Chad Lee's "Send a Message to Congress" ad begins on a dark, depressing note. The Republican candidate for U.S. Representative tells voters in Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District that the government is responsible for causing "historic unemployment" and sending "billions to Wall Street." The background music is eerie, and pictures flash of a sad old woman with bad skin and a sad old man with no hair. This is not an America anyone wants to live in.
Then Lee shows slow-motion footage of his opponent, Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin. Baldwin is dancing her heart out with an ecstatic smile, raised arms and bouncing breasts. She's flanked by two equally happy women in campy wigs, one of whom toots a trumpet. "Tammy Baldwin's having a ball borrowing and spending in Congress while Wisconsin families foot the bill!" the narrator says. The deeply unfair implication is that Baldwin parties hearty in response to her constituents' hard times.
Halfway through the ad, Lee appears onscreen himself in a starchy shirt and tie, denouncing "destabilizing debt." A banal synthesizer burbles on the soundtrack as Lee strolls stiffly through an otherwise empty wooded area.
I'm almost certain Lee wants us to see him as the preferable choice here. Did he not realize that he's made dancing with Tammy Baldwin look much more fun than strolling with him?
Isthmus TV critic Dean Robbins will assess candidate commercials throughout the 2010 fall elections in this regular feature. Read more reviews of political campaign spots.