An “old ad man” looks at the convention

My conservative cousin from New York used to be the marketing manager for a major corporation. He has also watched every national political convention since 1952. Here what he wrote me about last week’s show:
“If the pollsters are to be believed this election will be decided by a handful of people with at best marginal interests in current events residing in a few states. Given that dynamic here’s an old ad man’s view.
“John Edwards’ parents could be worth far more votes than Theresa. They’re straight out of Mayberry RFD. If the old man is in enough commercials North Carolina and Louisiana might be in play. I give the Kerry girls a lot of credit for trying to make a dysfunctional family seem like The Brady Bunch. Doubt it will work. Where’s the first Mrs. Kerry? She could be a make or break factor.
“How well will Theresa’s biography relate to a financially strapped single mom. She lacks the down to earth appeal of Laura Bush or the regal glamour of Jackie Kennedy. A Portuguese missionary’s daughter who uses the vocabulary of a truck driver? Well as the Golden Rule says ‘She who has the gold makes the rules.’
“How did they allow Al Sharpton to be right behind Kerry on the podium at the end of the broadcast? Mary Cahill should have gotten the Mayor of Detroit to bulldoze him to the margins next to Dennis Kucinich. There goes the votes of the guys in the pick-up trucks.
“Doesn’t it seem odd with so much time being devoted to the candidates families that Kerry tells us little about his own family background. He spoke of Boston as the cradle of American liberty but made no mention of his ancestor John Winthrop who founded the city. At a gathering that purports to celebrate the achievements of immigrants nothing was said about Kerry’s Jewish immigrant grandparents. Remember Everett Dirksen’s ‘peddler’s grandson’ speech nominating Barry Goldwater or how John Kennedy and Mike Dukakis displayed pride in their ethnic immigrant heritage.
“This seems to be a man detached not only from his audience but from his own self. The undecided voter will probably better relate to the crewman from Kerry’s boat than to the candidate.
“Powerline readers may find these observations trivial in an era where terrorists threaten our survival. And, of course that’s correct. But bear in mind that the undecided voter is far more likely to be found perusing supermarket tabloids than studying the candidates positions on restructuring our intelligence agencies.”


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