RNC commercials: Do they resonate with anyone?

Outreach. Does it always have to look self-conscious?

RNC commercials are dumb because Republicans are awful.  That’s the basic thesis of Salon’s Alex Pareene.  He doesn’t think the standard-issue millennial mouthing GOP platitudes (see videos below) is all that bad, but he’s certain that the actual, no-kidding Republicans out there are snaggle-toothed gay-bashers and other Dead White European Males who hate Diversity, think Cuddly Puppies are something to shoot at, and wouldn’t know Millennial Chic if they found it dead in their ditty bag (except, of course, that Pareene himself would have no idea what a ditty bag is, and is darn proud of it).

So RNC commercials must be silly and/or deceptive or something.

I don’t know.  I’m not impressed with the RNC oeuvre here, myself.  I “get” the millennial-Everyman approach, and I guess, having seen those commercials for Kia (or whatever it is) in which the customer base is invited to imagine itself as a species of vermin driving a car designed by the neighborhood gang on Sesame Street, that I recognize what the millennial Everyman is supposed to look like.

I just don’t like him.  And in the energy commercial, at least, I don’t like what he has to say.  “All of the above,” starting with “wind” and “solar,” is one of those fake pieties that nobody with the minimum number of working brain cells really believes.  No, as a matter of fact, I don’t want wind and solar – not if they’re just going to remain dependencies of the taxpayer.  And, yes, that means I’m ready to end agricultural subsidies too.

If wind and solar can survive the test of the market, and require absolutely nothing from me – no rising energy bills, no totalitarian creep in regulation, no change for the worse in how I live my life, and no change in my access to national parks and heritage lands and anything else the Left wrongly thinks it has a patent on – then go for it.  Make money off of it.  Until then, I don’t want “all of the above”; I want fossil fuels and nuclear power.  You can talk to me about hydrodynamic power, but I’m not making any promises.

Millennial boy in the RNC energy commercial buys into a comprehensively flawed view of human life and the purpose of public policy.  I wouldn’t use this commercial to try to win over millennials because I don’t believe a word of it.  It’s not what the Republican Party should stand for.  It’s feel-good nonsense.  It glosses over exactly what we can’t afford to gloss over any longer: the stark truth that this hallucinatory vision for centrally managing humanity and the planet is a one-way ticket to collectivist hell.

If millennials believe that there needs to be a central authority bustling around with a 10-point policy plan for every “public issue,” then they need to be educated, not catered to.  I’m not actually so sure they do believe that.  The ones I know are more skeptical, for the most part.  They tend to sense the falsity in peppy policy pitches, even if they don’t know quite why.

The commercial about regulation and its effect on jobs does seem to bite a little harder.  It appears to annoy Alex Pareene more, which is informative.  That one works better, from my perspective.  (There are others that work better too, like this one.)

I do wonder how millennials really feel about the way they’re portrayed in political ads, always presented like eight-year-olds whose good clothes are in the laundry pile.  There are other and perhaps better ways to connect with segments of society, I think, than trying to enter their evanescent group mindsets.

I’ll just leave it with this thought.  It’s pretty comical looking back at what once passed for earnest, soulful, or insouciant in previous decades.   The day will come when today’s 20-somethings look at icons like millennial boy in the same way Generation W (my slice) looks at the images of the 1980s.  They’ll laugh, if in a friendly, ambivalent way.  Imagery from the time, especially imagery that too faithfully reflects the vibe of a passing style, will just look like it was trying too hard.  They’ll remember that nobody really looked that way.  They’ll remember that that wasn’t even what they wanted to look like.

And political appeals that relied on evoking that kind of imagery will seem outdated, pat, stagey and manipulative.  Perhaps we who know that already should rethink our approach to political suasion.  Perhaps we should remember where the timeless beauty, hope, and vigor lie: in the ideas of freedom, and the tug of America on the heart.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.

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12 thoughts on “RNC commercials: Do they resonate with anyone?”

  1. I might as well say it: My first thought upon viewing the ads was “Why couldn’t they get a man to do this?” By finding their own pajama-boy, the RNC accepts the liberal premise about Republicans – we’re all heartless brutes, despoilers of Gaia (blessed be Her name), reveling in the pain of others. This futile effort to prove “we’re not really like that” only reinforces the stereotype. Why protest you’re not a brute unless there’s a measure of truth in the claim?

    The stereotype is moronic. Ignore it.

    None of this addresses the content of the message. JED does that very well, and in fact gives the RNC all it needs to know about winning America’s hearts and minds: Tell us about “the ideas of freedom, and the tug of America on the heart.” If only…

    1. Well, the days of Dinah Shore singing “see the USA in a Chevrolet” are pretty much over.” I was always a Ford man anyway.

      1. A fine avocation (being a Ford man). Regardless of what he was putting gas in, in the commercial, I think millennial boy is supposed to be a Kia hamster.

        I admit to having the same reaction, tminus. It’s not that I have anything against guys in their 20s who don’t look all grown up yet. Dealt with plenty of them in uniform. But you do have to surround them with guys (and gals) who ARE grown up, if you want to bring them along and get a job done at the same time.

  2. “And, yes, that means I’m ready to end agricultural subsidies too.” I dunno, removing those subsidies could devastate a lot of hard-working farmers near Central Park. Let’s keep in mind that the trickle-down from that money can be felt as far as North New Jersey.

  3. It’s more of the straight guy in the office constantly trying to play up to the office gay guy. “See, I have designer shoes, too. My suit is slim fit, and I have an apricot scarf and gold pin just like yours… ” Yeah.. everyone has one of those guys… Metro’ed out and in competition for who can take the best mud where…

    If someone in a pair of jeans, flannel shirt, work boots and sporting a three day stubble because “who the hell cares, I work for a living…” guy did the commercials the Establishment would “piddle” itself and ruin those slim fit high water pants right down to the big $400 Italian square toed clown shoes…

    To me, a Republican is a man in a white shirt, pressed khakis, his sleeves rolled up and his white linen apron tied up just so… asking you whether that was a club sandwich on white or wheat…. or did you want a burger and fries for lunch this time. You were sitting at HIS counter, and by the way that pack of Nabs and Drakes pound cake are on the check.

    Real men don’t whine; they work.

    R/John – TMF

  4. BTW speaking of metro style. I don’t get it. I really don’t. What’s with these suits with the high water pants that look like they were cut for a 12 year old and you are 30? And the suit jacket looks like the dry cleaner washed it in hot? and the ridiculous square toed off color (i.e. light brown w/a blue suit) shoes that look at least three sizes too big?

    I was at the men’s clothing store purchasing a couple of suits for various reasons, and the guy kept showing me jackets and pants that my mother would have described as sausage skins… I ended up with an “Executive Cut” suit which means normal regular suit. But I was decidedly out of style. Beautiful suits… made in Vietnam ironically… but still… I had to work to get there.



    1. Remember when the “designers” decided that it was in style to make suits without a vent in the jacket? Save a couple of bucks on the tailoring and convince the public that it looks chic. Hike your suit jacket up around your waist every time you needed to get your car keys from a pants pocket. You had to avoid the trendies like Macy’s and really look to find a traditionally tailored suit then, too.

  5. TMF, I am so with you on that. I really dislike the current style for men’s dress suits. It’s obviously supposed to “deconstruct” the mature, responsible male look — to go for a hip, kind of weedy vibe rather than a look of solidity and character.

    One of the great things about men is that most of them, once they’ve earned a little sense, just say no to style fads. They’d rather be comfortable and not make a spectacle of themselves. You go, guys.

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