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November 18, 2007

The Greatest Ad Ever

It's increasingly hard not to really, really like Mike Huckabee. I'm definitely going to vote for him for neighbor, or possibly for friend. That said, this is Huckabee's first ad in Iowa, and it seems strangely conceived. Chuck Norris facts are very well known amongst plugged-in hipsters who read Gawker. They are not very well known, I'd guess, among Iowans. If this were a web-only ad meant to get the campaign some YouTube pick-up, it would be very well-designed. As an introduction to Iowans? I think it'll confuse more than it will convert.

And speaking of Chuck Norris facts, everyone's seen The Ultimate Showdown for Ultimate Destiny, right?

Yeah, it's definitely the weekend round here.

November 18, 2007 | Permalink


It seems more like an SNL sketch.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Nov 18, 2007 5:51:32 PM

If there had been any chance I could be swayed to the R column this cycle, that might just have done it. Hits all the right subcultural resonance notes for me-- and I don't even LIKE Chuck Norris.

Which may be speaking against this ad- do the demographics of people who would be swayed by Chuck Norris jokes (or even get the sense of humor) align well with that of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers?

Posted by: Anthony Damiani | Nov 18, 2007 6:01:19 PM

Yeah, I dunno. It was funny, and I'd kind of like to assume (although I am admittedly too lazy to actual dig into this) that the Iowans voting in a GOP primary might be pretty likely to be Walker Texas Rangers fans. Moreover, even if they weren't familiar with Chuck Norris Facts, they may still find it funny. But perhaps more importantly is the fact that Huckabee seems to be running for VP, so maybe it makes sense to show a warmer humorous side through ads when getting one's name out? That certainly seems to be Richardson's strategy for his Vice Presidential campaign, at least.

Posted by: Eric the Political Hack | Nov 18, 2007 6:13:12 PM

"Chuck Norris facts are very well known amongst plugged-in hipster who read Gawker. They are not very well known, I'd guess, among Iowans."

I'd guess Chuck has very good Q ratings among Midwestern Republicans.


That is the single weirdest political TV spot I've ever seen.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 18, 2007 6:17:19 PM

Now that was funny. Mr. Huckabee needs to be appointed the Minister of Culture by our next glorious leader.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost | Nov 18, 2007 6:45:56 PM

Chuck Norris facts are very well known amongst plugged-in hipster who read Gawker.

Sorry Ezra, this just shows what an elitist you are and how little of the Intart00bs you surf.

Posted by: jerry | Nov 18, 2007 6:50:09 PM

That was retarded. Can somebody explain to me how Chuck Norris, who is obviously no Brando but who has spent the last thirty years acting, manages to come off as even more wooden than Huckabee?

Also, it is VERY possible not to really, really like Mike Huckabee. He's really a humongous douchebag.

Posted by: Jason C. | Nov 18, 2007 7:30:53 PM

So a slick ad by a sick evangelical weirdo has your vote. I guess the next thing is you'll say evolution is a lie, the earth is only 6000 years old and all abortions should be illegal. The Huckster flashy ad is so people won't see all his flip flops.

Posted by: Ken | Nov 18, 2007 8:42:09 PM

One other thing if you liked that check out the Huckster on (so called) Christian TV. He's going to be on the Kenneth "Jesus buy me and my wife matching jets" Copeland's show for like 6 nights in a row. Maybe he's going to say if you send him a political donation Jesus will heal/ fill your wallet.

Posted by: Ken | Nov 18, 2007 8:57:46 PM

The problem with progressives is that we like to view the right like Darth Vadar when in fact they are more like the villains from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Remember that show? The villians were often as hip as the heros. They could banter just well as the good guys. That is until they snapped the neck of an unsuspecting coed. I think Chenney and Bush spoiled us for the realities of how good the GOP can be when they are smart about their game.

Posted by: akaison | Nov 18, 2007 9:24:36 PM

I'm sorry... the whole thing just leaves me cold. I get it - there's this whole "cult of Chuck Norris" thing (I am a happy proponent of B-movie bad acting... but Norris? The mind reels...) - but I don't get it. Huckabee still strikes me as a guy who sounds perfectly reasonable... but also points up lots of reasons why the current Republican state of affairs is such a mess. And that's before we discuss that crazy national sales tax plan. Cutesy ads may cut through the clutter, but they don't make Huckabee a frontrunner, or really someone I'd take all that seriously as someone to consider for President.

