Summary: Forecasting the next stage in the decay of the Second Republic becomes more difficult as it accelerates. Last week we posted Putin’s ads today are those of America’s future, describing the likely evolution of campaigns into entertainment — like Wimbledon, a fun stylish competitive event — as the policy differences between the candidates diminishes. Last week’s prediction has become this week’s news.
October 19th’s post looked at advertisements for Putin’s campaign and concluded that the Second Republic has fallen into a process of decay. The 2008 election allowed us to choose between different candidates with almost identical policies. That was not obvious to those that voted for Mr. Hope And Change. Four years experience has shown that Obama’s economic and national security policies are almost identical to Bush Jr’s.
Now we have a new election, new choices. The banality of the 2012 slogans — Romney’s “Believe in America” and Obama’s “Forward” — cannot be exceeded, and the reality-free nature of this campaign will prove difficult to top. The news media expect little (rightly so), and cover the election as they do figure skating at the Olympics.
So what is the natural evolution of elections in the post-Constitutional era, as we slide from the Second Republic into plutocracy? We can look to Russia to see our future, where they run campaigns — but few expect anything serious from them.
Not much of a prediction; more like advance reporting. Now we have the confirmation: Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy flags this new YouTube ad from the Obama campaign featuring Girls star Lena Dunham, and explains the similarity to Putin’s ads.
The similarity Keating mentions is to a series of advertisements from Putin’s campaign with the theme “Putin — the first time is just for love.” Such as this one, eerily evocative of the Obama as savior hysteria from 2008 (which the ad with Dunham attempts to recreate). The translation (from a Huffington Post article):
Mystic: “Let’s find out who is intended to you by destiny.”
Girl: “You know, I wish it to be for love — It is my first time.”
The mystic flips the card, revealing a photo of Putin.
Other Putin ads have similar vignettes.
Girl: “You know doctor — I am very scared, although my choice is one of love.”
Doctor: “Of course I understand. Everyone is afraid the first time. The main thing is to trust your choice. Because trust is love. And your choice you can trust.”
The camera closes in on a picture of Putin amid romantic music.
The girl is then shown happily walking to the polling station.
Doctor tells another girl: “The main thing is to be sure it’s safe. Especially the first time.”
Camera focuses on a photo of Putin.
Doctor “With him, it will be safe.”
The ad concludes with the girl happily casting her vote.
The difference between Russia and us
An AFP article links to another YouTube video showing that the Russian people know where this leads, although they lack the strength to do more than mock their ruler. The woman, glamorous media star and socialite Ksenia Sobchak, explains that “Now is not the time to rock the boat and we should rally round one leader. This is why I have taken this difficult decision” to vote for Putin. Watch the end to learn the rest of story.
Sobchak is the daughter of Putin’s late mentor, former Saint Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak. This video has 2.6 million views on YouTube. Is this how the Second Republic ends, with Americans becoming politically impotent?
This need not be our fate. We can change. We can do better.
This post uses material from these articles:
- “Racy Putin videos woo ‘first time’ Russia voters“, AFP, 24 February 2012
- “Vladimir Putin Ad: ‘First Time’ Voting Campaign Stirs Controversy “, Huffington Post, 27 February 2012
- “Is the Obama campaign taking commercial ideas from Vladimir Putin?“, Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy, 25 October 2012 — About Obama’s advertisement!
For More Information
Too see all posts about this go to these FM Reference Pages:
- Politics in America – and the 2012 Campaign
- Obama, his administration and policies
- America – how can we reform it?
Other posts about our dysfunctional elections
- Lilliput or America – who has a better way to choose its leaders?, 19 November 2008
- About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
- The economy speaks – and votes, 12 August 2010
- The winners and losers from this election, hidden amidst the noise, 3 November 2010
- Why do awesome people – like us – have such inadequate leaders?, 2 April 2012 — Because we vote.
- The presidential debates are performance art. They’re Kabuki., 4 October 2012
- A reminder that debates are fun, not politics: Reagan had Alzheimer’s in 1984 and we didn’t notice., 5 October 2012