If you have a few minutes to spare it’s well worth heading to The Living Room Candidate, an online presentation by the US Museum of the Moving Image which presents hundreds of presidential campaign adverts dating back to 1952.
As you might expect they’ve changed almost beyond recognition, from the early cartoon songs “I like Ike, you like Ike, everybody likes Ike — for Pres-i-dent,” to the openly scare-mongering nuclear holocaust ads of LBJ’s campaign. There’s some obvious echoes of this year’s campaigns too; amongst them McGovern’s 1972 claim in ‘Convention’: “Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few, and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a million-member club.”
Amongst the highlights: ‘Daisy Girl Peace’ and ‘Ice Cream’ (1964, Democrat), the definitive attack ads – served successfuly to portrayal Goldwater as a reckless extremist.
‘Revolving Door’ and ‘Willie Horton’ (1988, Republican), early work from the man behind the Swift Boat ads of 2004 – racial undertones prompted a particuarly strong emotional reactions to the ads from whites.
‘The Man from Hope’ (1992, Democrat), a classic of the biography-type ads. Introduced Bill Clinton to the nation.
While I’m sharing links, this site analyses the key words from every key presidential speech since 1776; well worth a look.
I’ll have a post up on the ground game, and another on the role of race in the 2008 contest, up in the next few days or so. Oh, and I’ll be liveblogging the first Presidential debate (topic: Foreign Policy) on September 26th – the terms have been set.