Posted by: weboy | Nov 18, 2007 9:34:15 PM

How much overlap is there between fans of Chuck Norris and fans of Chuck Norris facts?

Posted by: KCinDC | Nov 18, 2007 10:10:31 PM

Just curious- how many people who post here read other things other than posting here? For example- weboy - you do know that its strongly possible given where Huckabee is in the polls that he will win IA and that this could spring board him into the GOP nomination. That's at least the conclusion that can be drawn by looking at the polling data coming out of the state. I am making this point because if you are going to say that Huckabee has now chance or has a chance there should be some basis for it other than its how you feel. I know that won't stop you, but still how much effort does it take to actually know whether an opinion is just opinion or based on something?

Posted by: akaison | Nov 18, 2007 10:41:58 PM

I thought wingnuts didn't do irony.

Posted by: Jason C. | Nov 18, 2007 11:07:57 PM

Consciously, I mean.

Posted by: Jason C. | Nov 18, 2007 11:08:58 PM

It's increasingly hard not to really, really think that the Dems/MSM are setting the GOP up for a fall by promoting Huck like they are, knowing that they're going to pull the ball away at the last moment.

Posted by: TLB | Nov 19, 2007 12:07:54 AM

That Chuck Norris promo really makes me want to puke, and I was a Chuck Norris fan in my youth, admiring him for his accomplishments in the world of martial arts, and the action in his movies, if not his acting ability. But this type of thing is really pathetic, it just goes to show how desperately out of touch conservatives are in this country.

And I can speak from first-hand knowledge, because I was just up in Ottumwa Iowa canvassing for the Obama campaign on Saturday, trying to get voters to caucus for the senator. I knocked on a few Republican doors, and spoke to a few conservatives, who told us things like -- they couldn't vote for a progressive because it might damage the economy, and that higher taxes -- which they apparently assume Democrats will bring -- has always proven to make things worse. One man apparently stated that his vote will only go to someone who will guarantee him that gun control won't come to his little corner of the world. I just love those single issue voters, sporting large arsenals of high-powered weapons in their front living rooms. Always prudent to be cordial and watch your P&Q's in conversations with these folks.

Personally I don't really think there's much chance of gun control coming to Iowa, in Ottumwa it's apparently legal to hunt deer within the city limits, on your front lawn. Supposedly they have a bit of a deer overpopulation problem in the area, and one Obama supporter -- who met us on his is front walkway before we could even knock on the door because his wife is a Republican -- told me that his neighbor shot a big buck in his front yard the other day. I was relieved to hear that the kill was made with a bow, and not a 30.6 or 308, whose high velocity projectiles tend to travel farther and have a bit more penetrating power than your average arrow. Still if I lived in the community I think I would consider outfitting my children with some kind of updated versions of 14th-century chainmail during bow hunting season, so they would have a better chance of surviving an arrow strike while waiting for the schoolbus. I was careful to avoid looking like a deer for the remainder of my canvassing.

At one of our stops, the smiling wife of one Democrat proudly proclaimed that she was waiting for her husband to tell her who to vote for. Thankfully she didn't notice the momentary cringe that collectively earthed through our bodies when this statement registered in our brains. Obviously 19th and 20th century feminist theory has yet to penetrate some areas of Iowa. I think the next time I crossed the state line I'll bring a few copies of Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir and Gloria Steinem with me, and perhaps sow some subversive seeds in the minds of these corn belt housewives. I must admit that such encounters can be a bit demoralizing, and gave me concern for the evolutionary progress of the electorate in this country, but half my family hail from the boonies of Missouri, so I can relate to these folks, on some level, and it makes for excellent literary imagery. :-)

