Mitt’s mom jeans and Shelley’s slippers: What we really take away from political ads

Is this really what politicians think we’re basing our votes on?

It’s a sad day when your mailbox is so crammed with political ads that you’re happy to see a utility bill. And it’s equally sad when you wish the disturbing Activia commercials would deliver you from the primetime TV bitch-slaps approved by this guy or that guy.

In Las Vegas, we can’t even comfort ourselves with the notion that all Americans are suffering the same. The New York Times says of Vegas: “More political commercials have been broadcast in this city than anywhere else, giving it the dubious distinction of being the most saturated media market in the most expensive year in American politics.”

In defiance, I’ve watched muted screens and recycled unread mailers. But tuning out doesn’t solve the problem, and it might make me less informed on Election Day. So I decided to tune in.

One weekday, I received 12 mailers (10 state, 2 presidential, 2 repeats). With questionable narrative gimmicks, Facebook citations and context-free quotes and clips, they communicated:

“Under President Obama, everything is just harder.”

“Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it.”

Assemblywoman April Mastroluca smiles at children.

Assembly hopeful Bob Irwin smiles at Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse wiped lipstick on a napkin after coming “back for seconds” of taxpayer dollars.

Senate hopeful Steve Kirk responded to questions about his jobs plan with “the sound of birds chirping.”

Carson City spends $2,086,892.82 of my money every hour.

If Rep. Shelley Berkley is re-elected, she’ll do corrupt things while wearing fuzzy pink slippers.

On TV, Obama defended his record with the coveted Morgan Freeman voiceover. And Romney, like it or not, got super PAC Crossroads Generation cleverly using his “mom jeans” and awkward Twilight name-drops as arguments for why he should win, because being cool and being effective are mutually exclusive.

The consensus? Let’s hope the Mayans were right about that Doomsday thing.

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Erin Ryan

Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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