Chris Christie Stars In "Pension Reform!" Movie Trailer, Quickly Decides Better Of It — VIDEO
Do you think that Chris Christie is a tough-talking, no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble political operator in a world full of double-talk and reckless spending? If yes, the good people of the Governor's media team have the best political ad of all time to show you — a Chris Christie movie trailer about pension reform. If you don't think those things, on the other hand, you were probably just fine with what Team Christie did next — pulling the faux-movie trailer off YouTube with a mere 2,860 views.
It isn't hard to see why Christie's staff may have thought better of the ad. Pension reform is a divisive and intense battle in New Jersey of late, with Christie cutting back on funding to the state's public employee pensions by a whopping $2.4 billion in 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times. It's a politically contentious mess, with average New Jersey citizens facing unwelcome pension cuts. It's a controversial topic, addressed in a decidedly flippant way in the ad.
But the real reason the video vanished may be more precise — near the end, a brief clip of action star Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) flashes across the screen, and his name is flashed across the screen, as though a film credit. Thanks to WNYC reporter Matt Katz, we now know that Johnson wasn't thrilled about the use of his image.
Here's the full ad, kept alive even after Christie's official account took it down.
While it might seem callous to the gravity of the issue, hokey and aggrandizing, and downright weird in some places — what's with the helicopters and the missile launch? — this is actually the one of the tamer, more restrained concept ads rolled out by GOP candidates in the last several years.
When ex-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was in the throes of his doomed presidential run in 2012, he tried to fire up some support with an even more stern, gravitas-laden movie trailer-style a for his book, "Courage to Stand." It makes Christie's entry look like amateur hour.
The Pawlenty ad is pompous in the extreme, but at least it was trying to bolster an aura of leadership and strength around Pawlenty (though it never quite took — he was out of the race and heading up a banking lobbyist group by September 2012). The most outrageous GOP ads of recent years haven't even managed to do that.
The Infamous "Demon Sheep" Ad
When former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina decided to run for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010, she brought on Fred Davis to produce some ads. Davis, largely on the strength of his work for Fiorina, became somewhat notorious for putting out bombastic, farcical content. His attack on Fiorina's GOP primary opponent Tom Campbell may remain his most infamous effort — the "Demon Sheep" ad.
But, rest easy — Davis wasn't done spinning his bizarre brand of advertising magic for Fiorina. Just a month later, he set his sights even higher, this time targeting Fiorina's general election opponent, the well-entrenched incumbent Democrat, Senator Barbara Boxer.
Barbara Boxer's Head is an Evil Zeppelin
Put out by the ultimately unsuccessful Carly Fiorina Senate campaign in 2010, this offering from notorious Republican ad-man Fred Daviscertainly sticks in your mind, but not really in a way that makes you think, "yeah, Carly for Senate!" Rather, it just makes you feel uncomfortable and confused. It's a long ad, but the part nearest the beginning is what everybody tends to remember of it — Boxer's big ol' head soaring through the skies of Washington, D.C.
That's just disturbing, there's no other way to put it. The ad smooths out in the middle, giving a soft-focus retelling of Fiorina's successes throughout her life, but Davis can't help putting in one more shot of the Boxer Blimp near the end. And it was all for naught, as Fiorina lost the race by nearly ten points.
The Most Offensive Attack Ad of All Time?
Luckily for Davis, he's not responsible for what could reasonably be considered the scummiest political attack ad in recent memory. Putting together a rich stew of racism and sexism in attacking Democratic House candidate Janice Hahn, that title goes to Ladd Ehrlinger Jr, who put this effort together for a Super PAC called Turn Eight USA. (Be warned, the video is as offensive as can be — that's Ehrlinger's whole idea, you see.)
Hoo-boy. Hahn would ultimately defeat her Republican challenger Craig Huey, who was himself forced to denounce Ehrlinger's ad.