Via Metafilter, I just came across one of the more bizarre and disturbing campaign ads (this link offers a partial script and another link to the ad) I’ve seen all season. The advertisement, “Kerry’s Coalition of the Wild-eyed,” is intended to depict the “pessimism and rage” of prominent “Kerry Democrats” such as Al Gore, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, MoveOn.org, and Kerry himself.
The most disturbing image in the ad shows Adolf Hitler giving a speech and implicitly claims that MoveOn compared Bush to Hitler (a false accusation in the first place). The advertisement itself is rather muddled and confusing, at least for me. Without the context of the Bush campaign homepage, it’s not at all clear how these images are being used until the very end of the advertisement. In fact, on an initial, inattentive viewing of the ad, most of what we hear in the ad involves criticisms directed at the Bush presidency (Moore’s “fictitious president” comment, etc). Although the ad concludes with a call for Bushian optimism, it’s impossible to determine from the advertisement what to be optimistic about.
It would also be easy to think that the advertisement is comparing the Democrats themselves to Hitler, especially if you read the editing cues (which suggest an equivalence between each of the images). One commenter in the MeFi discussion did make the point that the ad is likely focused on “true believers” who would already know how to read these images (i.e. “look how scary these guys are”), but no matter the audience, the trivialization of these images of Hitler deserves to be heavily criticized.