest ads out there. I'd rather see ads like this than film of a candidate playing with his kids and puppies. Aside from a couple of the issues, I don't even see it as that effective an attack on Ford. Do they really think voters will be scandalized because he went to the Playboy mansion? Plus, I don't live in Tennessee and don't care which of these fools gets elected, so I can just sit back and enjoy it.