It opens with an angled shot looking upward at the U.S. Capitol dome, through trees. Over it is superimposed a red line, as if to suggest a graph of an economic indicator, and general direction is down. The effect is very busy without being distracting; there’s a lot going on visually. The word DEFICITS flashes out of the background, in white block letters, growing larger and then imploding to normal size. The same treatment is used for the BAILOUTS, for PORK BARREL SPENDING, and for $12 TRILLION DEBT (announced as “a twelve trillion dollar debt”). Each word is read by a voice-over. The last of these word images is WASHINGTON IS BROKEN. Instead of imploding, the words dissolve into fragments, as if to emphasize “broken.” A Dallas Morning News headline appears at the bottom of the screen: Positive signs noted in Texas economy. Now it’s the Texas Capitol that flashes on the screen, with a voice-over: “In Texas, Governor Rick Perry proves that conservative leadership works.” The next scene is of Perry attending a ribbon-cutting at what appears to be the new Caterpillar plant in Seguin. He is wearing a blue dress shirt and a red tie and standing before a group of men in company work clothing. All the faces are white. Voice over: “The only governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending–twice.” “Cut general revenue spending twice” appears at the bottom of the screen in smaller white letters. The scene shifts to a bike shop. It’s hard to tell from the video whether the person in the picture is Perry, informally dressed, or a customer. The voice-over says, “Governor Perry kept his promise to reduce taxes for forty thousand small businesses, creating more jobs,” and at the bottom of the screen, “Texas adds 37,900 jobs,” appears in smaller type, along with a reference to a supporting Morning News story. We see Perry in a brown patterned suit and a gold tie, meeting and greeting two workers in hard hats, who could be Hispanic. A quick shot shows a Perry rally, with supporters holding signs (“Keep Perry,” “Say No to Higher Taxes”). The final scene returns to the original theme. “While Washington gives us politics,” the voice-over says, “Texas delivers results.” The video has WASHINGTON POLITICS superimposed over a view of the Capitol taken over the reflecting pond, with “Washington” in slightly smaller letters. The camera pulls away from the Capitol shot and quickly focuses in an outdoor press conference while “Washington politics” lingers on the screen. The person giving the press conference is Kay Baily Hutchison. (According to the Hutchison campaign, the press conference followed the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Second Amendment Rights, and she was speaking in support of the Court’s decision.) * * * * This is a very effective spot. I give it 9 out of 10. It may be a little too busy in places. It is both positive and negative, positive in setting up Perry’s record, negative in its unspoken but obvious attempt to link Hutchison to Washington. It’s obvious where this is headed. Step one is “Washington is broken.” Step one, the seeds of which have already been planted, is that Kay Bailey Hutchison is the candidate of Washington values. We saw them in the beginning of the commercial: DEFICITS, BAILOUTS, PORK BARREL SPENDING. Step two is probably going to be very unfair — I think a lot of that so-called pork was very important to Texas –but this is a war that is going to be fought in 30-second skirmishes, and so far the Perry campaign has a clear grasp of what its message needs to be and the Hutchison campaign has neither grasp nor message. The spot “Texas Values” can be viewed at rickperry.org.
Politics & Policy