What happens when a consummate political expert runs for public office? You get something akin to the perfect political ad.
Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee Chairman and holder of a half dozen other high-level positions in the Republican Party, is looking for a new job: U.S. Senator.
Having advised presidents (George W. Bush), would-be presidents (Mitt Romney), and a host of other private entities, Gillespie knows how to run a campaign, and it shows in the introductory ad that launches his challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia.
From picturesque images of his wife and children in a very clean kitchen (his?), to baby photos, references to his parents’ immigrant past and, of course, Obamacare, it’s an ad that would make a grown political ad maker cry.
1. “Hi, I’m Ed Gillespie…”
Ed Gillespie has one of the longest resumes in politics, and job No. 1 for his political opponents will be painting him as the ultimate beltway political insider.
So right off the bat, Gillespie brings not only his family into the picture but his working-class, non-college-educated parents to combat the inevitable arguments against him.
And he features prominently an archival document with names of his ancestors who came to the U.S. from Ireland in search of a better life.
2. Camera ready family? Check.
Clean Kitchen? Check. Wood cabinets? Coffee mug? Candidate in a sweater? Check, check and check.
It’s become a trope in most political ads these days, but you’ve got to have the family. Preferably at the kitchen table. Or better yet, IN the kitchen. Gillespie has all these bases covered.
And in a scene reminiscent of House of Cards, Kevin Spacey Ed Gillespie talks straight to the camera while his family carries on silently behind him.
3. Humble beginnings
He gets to the high level political work for President George W. Bush later. But first, some photos of Gillespie in college having fun, but working hard as an attendant in the U.S. Senate parking lot.
4. The pivot to jobs.
Cue the b-roll of hard-working, diverse Americans working in manufacturing jobs, business and retail.
5. “… Can’t find a job”
Enter young woman looking forlornly out a window.
6. “Senator Mark Warner cast the deciding vote for it.”
That would be Obamacare. But where have you heard that before? The claim has been used against vulnerable Democrats from Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas and Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana to Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska. It was rated “mostly false” by fact checker Politifact when former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used it against his Democratic opponent in his 2013 run for governor. But that’s never stopped anyone.
7. People lie, numbers don’t.
As former President Bill Clinton famously said, “It’s arithmetic.” A good sales job in politics ought to have some hard numbers behind it. Gillespie has several of those: the $1 trillion in new taxes and $7 trillion in new debt he says Warner voted for. And then there’s this handy and visually pleasing chart around a minute and 40 seconds in: Your incomes going down while your household’s share of the federal debt goes up.
8. At the end of the day, this is all about family.
Your family. The Gillespie family is back again. One by one they silently position themselves in the frame so perfectly, it could be a Christmas card. But really, it’s just good politics.