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JDM vs the WORLD


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On Campaign Ads
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I like how there are people in this country who run for office without having any idea why they want to win.

Lynn Swann is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Swann is running for governor here in Pennsylvania this year. The only thing he is promising in his campaign commercials is “change.”

Does this kind of strategy actually work with people? Why? We don’t even know what kind of changes he’s talking about. Maybe he means pocket change. Or changing diapers. Who knows? He could mean sex changes. One minute you’re voting the guy into office; the next he’s turning men into women and women into men. Does this sound like something you want to be stuck with for the next four years?

If Lynn Swann becomes governor, I am burning my bra in protest.

I think anyone who runs for office should respect my vote the same way I respect traffic cops. In truth, I don’t respect them whatsoever. But I respect their authority enough to pretend I respect it. I wish politicians would at least pretend they respect me.

Whenever a politician accuses his opponent of being “dirty” or “sleazy,” it usually means that politician is also dirty or sleazy. In fact, it usually means they are both.

Another word for “dirty campaigning” is simply “campaigning.” Most campaign ads need to be watched from this point of view.

I think my favorite ads nowadays would have to be the ones where they try to artfully weave the “I approved this message” shtick into the message, as if they were going to say it even if they didn’t have to. If there were Emmys for campaign ads, they would be called the Slimeys, and these ads would be the winners every time.

Here’s how they work: A guy or gal who’s running for office comes on the air for about thirty seconds, talks directly to the cameras, and then closes up by saying, “I approved this message because _____.” The “because” is the key part to what they are doing, because the “because” is what lets them turn the ad into a call for action (or a cry for help). For example, “I approved this message because it’s time for change.” Or, “I approved this message because I need your support.”

I just love the awkwardness of these moments. We already know these people approved the message. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have filmed it. The only time we would need further clarification is if they “approved this message because my campaign manager is holding a gun to my butt hole.”

Just once I would like to see some politician turn this thing around. Just once I would like to see some truth in advertising. “My name is such and such, and I approved this mess we’re in.”

“I’m Lynn Swann, and I approved this sex change.”

If I ever run for office, I am going to revolutionize American politics. I’m going to start at the bottom and be the only guy ever to hold every office at least once. Starting with dogcatcher. Here’s my campaign slogan: “Jonathan David Morris. He really catches dogs.” Then, when I get all the way up to president someday: “Jonathan David Morris. He really has three names.”

The way I figure, people need something to sink their teeth into. You’ve really gotta show them the money.

Jonathan David Morris is the author of Versus Nurture. Like him on Facebook at

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