The MoveOn anti-Bush ad contest

I just viewed 20 of the proposed MoveOn ads. (That’s the daily limit set by MoveOn’s server capacity.) Pretty thin gruel, I’d say. Mostly the sort of preaching most pleasing to the choir, which is why the congregation doesn’t grow. I thought four of them were pretty effective. See what you think. If you sign up, you get to vote.

Baby Johnny’s Stolen Future makes the emotional case against credit-card conservatism with, I thought, considerable force.

Thank you is brilliant in execution, but it contains what I’m pretty sure is a false claim: that Halliburton has exclusive rights to drilling Iraqi oil. If I recall correctly, Halliburton has gotten lots of no-bid work on the reconstruction, but no oil deals. (As far as I know, Halliburton provides oilfield services but doesn’t drill on its own account. Is that wrong?) But if it could be brought into accord with checkable fact, I think it’s a high-impact ad.

The minimalist aesthetic of Rebuilding Iraq appeals to me, and might help cut through the TV ad clutter. I think the message is precisely right, too.

Finally, What Has He Done for You is scant on production values, but hits hard. It might be worth spending some money on a better execution of this theme. However, I think using battle casualities as a political argument is poor taste and poor politics. (That’s assuming that the people in the video are the relatives of actual casualties. If they’re actors, it’s unspeakable.)

It’s not surprising that MoveOn’s open cattle call attracted some losers. I’m just hoping that the MoveOn folks are smart enough to distinguish between ads that appeal to their own fundraising base and ads that will move the moveable voters.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com