Ed Driscoll

Tomorrow's Campaign Ads Today

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In 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago.” In 2008, Hillary asked Democrat primary voters who they wanted to answer the 3:00 AM phone call. (Actually, then and now, they’d prefer that the phone was simply off the hook, as it apparently was in the White House during Benghazi.) This year, Benjamin Netanyahu asks Israeli voters who’d they like to babysit their kids. As John Podhoretz tweets, “If you don’t think this is a great commercial, you’re bonkers,” and some smart American campaign consultant will likely steal it next year. But it only works for the right candidate — Bibi’s bona fides as pretty rock solid when it comes to fighting terrorism; which is why the ad works for him, it’s a kinder and gentler version of Hillary’s 3:00 AM ad, in this case, repositioning a man of the right to appeal to the squishy center while still promoting his core competency. (The punchline is a hoot, too.)

So who can use this ad in America? Given her husband’s predilections, Hillary asking if you want her to babysit your kids would seem icky, though in retrospect, it’s a shame flinty ol’ Cold Warrior turned GWOT proponent John McCain’s strategists didn’t think of this approach in 2008. But could someone like Chris Christie use such an ad to soften his gruff appearance? Uncle Joe Biden? In any case, somebody will use a variation of this ad next year.