“Basketball” ad takes aim at home economics

posted at 11:21 am on May 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

My father loves to tell people that the difference between humans and animals is that animals don’t let their offspring back in the nest once they’ve been kicked out. Dad speaks from personal experience; I moved in with him for a while when I had a bout of unemployment and underemployment back in the late 1980s.  Unfortunately, the last three years have made that more the norm than the exception, and as a result, older workers have to put off retirement and younger workers despair of ever getting out on their own.  American Crossroads hammers on the theme of despair in the age of Hopenchange in its new ad, “Basketball”:

The New York Times notes the subtlety of the approach, and the effectiveness that it might have in swing states over the next few weeks:

When it makes its debut Wednesday in 10 swing states as the centerpiece of a $25 million campaign, it is expected to become one of the most heavily broadcast political commercials of this phase of the general election.

Yet what Mr. McCarthy and Crossroads have produced is not the kind of searing denunciation of President Obama that their track records would suggest. More soft-pedal than Swift Boat, the 60-second advertisement, complete with special effects, is a deeply researched, delicately worded story of a struggling family; its relatively low-key tone is all the more striking, coming at a point in the campaign when each side is accusing the other of excessive negativity.

Behind the story of the ad’s creation rests one of the greatest challenges for Republicans in this election: how to develop a powerful line of attack against a president who remains well liked even by people who are considering voting against him.

The big news, from the NYT’s perspective at least, is that the harder-edged arguments about Obama’s integrity and history flopped in American Crossroads focus-group testing.  That’s no surprise, and it’s no hindrance to Team Romney anyway. This election will be about the economy and job creation and Obama’s track record on both, which one can tell by the sheer desperation of Team Obama to talk about almost anything else.

This ad forces the subject to the surface in a very personal way.  This mirrors the anxiety shared by millions through three straight Stagnant Springs and Wreckovery Summers.  It accentuates an infantilization of American young adults accelerated by Obamanomics as well as ObamaCare, which forces insurers to keep people as old as 25 years of age on their parents’ health policies whether they are students or not.  The overall theme of oppressive dependency got accentuated by Team Obama’s “Life of Julia,” in which an eyeless and mouthless woman spends her entire life dependent on paternalistic government beneficence, in what one Washington Post writer called a future of The Hubby State.

The presentation and subtleties of this ad are impressive — and I suspect will be very effective in swing states this summer, especially as college students come home from graduation ceremonies and fail to find work.


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More, please…

… Pile it on. Just use his own record and words. Pound him and the Democrats to dust!

Seven Percent Solution on May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

What records? All of Obama’s records have been sealed by the courts…

SWalker on May 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Not bad. But, where’s the Dad / Husband?

Mitoch55 on May 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

My guess is he was left out on purpose because this targets women. Men are a lock to vote for Romney. They usually either over-whelmingly support Republicans, or at worst, slightly go to the Democrat.

This targets women becauuse if Romney can get to near even with women, he wins by 5+ points.

Brilliant ad, and once again shows that Rove is better than all the people running Obama’s campaign combined.

milcus on May 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Ouch!!

Keep it coming!

Pablo Snooze on May 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

how to develop a powerful line of attack against a president who remains well liked even by people who are considering voting against him.

Biggest bunk in history.

He is not a likeable figure.

He is a narcissist, a liar extraordinaire, a phlegmatic snot, out only for himself. Why would anyone like him?

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Unless I see all his grades, he is not smart.

Unless I see display of niceness, he is a narcissistic destroyer.

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM

PLEASE PLEASE pay attention to this. Crossroads has done TONS of research and focus groups. They are confirming that this election will not be won by running against Obama as an America-hating Marxist thug. It will be won by convincing people who voted for him in 2008 that he has let them down and has no plan for fixing anything.

rockmom on May 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Obama is not the problem.

