McConnell’s Wife Is Disappointed in Lundergan Grimes

McConnell’s Wife Is Disappointed in Lundergan Grimes



McConnell attempts to tear down Lundergan Grimes, because if he succeeds, voters have nowhere to turn but McConnell. Negative ads work better in a political contest among two rivals than in a consumer goods competition among many rivals.

This ad is heavy on “facts,” but it is different from the ad of his competitor, Lundergan Grimes. Her ad is an uninteresting slideshow about government shutdowns. McConnell’s ad is more of a scolding.

The speaker is not an announcer but is McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor in the George W. Bush cabinet. She comes across as much more genuine than her husband does and the impression she conveys is that of a sincere, if somewhat uptight, fellow citizen than an announcer. She speaks of Lundergan Grimes in a sadly disappointed, disapproving way like a parent might speak to a child. Chao gives the impression that Lundergan Grimes and those who back her are immature, naïve, and blindly and foolishly following the Obama agenda. The viewer gets the feeling that backing Lundergan Grimes might be a little embarrassing.

Factually, this is the type of ad that a consumer product would have difficulty getting away with. The ad is designed to give the impression that McConnell backs even stronger protections for women than Obama, a claim Politifact rated as mostly false. Standards for accuracy are much more stringent in consumer product advertising than in political advertising.

But forget the facts. Impressions are what remain with the voter. Impressions are much more powerful than facts in political contests. And McConnell’s wife does a good job giving viewers a negative impression of what it might feel like to back Lundergan Grimes.

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