Some political consultant sold Dan Helmer, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, on the idea of remaking an iconic scene from Top Gun. Helmer bought it. This proves he’s far too gullible to serve in Congress, and he’ll lose.
Don’t underestimate the power of cheesy commercials. They get attention. I mean how many underdog Congressional candidates get their ad mocked on Fox News as “worst campaign ad ever?” That’s going to generate a lot of publicity. Somebody sold Helmer on the idea that “all publicity is good publicity.” In many cases that’s true, but there’s another rubric here that overrides it: Your first impression needs to be your best impression.
Now, voters’ (and America’s) first impression of Helmer is that he’s a cheesy nutcase, unserious, and a bad singer to boot. That’s going to be difficult, to say the least, to overcome. With one ad, Helmer has sunk himself.
A better approach might have been taking the parody all the way up to the point where he’s about to sing, then stopping, turning to the camera to break the “fourth wall” and saying “Nope! You thought I was going to sing ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling’ and in fact the political consultant suggested it, but I know when not to listen to consultants. That’s why you need me in Congress.”
Too bad Helmer doesn’t get a do-over. If I were him, I’d start by correcting his first mistake–letting Democrats talk him into running as a token veteran (with the matching T-shirt). The proper thing for him to do is to leave the race and leave the Democrats. They’re more of a joke than Helmer’s campaign ad, and just as cringe-inducing.
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