A day after the Atlantic released tons of confidential memos and e-mails that, yet again, proved Hillary Clinton’s former chief strategist Mark “Bowser” Penn kills puppies for bloodsport, the Politico has comically published an op-ed from this very same Mark Penn, entitled, “Negative ads: They really do work.” Christ, Mark, we get it; Wolfson and Grunwald and Ickes were silly sallies who kept spoiling your hellish strategy for charred victory. But that doesn’t mean you have to write some creepy op-ed in the damn Politico every three hours! Seriously, creepy — in this op-ed, Penn reveals how he and Bill Clinton used to stalk people at the mall in 1996.
You have to be some kinda rare strain of asshole to brag about how you invented research once:
In 1996, my colleagues and I designed a new kind of research for President Bill Clinton’s reelection bid, in which voters were shown campaign ads in public places like shopping malls. The same voters were then interviewed privately, in an atmosphere where they let their hair down and spoke candidly. Not surprisingly, voters admitted that negative ads sway their ballot box choices.
Oh, so that was Mark Penn’s New Research: he took Bill to the mall, showed folks disturbing images and then took them into a private atmosphere where they would “let their hair down.” All subjects said that they would vote for Bill Clinton, certainly, after just having seen the disturbing images of Bob Dole’s flaccid member that some fat pollster had posted all over the mall.
Here’s a rather amazing paragraph:
Some negative ads crystallize voters’ opinions without presenting any new information. That’s what was behind John McCain’s recent ad equating Barack Obama’s celebrity status with that of Paris Hilton — that viewers would associate the Democrat’s leadership with mere celebrity, not substance. Fair or not, as advertising it did its job: It used humor, stuck viewers with memorable images and created a debate, just as Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 “Daisy” ad, Walter Mondale’s “Red Phone” spot 20 years later and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “3 a.m.” commercial in 2008 did.
Now who was it that came up with that Clinton “3 a.m.” ad? Oh that’s right, it was Mark Penn, the writer of this column, who designed that ad — which is apparently one of the three most important political ads in history! And yes, it was effective in how it “used humor.” Nothing’s funnier than an ad about your small children getting raped and shot by terrorists in the middle of the night, except maybe an ad showing a little girl picking flowers until she’s randomly nuked during the height of the Cold War.
Negative ads: They really do work [Politico]