Shhh! Listen up. We’re being very, very quiet because something interesting and rare is happening.
Jonathan Capehart blogged about the quiet effectiveness of Mitt Romney’s new “It’s OK” commercial spot, suggesting that it’s aimed at independents and is therefore more potent than all the screaming about socialism and tax-dodging. Because it even acknowledges that there are viewpoints that aren’t rabid, Capehart says, it will be more effective to all six non-rabid, still-persuadable swing-state voters left in America.
And the crazy thing is, a bunch of those persuadables showed up in the comments to discuss it! Now these people are very rare and very valuable, and appreciate us speaking in low, soothing tones, and not calling anybody short of the Antichrist the Antichrist. So ssssh.
Magic00713 contends that the undecideds are undecided because they dislike both candidates. They still appreciate soothing tones:
I’m glad to hear (from a credible source) that a low-key ad can be viewed as effective and dangerous. I happen to agree. I’m still undecided. I thought my mind was made up about voting for Romney in Nov. But now I’m completely confused. I’m turned off by Romney for his off shore accounts, mostly. And also for generally being a lousy candidate. However, I’m even more turned off by Obama’s overly aggressive attacks on Romney...and so early! Once again America is given another two horrible choices! Like last election, I may not decide until I get to the booth.
Buddydog also wants more of a choice rather than softer advertising:
Yes, it’s OK to make a change. But why Romney? Why not a genuine conservative, and not some namby-pamby spoiled rotten rich guy who pretends he’s a liberal one day and pretends he’s a Tea Partier the next? Why this conniving, smarmy politician who admitted that he won’t give specifics on his proposals because he knows he’ll be attacked?
I would love to vote against Obama. But I would love even more to have someone to vote FOR.
This ambivalence, craig100 says, is one weakness of the commercial:
It suggests a voter not interested in voting for someone, but against someone — and it is directed toward those voters who seemingly are searching for a candidate that they can believe and trust. But the comment is conflicted — these voters are not going to vote for someone simply to vote against someone — they are looking to vote for someone they can trust. If the intended audience is the still-undecided independent voter, then such a tactic will not work — it would work only for the partisan voter, not the independent voter.
And ohblueheaven finds the ad patronizing:
I don’t know if this ad is really all that effective. Independents are independent because they don’t immediately jump on board either side’s talking points,and frankly this ad just seems kinda condescending. I don’t need a soothing voice granting permission in order to vote against Obama; what I need is for Romney to make a coherent case on exactly who the hell he is (moderate? far-right?) and why it would be an improvement over Obama. Failing that, me and most of the intelligent people I know are going to vote for the incumbent.
Well, there you have it. Persuadables, at least the ones who hang out in the comments section of the Opinions page of The Washington Post, are largely unimpressed by the ad (though they appreciate any moderation in tone) and wish the candidates were different. So, Obama and Romney, you have about three months to become totally different people again. Good luck.