Posted by: Aaron B Brown | Nov 19, 2007 2:12:33 AM

akaison... oy. Just oy. No really. That comment's just inane. Do I think Mike Huckabee has a serious shot at the GOP nomination? Perhaps. I think it's far too early to say that he can realistically carry Iowa (the best indications are a good second at best), or to see how he can carry the rest of the map needed to get the nomination (I tend to agree with the analysis that Giuliani can wait out the early states and win California, Florida and New York). But, sure, Huckabee has appeal with religiopus conservatives - though he also has baggage like immigration and a history of scandals that argue against him. Regardless, this post was about the laudatory reaction to an ad that I think is hardly the winner people make it out to be, even in some underground cultural appeal for a schlock movie actor like Norris. This "conservatives can do hip like the villains on Buffy" thing is nonsense. I tend to think the ad is much more a reminder of how conservatives want to be culturally savvy, but really can't do it successfully. You've really gotten so distracted with dismissing every word of mine that you're really drifting off the edge.

Posted by: weboy | Nov 19, 2007 7:36:14 AM

Aaron Brown,

Just curious, do you think your contempt of Iowa voters translates into a benefit for Obama's campaign?

Posted by: Dave Justus | Nov 19, 2007 12:49:55 PM

Dave Justice

Well Dave, if I actually held the voters of Iowa in contempt, I don't think I would be taking five-hour bus rides from St. Louis to go door-to-door speaking with them. I joined the Obama campaign because Barack Obama in my view is one of the few candidates who is keeping it real, and telling it like it is with far less regard for partisanship then the other candidates, and I respect that kind of honesty and feel that if we are really going to change politics in this country and get America back on the right track, it's going to take looking at things honestly, and dealing with them openly, and hopefully with a sense of humor, which is what I was shooting for in my comment.

Perhaps this will drive away some of the more shallow and shortsighted elements in the electorate, and people with no sense of humor, but those folks belong with the Republicans and the pretenders anyway because these are the same people who look at Barack Obama and only see a Black man, or a Liberal, who thay would never actually consider voting for in any event. You can't do much more for those folks then feel sorry for them, and I assure you I do. So perhaps you're confusing pity with contempt in their case.

And I wouldn't want y'all to get the wrong impression of the people of Iowa, or the Democratic voters of Ottumwa because most of the registered Democrats I spoke to had a good grasp of the politics and were well aware of the the larger issues which most concern Americans today, though I must say genuine interest in participating in the caucus was rather lethargic, and even entirely lacking in some instances. A state of mind, I might add, which is a nationwide problem and tragic failing on the part of the American people. No doubt Obama's people are well aware of this in Iowa from the information they're receiving from volunteers like me, and will hopefully work to address this problem in the time they have left. I don't think it does the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party any good to sugarcoat these hard realities, realities that reveal a deeply troubling lack of participation in the democratic process.

On a positive note, our group did have quite a few verbal confirmations from those who assured us they were going to caucus for Obama, including my own brother who is an Iowa resident, and who caucused for Edwards the last time around. It took me about a year win him over, and was a bit of an unexpected triumph for me on that day, one that I managed to accomplish over the phone on my way up to Iowa. But that's how you do it, one small victory at time.

I'm proud of the fact that I'm getting out in the trenches, and doing what I can to live up to my civic responsibilities. How about you Dave?

How about the rest of you?

Posted by: Aaron B Brown | Nov 19, 2007 4:58:37 PM

The Jesus Freak endorses the Theocrat. Wow.

Posted by: Iremon | Nov 19, 2007 5:00:39 PM

MURDALAND magazine had an article in the new issue about how into Chuck Norris jokes the U.S. troops in Kuwiat preparing to deploy into Iraq are. (Though, um, yeah . . . I don't know how into Gawker the troops are.)

Posted by: Hey Joe | Nov 19, 2007 6:19:00 PM

Don't worry, Aaron, it's ok to hold Iowa voters in contempt. "Kerry-Edwards '04"

Posted by: Dan W. | Nov 19, 2007 9:51:09 PM

I wish these Hollywood actors would just STFU.

Posted by: christian | Nov 20, 2007 2:42:55 AM

Really? Just a few "plugged-in hipsters"?

Obviously, you're out of touch with real Americans. You must have never experienced Barrens general chat. But as we know, there are more World of Warcraft players than farmers in America. Probably even in Iowa.

Posted by: Greg | Nov 20, 2007 4:09:33 AM

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