At first blush it is little more than another tiresome campaign television spot. Simplistic graphics, a lecturing voice over, and hyperbolic text are use to paint an opponent as dire. This gives way to the candidate appearing chipper, brightly lit, and representing all manner of hope and future success. It bears all the nuance of a “Made for TV” product spot, where cracking an egg is disastrous, until “The Shell Extractor” is featured!
However this particular spot bears a potentially troubling aspect, one that may be particularly pernicious. The ad is for current Mayor of Saint Petersburg, Florida – Rick Kriseman. His opponent is Rick Baker, previous two term mayor of the same city. The spot was produced by the Florida Democrat Party, and the opening portion is what has some looking askance at the possibly questionable content.
Resorting to a graphics-quality level normally found in an ecard produced at JibJab.com, the spot begins with common GOP demons — Trump (natch), Governor Rick Scott, and Mitt Romney slide into frame. Then an image of Baker joins them, donning a MAGA hat as we are told why he is the worst thing to ever give rise within St. Pete city proper. Drink in the audio-visual magic.
Now if you did not initially pick up on the controversy, congratulations; you are neither a cynic nor a tremulous hothouse flower. But what has been noted is the appearance of key Republican figures adorned in baseball attire, as they are singled out as bad politicians. This is deemed to be a direct callback to the targeted D.C. shooting that left Congressman Steve Scalise in intensive care.
Now as one who is not to over-reactive — or simply reactive — to perceived offenses I think I can at the least look this over with a measure of objectivity. So is there any merit to this being a depiction of that shooting, intentional or otherwise?
For openers the “players” here are shown not wearing major league pinstripe uniforms, but are shown in the more common beer league softball shirts. This is at least akin to the casual nature of the game that was interrupted by the shooting. Additionally, the Florida Dems entitled this spot as “FDP Takes Aim At Republican Rick Baker”. So even if this was an innocuous connection there is enough tone deafness at play to see fit to suspend the spots, and/or fire the upstart film maker.
But the telling aspect here is that in looking the spot over, there is no other connection throughout the half minute ad to baseball. The imagery makes no sense to the boilerplate political content of the spot. Employing “Takes aim”, and a baseball diamond, can only mean two things: The Democrats are craven amoral political opportunists, or they are insipid and indolent naifs.
Either is a deeply impressive title for them to sport.