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August 24, 2007

giuliani, keeping it real

Water sure does find its level:

Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani has a new team of media consultants with a strong record of electing GOP candidates, sometimes using controversial ads. The team is led by Heath Thompson and his Dallas-based firm, Scott Howell & Company. Thompson, as director of President Bush's 2000 campaign in South Carolina, helped Bush to an 11-point victory in that state.

Last year, a commercial made by Thompson's firm for Tennessee's U.S. Senate race was criticized for what the NAACP and others said were racial overtones.

Run by the Republican National Committee against Democrat Harold Ford, who is black, the ad showed a white woman saying she had met Ford at a Playboy-sponsored party. As the ad ended, the woman, her shoulders bared, whispered into the camera, "Harold, call me." [full story]

I can't stand talking android Harold Ford and found the bulk of the chatter about him and de white wimmins a bit off, but the ad created by Scott Howell & Company was a real piece of work:

(This is an aside, but it took a while to find a youtube stream whose description wasn't of the "look at this funny ad!" variety.)

Ex-Giuliani Michael Meyers advisor recently described Rudy G as someone who "could play on the edge of old racial antipathies," and that sums him up neatly as a racial type, I think. Picking a PR firm with a racial cloud over it (or halo, depending on your POV) is a kind of of racial edge-play, a statement that Rudy won't let anyone mau-mau him into any given decision or action. Rudy's racial antipathies are of that very specific, big city, cop-ish strain where contempt is experienced as a kind of insight or familiarity. Like the ad above or any given article in City Journal, the internal experience of this kind of antipathy is the conviction that one knows something hard-won, unpopular and powerfully telling and true about the Negro - his cranial capacity, for example, or how Harold Ford rolls sexually, or the lyrics to Cop Killer.

Not to go all the way back to Imus, but one of things about the whole nappy-headed ho's thing is that Imus thought he was speaking in, er, jive, which is to say to a large extent he was just saying something he "knew"" black people say all the time. For someone like Imus, a Nappy Headed Ho problem (or a Blackface Joe controversy) is a hypocritical tempest in a media teacup, something driven not by legitimate grievance but by opportunism and realpolitik. Similarly, I'd imagine the complaints about Scott Howell & Company's Ford ad are not about the ad's racism for Giuliani, but its effectiveness.

I was talking to my man Pascal on the phone, and he was telling me that he's already convinced Giuliani is going to get the Republican nod and that he is going to beat Hillary. ("You didn't think Bush was electable first time around either," he reminded me.) Leaving aside the epic scope of the disaster such a turn of events would represent, we can already rest assured from his PR firm that Giuliani is going to run an ugly, ugly campaign.

Posted by ebogjonson in politricknal sciences, race and other identities, on August 24, 2007 12:57 PM

Comments

I mean he is on the stump COMPLAINING that his opponents aren't using the phrase "islamofascist" with enough frequency. Seriously.

Of course his campaign is only going to play to the most debase of all American instincts.

Posted by: ProblemWithCaring at August 28, 2007 4:54 PM

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