Who Makes Policy Campaign 2016 Edition

Must See TV

If you’re feeling bombarded by empty calorie campaign ads, here are a few classics from the past that are must see political TV (and one that never made it to the screen).

Daisy, by the Johnson campaign, is the most famous attack ad of all times. It only ran once.


Confessions of a Republican, also targeting Goldwater in the 1964 campaign, could run today if anyone had the attention span to listen at this length.


I like Ike could have been made by the Disney JV team.


Any Questions  Of the 13 people featured who said they had “served with John Kerry,” only one actually did. If you’ve heard the term “swiftboating,” this is it.

The Willie Horton ad was the racist masterpiece of Lee Atwater, the modern father of dirty campaigning.


Morning in America for Ronald Reagan sounds like it’s pitching margarine or beef for dinner (is that the same narrator?). But it worked.


Way back in 2008, there were still questions about whether Hillary Rodham Clinton, or any woman, could pass the ‘commander-in-chief test’. 3 AM was supposed to set those to rest–“It’s 3 AM. Who do you want answering the phone?”–while implicitly attacking Barack Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience. (Of course, at the time her 3 AM experience came primarily from being a First Lady. But never mind.)


This 4 1/2 minute ad for Gerry Ford never ran, as the Times recounts today. It’s chilling references to the Kennedy assassination, contrasted with upbeat marching band music, was horrifying to focus groups. Check out his red shirt.

Laughter attacking Spiro Agnew (look him up if you don’t know who he is) is about as meta as you can get. They could have run it against Sarah Palin or Trump as well.


Vlad and Boris singing “Mrs. Palin” is, of course, my favorite– even if it isn’t a political ad and they aren’t Russians. And here’s their background (I think) according to one of their professors.



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