Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Politics: Direct Mail and You

Brainstorms has posted some of the direct mail pieces that are floating around the CA-50 race to replace disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham..

This is actually a pretty bad piece of direct mail. Not because its over the top, but because it fails to go far enough.

First, the front-page eye grabber failed to include drug paraphernalia, preferably a crack pipe and heroine needles. You have to look at the overturned car in the background for a few seconds to realize what it is - I would have moved up the text box, make the teenagers heads slightly smaller, and make the car red, and on fire. The teenager in front has a scary look about him, but he would have been better if his hair was dyed a bright color, and if he had several piercings in a variety of places. Since this is a Republican mail piece in an overwhelmingly white district, the teenager in back should be black, preferably with his teeth bared. Subtle race baiting is how Republicans win.

The second page really sucks. I have no idea what's going on in the black and white picture where you see the person's upturned hand. Get rid of it, and move the "Francine Busby's Record" envelope to the left. Make the text of the paragraphs larger, and limit them their size. Shocking headline, supporting sentence, small text italicized news reference. You're not going to convince anyone of anything with 3 sentences, you're just trying to convey a message, "My opponent is dangerous" in powerful emotional terms. Lead with "Praises Child Pornographers" and not the more quixotic "Irresponsible Spending" bit.

The third page is pretty good. But the sentence should be "Who is more dangerous? Teenagers or Francine Busby?" There's a famous anecdote that when Lyndon Johnson was running for Congress he spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig f#@*er. Johnson's campaign manager said, "Lyndon, you know he doesn't do that!" Johnson replied, "I know. I just want to make him deny it."

Now, I would never do anything like this. As a Democrat, I would feature an attractive blonde thirty-something sitting and crying behind prison bars. "This rape victim is in prison because she needs an abortion." Second page headline: "Bob Blackheart would rape victims to prison." Over an unflattering, black and white photo of Republican Bob Blackheart. To the right, a large quote by Bob "I am against abortions in all cases... including rape, incest, and molestation," with the proper newspaper attribution beneath it. The "..." part is usually a thoughtful discussion as to why he opposes abortion in all cases. If you have space, then on the back you can reprint a favorable article trashing Bob's abortion views, as Democrats tend to care slightly more about that stuff.

Republicans are running this country because they've been doing exactly what I describe. They play dirty, and they play for keeps. Democrats reflexively seek the high ground, and try to explain to voters why they are better on the issues. Republican activists believe that we are an abomination unto God that should be cleansed from the earth. Guess who wins?
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