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

…do NOT take the foot off the pedal!
…keep the pedal to the metal!
.
.
.
it’s the ECONOMY stupid…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

keep the change on May 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hmmm… makes you wonder why many conservatives consider outspoken liberals to be unfeeling, uncharitable jerks. Well, that and the fact they’d rather kill their children/grandchildren in the name of convenience.

It’s pretty obvious you’re not a Christian. Christians are called to help others in their times of need… whether family, friends or even strangers. Such a callous disregard of the trials of your own kids is honestly quite appalling.

Yes, your children should try to make it on their own. But if they can’t (because of all the reasons the original poster listed), then you help them out. It’s that simple. But then again, I’m just a dumb fly-over redneck with simple values, clinging to my guns and my faith.

dominigan on May 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

My guess is he was left out on purpose because this targets women. Men are a lock to vote for Romney. They usually either over-whelmingly support Republicans, or at worst, slightly go to the Democrat.

This targets women becauuse if Romney can get to near even with women, he wins by 5+ points.

Very good analysis. Tthose women who stupidly voted for Obama last time don’t like being boldly told that they were stupid. This gentle approach of playing on their doubts should be very effective. Like most conservatives, I would like to see Obama blatantly exposed for the fraud that he is. But that probably wouldn’t work with those woman voters, so I must be satisfied with this. Hey, the important thing is to win…BIG! If we get those woman voters, we will. Great ad!

mydh12 on May 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

@rockmom … Agree 150%. The election will be won in the middle, and won by wooing back those in the center who when to Obama in ’08. This goes right at those individuals, and will be effective. “We” gave O a chance, and he has failed “us”. And love him or hate him, Rove knows his stuff here.

mel23059 on May 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

My father loves to tell people that the difference between humans and animals is that animals don’t let their offspring back in the nest once they’ve been kicked out. Dad speaks from personal experience; I moved in with him for a while when I had a bout of unemployment and underemployment back in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the last three years have made that more the norm than the exception

I knew it! You are blogging from your mom’s basement!

nukemhill on May 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

SWalker on May 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I know, but you know what I mean- the expectation is that they will move out, into the dorms at college, and never move back in.

Kristamatic on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

If you can’t see the distinction, then you’re not worth talking to.
<snip<not socialism, you ignorant fool.

Washington Nearsider on May 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Keep the Change is a self admitted ardent Marxist, keep that in mind when conversing with it.

SWalker on May 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Good for you, WN, wonderful, and deserved, takedown of KTC. I wish you well in your future, and many grateful thanks for defending our great nation. Good things will come to you!

herm2416 on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Very good analysis. Tthose women who stupidly voted for Obama last time don’t like being boldly told that they were stupid. This gentle approach of playing on their doubts should be very effective. Like most conservatives, I would like to see Obama blatantly exposed for the fraud that he is. But that probably wouldn’t work with those woman voters, so I must be satisfied with this. Hey, the important thing is to win…BIG! If we get those woman voters, we will. Great ad!

mydh12 on May 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Yup, this is classic Rove. Plant seeds of doubt, and let them grow. Whether you like him or not, it is undeniable that he is the best in the business, and is better than really anyone that Obama and Romney have.

As for being subtle, I think you are right. Seem rational, sway a portion of the women that voted for Obama in 2008, and win by 5+ points. If that happens, the House will remain Republican, and the Republcans will control 55 seats in the Senate, even with the expected loss of the Maine seat to the independnet who will caucus with Democrats.

milcus on May 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

My son is home from college for the summer and has been unable to find a summer job at all. Filled out lots of applications, done some interviews. Nobody wants to hire anyone for a couple of months. Not fast food, not retail. It is very frustrating and scary, since he graduates in a year.

txmomof6 on May 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM

What is your son taking in college? Many or most firms that have engineers will take on an upper level student during the summer to 1) get them acclemated to the engineering environment 2) to get kinda pre-interviwed and first shot when they graduate 3) to cheaply do engineering scutwork that is educational to the student but engineers can’t do cheaply or don’t like to do.

