"Republicans Betting $1million that Dressing like Han Solo in College Will Disqualify Candidate in the Eyes of Voters"
-Written by Phocion
THIS IS NOT THE ONION! A Republican-aligned Super PAC, the “Congressional Leadership Fund” is out with a $1.1million negative ad campaign targeting up-and-coming Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th congressional district special election race for the appalling offense of – yes! – drinking beers and engaging in some Star Wars cosplay during his time in college. I know, Gasp. Lock Him Up.
The candidate "on defense" for this explosive charge of having attending college in the age of the iPhone is 30-year-old Jon Ossoff. He's running for the suburban Atlanta district vacated by former Rep. Tom Price, Trump's new Secretary of Health and Human Services and Big Pharma's favorite cuddle buddy. A graduate of Georgetown ('09), Ossoff spent 5 years as a national security staffer with top secret security clearance for Rep. Hank Johnson, of (totally TRUE and HILARIOUS and a MUST-WATCH) “Guam-might-tip-over” infamy. He’s since operated as the CEO of Insight TWI, a firm that produces investigative videos targeting corrupt politicians, organized crime, and war-torn areas across the globe.
Now, everyone says they hate politics because it’s so negative. We say we we’re “frustrated” by negative campaigning. If only we could all get along, we say. It’s bullshit. We secretly – or perhaps, subconsciously – eat it up. There is research that negative ads affect how positively we perceive the target candidate and help clarify our vote choice. And as we well know, Facebook posts that express negativity about the opposing party receive more engagement than posts that sing Kumbaya. That’s just science, folks.
Negative campaigning is as old as the Republic itself. We look back fondly on the Founding Fathers, but Thomas Jefferson literally hired a guy to smear John Adams as a hermaphrodite. That same hired hatchet man would later turn around and reveal that Jefferson had an affair with one of his slaves – 1800 was wild, man. But, the worst they could do is smear each other with hearsay and innuendo. No one had the receipts.
Except now we have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, so the receipts are literally everywhere.
That revealing 😏 outfit you wore for Halloween in college (and let’s be 💯, also high school); it’s already in an opposition research file.
Same with that video on Insta of you and your girlfriends twerking on the bar during Singles night.
That video of you in a smoke-filled room as your friends pass around the house bong – affectionately named Big Bertha – exists somewhere, I promise. Your future political opponents will debate whether to put it in an ad, or shop it to local news outlets.
IOW, stop fishing for likes, put that phone down and find a hobby. Whatever thing you were thinking about sharing, Do👏 Not👏 Do👏 It👏!
Even if it’s just food. ESPECIALLY IF IT’S JUST FOOD!
Which brings us to the ad in question:
You guys, this ad is W.E.A.K. I've never lived in Georgia's 6th district; perhaps every voter there lived in the library on the weekends, but I'm not sure, "Look everybody, this nerd over here drank beers and made goofy Star Wars videos in college" is your killer message. He’s literally someone you can have a beer with!
Let's break down this "damning attack." Remember that it was some professional’s job to make this video, and it was definitely OK'd by some middle-aged senior staffer.
0:04 -- He seems like a dapper young fellow, but why is he touting his resume at a pop-up art installation in somebody's living room? Suspicious.
0:11 -- Playing a slo-mo clip of your target mouthing "oh shit" as your ad shifts into attack mode; a little too on the nose, but you can’t not use the clip if you have it.
0:14 - 0:18 --- HOLD UP. Stop the tape. You don't even need to watch past this point to know it's not a strong attack. And I'm not talking about how they try to undercut his post-college career as a congressional staffer by referencing his time in college before being a full-time staffer🤔. I'm talking about these jabronis playing beer pong, who are most clearly actors and not Jon Ossoff in college (although I'd wager a pretty penny at least some of those jock stars helped create this terrible ad). You can't splice a well-produced, clearly HD video clip of frat boys-turned-low-level-staffers-playing-frat boys with grainy video from 10 years ago and think people won't realize one of those clips might be fake. Moving on.
0:21 -- Fine. Point conceded, Jon Ossoff you look ridiculous in this outfit, sitting next to what I think is a floor mop granted the gift of life? But, wearing a Star Wars outfit is not a crime
:31 --This ad wants you to believe that Ossoff's acting is disqualifying from Congress, but it's wrong. It clearly demonstrates Ossoff's good judgment to pursue a career in something he's good at (public service) and not something he's very, very bad at (acting).
0:43 – They saved the most brutal attack for last. If you choose to sing in an acapella group, you have to live with the consequences. This will likely cost him at least a few points in the polls.
0:52 -- "The Truth Strikes Back"? Soft, just soft. This was so far below my expectations, they might as well have ended the ad "Who's to say Jon Ossoff won't do bong rips in the middle of a hearing? We can't trust him." And speaking of soft, if Mr. Ossoff was really the beer drinking frat-star the Congressional Leadership Fund wants us to believe he is, then he'd be sporting bigger biceps than those squirt guns. This ad is FAKE NEWS. SAD!
The young up-start Ossoff has managed to raise more than $2 million in mostly grassroots donations, and it must have Republicans scared if they're willing to put $1.1m behind this rubbish in a district Tom Price won by 24, (although Trump was just a point better than Hillary). This ad makes the case that life for candidates of the social media generation will be hell because everything is recorded and public.
But, it's precisely our access to intimate moments of folks' everyday lives that the videos of Jon Ossoff… attending college, I think is the charge... won't stick. We all have friends on social media who can get weird on the weekends and be smart, capable, and professional during work hours. You can effectively help better the lives of your constituents at age 30, while also having drank a beer and participated in some Star Wars cosplay in college.
I said at the outset that this was not The Onion. Sorry, I wasn’t totally honest with you. This is life in 2017: even when it’s not The Onion, but it’s also The Onion.