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American Enterprise Bank

Political ads on TV … They lyin’

The onslaught is coming. Grab your kids and take cover. And whatever you do, make sure your DVR is working properly.

After Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and then South Carolina, we’re next. My inbox at the office is already bursting at the seams with political junk mail from all of the Republican nominee hopefuls. Save one.

Mr. Reasonable himself, Jon Huntsman.

This poor guy doesn’t have a chance in the presidential primary. He’s too pragmatic, logical and calm to get the base’s blood pumping. And he’s not dogmatic enough to win over any of the large conservative constituencies: evangelicals, libertarians or free marketers.

He might have been able to corral the war hawks, but now they’re all Democrats who get giddy when they hear that President Obama’s killed more terrorists than any president before him, thanks to Predator drone strikes and more surgical attacks by US special forces.

Maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.


However, as a supporter of most of the President’s policies and slightly fewer of his actions, I am pleased by Mr. Huntsman’s trailing position in the polls. He’s the only one I think has a chance of beating President Obama in November’s general election.

Mitt Romney changes policy positions like he changes socks. He can’t bash the individual mandate in Obamacare without going into a high school history class speech about state’s rights. Wake me up now.

The rest of the field’s records are too far right to win the general election, in my humble opinion; unless 60 percent of the electorate stays home nationally as they did in 2010.

Republicans are always saying that America is fundamentally a center right country. And I might agree, but then why is Huntsman so far behind? He is the poster boy for center right, moderate and independent policies that are difficult for most liberals to combat.

But I digress. My aim with this rant is not to sway your vote in favor of Mr. Huntsman, but instead to quote a song lyric written by one Lawrence Krisna Parker, the 46-year-old Brooklyn, New York native and so-called “conscious” rapper known as KRS-One. In his song, The Mind, released in 2001, he said, “When you watch television just keep saying they lyin’ to me. Cause they are.”

Now, the TV landscape is certainly vast and varied, so I don’t want to paint with a broad brush. But no place is Mr. Parker’s quote more true than in television advertising, and even more so, in political television advertising.

The Republican candidates and their financiers will be blowing millions of dollars on what political strategists say is the most effective form of political propaganda. After all, nearly every person in America has a television and spends an unhealthy amount of time in front of it.

But a good rule of thumb for when such commercials appear before you, is to let your eyes glaze over, go to the bathroom, grab another beer, check on dinner, make sure your kids are doing their homework or kiss your wife.

All will be more productive than paying attention to the television and trying to figure what grain of truth was stretched so far that there’s none of it left on the screen.

Or as KRS-One tells us, just keep saying to yourself, “They lyin’ to me.”

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