This is even in bad times.

I’ve been a retired engineer for six years and still get calls.

I hope your son is not taking make-work and useless studies. There are not many jobe for useless-study candidatie.

Old Country Boy on May 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

this ad gives me hope that the RNC isn’t going to self destruct; this is exactly what will win over independents and blue dogs

burserker on May 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Please forgive the typos – trifocals and microsoft.

Old Country Boy on May 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

PLEASE PLEASE pay attention to this. Crossroads has done TONS of research and focus groups. They are confirming that this election will not be won by running against Obama as an America-hating Marxist thug. It will be won by convincing people who voted for him in 2008 that he has let them down and has no plan for fixing anything.

rockmom on May 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Well said. The 1st goal is to win, and to do that, you need to be moderate and appeal to independants and moderates. Once you win, you can then focus on conservative policies, and once they work for the country, run on the success of conservative policies in 2014 and 2016.

Talking about Wright, birth cerificates, Obama’s college days is a waste of time, and makes the Republicans look like a party that is not serious about winning. Let Democrats talk about non-sensical issues. Republicans should focus on the issues, sway Obama independents, win, and then pursue conservative policies.

milcus on May 22, 2012 at 1:44 PM

how to develop a powerful line of attack against a president who remains well liked even by people who are considering voting against him.

I’m actually confused as to why people keep saying that BO is well liked personally. What about him is likeable? Forgetting his policies IMO he comes across as thin-slinned, arrogant and self-centered – do people find that likeable?

katiejane on May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

BTW, I have a neighbor who could be the woman in this ad. She voted for Obama, was down on Bush because of Iraq and Katrina, then her husband lost his job, they had to sell the house, she had to go back to work as a nurse, their two oldest kids have finished college and can’t find decent jobs. I have several other friends with similar stories. Obama’s class-warfare campaign is not going to work with them. Ads like this one will.

rockmom on May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

rockmom on May 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Absolutely, and I don’t even think much research was really needed. Obama has disappointed a ton of people, and we need to remind them they’ve been disappointed without berating them for voting ofr the guy last time around.

A few percent of his former voters flip and a few percent stay home and Obama loses.

forest on May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Obama is not the problem.

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Very good clip, and he is so right. Someone in one of the Eastern Bloc countries put it so well when he said we can survive Obama, but we can’t survive the people who elected him.

Night Owl on May 22, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I’m actually confused as to why people keep saying that BO is well liked personally. What about him is likeable? Forgetting his policies IMO he comes across as thin-slinned, arrogant and self-centered – do people find that likeable?

katiejane on May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Most people aren’t seeing that side of him because all they see in the MFM is Obama singing like Al Green, doing the moonwalk at the college commencement, hanging out with his girls at a soccer game, etc. Women see a glamorous Michelle on the cover of all the magazines in the grocery store, hanging out with Ellen and the ladies on The View, etc. Being the first President in many years with young children at home and a seemingly loving marriage makes him very likeable to many people who aren’t paying attention to the daily campaign.

The one thing this Adminstration has been very successful at is the “selling” of the Obama family.

rockmom on May 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I still think Obama could execute people rip a full term baby from the womb, feed it to a pit bull and then eat pit bull sushi, all the while burning and American Flag on the WH lawn and get 90%+ of the black vote and a majority of the “youth” vote.

Charlemagne on May 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM

FIFY!

TugboatPhil on May 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Wow this is a good ad. It doesn’t just speak to the mom with kids in college, it strikes right at the mom with young children, too. After a day’s worth of caring for my houseful of kids, the last thing I want to be doing with a head of grey hair is….tending to a houseful of grown-up kids.

More, please!

bonnie_ on May 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Obama is not the problem.

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Stopped right when he said the Greatest Generation did not teach his Generation (Teh Boomahs). What it meant to be an American.

