One of the few silver linings of navigating the crises of the century’s worst year to date is that for a brief moment political candidates competing in primary runoffs and the general election put their campaigns (and advertising spending) on hold out of respect for the situations — and because they knew it would be a waste of money as no one cared about which candidate could prove to be the most or least Trumpiest Trumpian of them all while we were battling a global pandemic and having protests against police brutality in cities across the country.
Both of these issues are still very present in our daily lives, but with the July 14 runoff less than a month away, campaigns have decided it’s time to get back on the trail and airwaves.
And, they are certainly making up for lost time, as the mud is a slingin’!
First, there is the Senate race.
Poor Jeff Sessions.
He should not have tossed his MAGA hat back in the ring for his old seat. It was time to hang that one up. Or, if I was him, burn it. Then pee on it.
Yes, yes, yes, I know the man brought it on himself in many ways, and many people find his views on everything from criminal justice to immigration extreme, or even abhorrent. But on a human level, has any other politician been so frequently and so publicly berated by the leader of the free world than him?
I really can’t think of anyone.
I’d rather someone hate me than pity me. And even if you despise his policies, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Sessions on some level. The first video ad he ran was more like a hostage video.
Even his slightly more joyful, recent radio ad (with 88-year-old Edwin Meese endorsing him) makes me kind of sad for him, too. Because most people respond to that ad with either “I didn’t know he was still alive!” or “Who?”
At least they answer the “Who?” in the ad (Ronald Reagan’s AG), but if you have to explain who your endorser is, it’s probably not a very good endorsement.
And, of course, the president has provided a plethora of clips for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville to use in his TV spots, with the latest featuring Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” asking Trump what his biggest regret was as president. Of all the many, many, many things Trump could have chosen, he said picking Sessions as his AG was it.
Brutal. (Although John Bolton may replace him soon.)
If the polling is accurate — and I think it probably is — Sessions is not only about to be kicked to the curb by the president, but also Alabamians. That’s got to be two really tough pills to swallow.
After his removal, Sessions should have just headed to his typewriter and penned a tell-all book, like many of his fellow former cabinet officials and advisors have, and who the president has described in equally glowing terms as “incompetent,” “overrated,” “dumb as a rock,” “wacko” and “liars.”
Maybe there is still time?
While the Republican runoff for Senate makes you feel sad, the one for the AL-1 congressional seat between Jerry Carl and Bill Hightower makes you feel sick.
Both Carl and Hightower have been generally regarded as good, well-liked public servants around here for many years. Carl has served as a Mobile County commissioner since 2012, and Hightower was a state senator who most recently had an unsuccessful bid for governor against Kay Ivey.
I actually heard a lot of people say they would be OK with either one of them winning. And that’s pretty rare — to have two good choices.
But after the last couple of weeks of listening to both campaigns’ ads full of outright lies or huge out-of-context stretches, it’s hard to think anyone would want either of them to represent us at this point.
Carl’s ads in the primary had more red meat for the base than a Texas de Brazil steakhouse. It was hard to discern if there were any complete sentences or just a list of all the popular phrases on the advertising checklist: “on-demand baby killers,” “gun stealers,” “open borders,” “build the wall,” “illegals,” “fake news,” “Trump haters,” etc.
Yawn. This whole approach is so tired.
Those ads of Carl’s were an insult to our collective intelligence and the saddest display of pandering to the base in this race — that is, until the pro-Hightower PAC, Club for Growth, introduced us to Earl and Floyd.
If you would like to know how stupid a Washington, D.C.-based PAC thinks Alabamians are, you must listen to this ad — it’s been running on FM TALK a lot lately. Let’s just say, I’m pretty sure they think most of us can’t tie our shoes.
“Earl” and “Floyd” are the main characters in this ad. (Eye roll). I am sure the genius copywriters toyed with using Bubba, but thought, “No, Bubba may be too cliché and stereotypical even for those morons in Alabama. Let’s go with Floyd.” So much better!
And, of course, they are watching a ballgame as they start to talk about the AL-1 race. Because you know all we can do down here is watch football and f*ck goats and/or mini horses or other domesticated animals.
As they somehow manage to turn their pea brains from the game (a miracle!) to the race, this is when the ad goes from infuriating to hilarious.
Mainly because if you have ever met Bill Hightower, he is like the James Bond of South Alabama. I would vote him the local politico most likely to be able to shake up (not stir) a terrific Grey Goose martini while wearing a Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo. The man has an MBA from Vanderbilt for heaven’s sake and probably has five different kinds of soft cheeses in his refrigerator drawer right now.
He’s fancy! And I’ve always liked him for that reason. He doesn’t try to purposefully talk like a “Bubba” (because he’s not!) and he doesn’t talk to Alabamians like we are all a bunch of Earls and Floyds. Because we are not! It was refreshing!
So it is extremely amusing (or depressing — I am not sure which) the PAC ad for Alabama’s most sophisticated and debonair politician goes on to make fun of Jerry Carl via the voice of “Earl” for voting as a county commissioner to give money to “that contemporary art museum downtown.” Earl said this with the level of disgust that might have been warranted if they had voted to give $100,000 to the Center for the Promotion and Intentional Spread of Venereal Worms and Intestinal Parasites.
And Floyd replies to this egregious act of supporting an art museum in the most redneck, over-the-top, stereotypical voice imaginable, “Fuuuur whuuuut?”
Earl says, “Well, they had a show with a tumbleweed in a plastic box … an artist that does proto-feminist stuff is up next!”
People in Alabama can appreciate and support art?!? Gasp! What is the meanin’ of this nonsense, Earl? I am going to slip on my best pair of tattered dungarees and try to find my one pair of shoes, so I can march right on down to vote against Jerry Carl!
Oh. My. God. It’s beyond ridiculous.
I really don’t know if I have ever been more insulted as an Alabamian than I have by this ad with Earl and Floyd. And we get insulted and demeaned by these outside groups who THINK we are all a bunch of toothless sh*tkickers a lot.
Someone actually listened to this and said, “These idiots are going to eat this up!” and signed off on it. This ad is really next level, so congrats to Club for Growth on that.
I know the candidate and the PAC are supposed to operate independently of one another, but if I were Bill Hightower I would be so embarrassed by this one I would have to put on my 400-thread-count pajamas and crawl under my 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton duvet (mine is 800, I am not berating good taste in linens) and cry.
It’s just so disappointing.
Carl’s ads are not much better than this one. And there is still time left for them both of them to get down even further in the gutter — if that’s even possible.
If there is one thing Earl and Floyd do get right in this ad is that we should “forget those jokers in Congress.”
Or at least the ones who want to be so badly they are willing to say or do anything.
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