Mike Gravel, the unlikely presidential candidate who created what is perhaps the most beloved, abstruse, political campaign ad of the past decade, has got some competition in Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jeff Wagner.
Wager, a Democrat, has produced a video that Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire is calling “just outstanding.” In the video, Wager emerges from a lake to remind viewers that he will not be taken in by dark money or shady dealers. “I’m cool with making $100,000 a year,” said Wagner. “I will not take money from the developers. I will not take money from the political angle.”
The populist message recalls the idealism portrayed by Gravel, who promised not to take dirty money. It’s just a minute long.
Now compare that to Gravel’s ads “Rock” and “Fire,” two avant-garde, wordless things, produced by Otis College of Art and Design staff. The first, about three minutes long, shows Gravel staring blankly at the viewer for over a minute before heaving a large rock into a lake and walking slowly away.
The second opens with him collecting wood in a forest and staring into the resultant campfire. Then for seven minutes we watch the fire burn with Gravel’s website graphic superimposed.
Gravel’s second ad is reminiscent of another fabulous ad for Jeff Barth, the Democratic opponent to Republican Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. In it he wanders into a forest explaining why D.C. insiders are a bunch of “horse’s asses,” as fiddle music plays.
He also dons a hard hat, gesticulates wildly with a newspaper, and fires a loaded weapon — all in under five minutes! Be sure to watch at least as far as the part where he casually mentions that his daughters have husbands and straight teeth. We’re pretty sure there’s a policy proposal in there somewhere.
We leave you with a classic from the Alabama agriculture commissioner’s race.
With a backdrop including a horse, a cowboy hat, and a rifle, Dale Peterson asks Alabama Republicans for the nomination. In 71 seconds of uninterrupted brilliance — and the occasional crack of whip — Peterson calls his primary opponent a “dummy” while promising to name name and take no prisoners in his fight against “thugs and criminals” and “illegals bused in by the thousands.” We call this political approach the patriotic throat-punch.
And so ends our coverage of the best political campaign ads for candidates who went nowhere. Did we mention it’s Friday in Washington?
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.