Oh, and it’s no one’s fault. What BS.

cajun carrot on May 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Great ad. Yesterday I said that “it’s NOT about the economy.” I felt a little guilty because I didn’t suggest what it was, then, about. It really is about the soul of the country, but you don’t need to frame it like that.

The Crossroads ad I think gets pretty close to how we should frame what this election is about. It’s about runaway spending, and as important, a runaway out of control intrusive govt.

Again, this election is not about the economy, which is too everyday and mundane and temporary, it is about the runaway intrusive govt that is on the verge of spending us into oblivion.

And as far as the “European Welfare State,” I think that’s fine, but a bit removed for some, you can stick with an out of control govt that has deliberately embarked on a program of insane reckless spending. True, few think that we should emulate Europe. (Taxes are not as important… McCain made that mistake in ’08. People realize that spending = taxes.)

There are subsidiary issues to be attacked as well. Freedom. O’s war on energy. And many others.

anotherJoe on May 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

This ad is dynamite! Republicans finally got it right.

Democrats love to brag about how they are giving out free this and free that. How do you compete with the party that boasts it takes care of children’s med insurance until they’re 26? Most people turn around and say, “Yeah, what are you gonna give me?”

This ad represents accurately the malaise that happens when freebies are given out right and left, but there’s no wholesome center. A household where toys are given out right and left creates the same sort of problem, but it’s not easy to logically counter that either. Too often the Pubes take the easy road and instead just escalate their own offers. This doesn’t work, though, because Republicans can never give out as many freebies as Dems (because frankly the Dems don’t care whether our country goes bankrupt).

When Republicans try to compete by offering their own set of goodies, they come off as second-placers. What they need to do instead is provide the larger picture, the larger malaise that’s being created, as they do in this ad.

I’m encouraged.

Burke on May 22, 2012 at 2:55 PM

herm2416 on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Thanks. It’s already starting to turn for me.

Washington Nearsider on May 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

I have struggled to find anything the least bit likable about this insufferable arrogant prig of president or the least bit intellectually persuasive, but have failed.

NoDonkey on May 22, 2012 at 3:19 PM

dominigan on May 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

You have no idea who you are addressing. I am four orders of magnitude to the right of General Curtis LeMay. Besides, how can I be a liberal when I just ranted about the destructiveness of the socialist liberal system? Or did you not read that?

Relying on your elderly parents to bail you out is even more pathetic than relying on the government. You owe your parents, your parent’s don’t owe you. Anyone who is 30 years old who does that is a schmuck. This country is full of grown adults sponging off of mom and dad. And the ones that don’t have mom and daddy to help them out, sponge of the government. In the end, it’s the same mentality. It’s the mentality that says when the chips are down, it’s okay to fall back onto others, rather than go forward and solve the problem yourself.

We have millions of little Julias living at home because life is too hard for them, in the best country on earth, with the most opportunities and the greatest wealth. Yet, there they are, little Julias, 30 years old and living with mommy.

keep the change on May 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Obama: “My first term was just practice. We’re talkin about Practice? Practice.”

faraway on May 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

THAT.

Is a YouTube classic (my favorite comment is “I liked the part where he said practice”)!

Well played faraway. Well played.

pain train on May 22, 2012 at 3:30 PM

keep the change on May 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Washington Nearsider called you an ignorant fool. He’s right.

You’re spouting about people who don’t grow up. Take your own advice.

22044 on May 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Until quite recently, it was considered normal to live in multigenerational households, and weird to move out on your own, unless you were married. That young man in the Suburu ad? As long as he’s contributing financially to the household, what’s the problem?

Some years back, I went out with a man who still lived at home. It was an arrangement which made perfect sense. By not spending money on a separate establishment, he helped his parents out financially, put a lot into savings, and he did the heavy work around the house that they were getting too old to do. They were all happy with the arrangement, and that was not why we broke up. (I adored his parents.) If either of my girls finishes college and ends up with a job near us, I’d think them foolish to spend $1000 a month on rent, and would rather they lived with us, and contributed say, $500 a month to expenses and food, saving the rest for things like cars, car repairs, a down-payment on a house, retirement….

As others have pointed out, there is a big difference between being dependent on a benevolent state, and accepting help if needed from family/friends, or living with family/friends in order to pool resources, allowing everyone to live better.

And of course if this country is foolish enough to reelect Obama, I’ll need them to help keep me in my old age, since I’ve had 7% of my income “invested” for me in SS/MC which I’m not likely to ever see a penny of anyway.

LibraryGryffon on May 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM

My eldest son has been back with us for 3 years now. He lost his job, took about 4 months to find another one, was getting a promotion and was looking for his own place again when his plant closed at the end of the year. He immediately got temp work but at a far less hourly rate. He’s on my insurance until his birthday when he turns 26. He found a temp to hire job that ended Monday when they said they had a work slowdown and didn’t need him anymore.

So now he’s filing for unemployment while looking for something else – again. He’s also planning on getting his commercial drivers license to be more marketable (he’s a certified forklift driver and has 8 years of warehouse experience).

He does pay us rent, but our younger two are also on their way out and we’d like our house to ourselves for the first time in 26 years.

He really liked his job and the people he worked with and has been quite despondent about his layoff.

We’re hoping that he finally gets things straightened out by his birthday this summer.

Common Sense on May 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

This country is full of grown adults sponging off of mom and dad. And the ones that don’t have mom and daddy to help them out, sponge of the government. In the end, it’s the same mentality. It’s the mentality that says when the chips are down, it’s okay to fall back onto others, rather than go forward and solve the problem yourself.
keep the change on May 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Washington Nearsider certainly didn’t “sponge” .. he pulled himself up and got back out as soon as he could .. I hope that you, ignorant ass that you come across as, never have the need of the help of family or friends.. if you never do you will truly be blessed.. and probably too damn ignorant to know it

vamp57mw on May 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM

This is one of the strongest arguments against a second term for Obama. I hope this ad and similar ones are played with increasing frequency as the general election approaches.

My son is home from college for the summer and has been unable to find a summer job at all. Filled out lots of applications, done some interviews. Nobody wants to hire anyone for a couple of months. Not fast food, not retail. It is very frustrating and scary, since he graduates in a year.

txmomof6 on May 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM

And then he won’t be able to get a real job because he has no work experience. If he’s in a major where he could get some sort of related internship, he should try for that. The only people I know that graduated within the last 2 years that have jobs related to their major got them through internships. It might even be worth doing one during the school year and graduating a term late if you could swing that. The job market is terrible now and likely to get worse unless Obama is defeated. Best of luck. One of mine has a minimum wage job not related to his major, but is at least self-supporting. The other is still looking after 4 months (He has a disability and it was not feasible for him to do an internship).

talkingpoints on May 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Not bad. But, where’s the Dad / Husband?

Mitoch55 on May 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Given the age of the main character, the loss of a husband is not an uncommon occurrence. Not an unrealistic situation, and as others stated, it then allows the focus on the mother and her children

AZfederalist on May 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

And of course if this country is foolish enough to reelect Obama, I’ll need them to help keep me in my old age, since I’ve had 7% 15% of my income “invested” for me in SS/MC which I’m not likely to ever see a penny of anyway.

LibraryGryffon on May 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM

FTFY, never forget the employer’s contribution to the government’s thievery.

Mini-14 on May 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

I moved in with him for a while when I had a bout of unemployment and underemployment back in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the last three years have made that more the norm than the exception,

My condolences to your father. He can take solace in the fact that his son is a nationally known blogger, even if said son hasn’t been able to constantly hold down a real job over the past three years;-)

unclesmrgol on May 23, 2012 at 1:42 AM

YOu know that “he spoke so beautifully” comment about Obama is going to be spun into a racist remark.

BrunoMitchell on May 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM

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