October 22, 2004

Crying "Wolf"

Matthew Yglesias hears George W. Bush crying "Wolf!" and recoils in mock terror:

Matthew Yglesias: The Wolves...: ...guys, I think Drezner and I may have this whole "who should you vote for" thing wrong. I like Kerry's health plan, his education plan, and his orientation on tax policy. I'm not so hot on his trade rhetoric, but Bush's policies on this score haven't been any better. The president's certainly mismanaged foreign policy a great deal and seems unwilling to learn from his mistakes. But when you get down to it, the fact is that if Kerry wins you're probably going to be . . . EATEN BY WOLVES!

The real problem with this ad, I think, is that the real wolves shown are just not that scary. They look too much like German Shepherds, and each wolf by itself is too small to be convincing as a serious threat. Moreover, the wolves in the video shot at the end aren't hunting: they're hanging out in the meadow, and then being roused by the dinner bell...

UPDATE: The wolf pack speaks:

WolfpacksforTruth.org: The Real Story on George Bush's "Wolves" Commercial: We were tricked by George W. Bush: They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial! When the camera crew showed up, we wondered why they were all driving Hummers. Our agent assured us it was a Greenpeace commercial and they paid TWICE our hourly steak rate. Little did we know we were being tricked into this vicious campaign attack ad. We are not Terrorists!

Posted by DeLong at October 22, 2004 07:31 PM | TrackBack

Yeah. Those dogs won't hunt . . .

Posted by: Randy Paul at October 22, 2004 07:53 PM

I think you missed the real wolves.


Posted by: poputonian at October 22, 2004 08:01 PM

I think you missed the real wolves.


Posted by: poputonian at October 22, 2004 08:09 PM

I think you missed the real wolves.


Posted by: poputonian at October 22, 2004 08:22 PM

The Bush campaign needs better animal trainers. The ones they have can't get a pack of wolves to start snarling, and they can't get the Vice President to stop.

Posted by: Ramar at October 22, 2004 08:22 PM

here's my theory: rove wants to lose, in order to achieve his much-vaunted realignment by saddling the democrats with such a gigantic mess that it will be impossible to emerge during a kerry administration. Indeed, the trendlines already exist for 3 likely horror shows in the next 4 years: a fiscal crisis; an iraq collapse; and another domestic terrorist attack.

The right wingers will go nuts, the media will return to its performance during the clinton years, and it will be impossible for a democrat to get elected president for several decades.

because if he doesn't want to lose this one, there's no excuse for an attack ad this lame. These guys can do better attack ads in their sleep....

Posted by: howard at October 22, 2004 08:34 PM

Make sure to watch Eagle,

The Democrats can make animal ads too.


Posted by: Tara Gosset at October 22, 2004 08:35 PM

I agree. These wolves are too "Dances with Wolves" which, all in all was a nice sympathetic wolf, not a terrorist wolf. As a rule wolves that are supposed to be scary should A) have a good snarl and B) a blood stained snout.

Posted by: Alex at October 22, 2004 08:40 PM

I agree. These wolves are too "Dances with Wolves" which, all in all were nice sympathetic wolves, not terrorist wolves. Imagine--Kevin Costner cavorting with a terrorist wolf. I think not. As a rule, scary wolves should A) have a good snarl and B) a blood stained snout.

Posted by: Alex at October 22, 2004 08:43 PM

Isn't it a total retread of the Soviet bear? At least most people understood that symbolism.

Why not hyenas? Hyenas would have been good. Or big jackals. Huge computer animated hyenas and jackals, howling. And the ad shouldn't be complete retread. There should be innocent US people being threatened. Like, for example the Hillary Healthcare couple (Harry and Louise were there names?). Old H&L could be happily walking along and a pack of giant hyenas jump out at them, and they run, and come to a river full of crocodiles! Giant crocodiles. That would be good.

Space aliens would be good too, they could swoop down and deathray people to death -that would be scary too.

I don't find it so easy to dismiss the ad because of two news articles I just read:

1) a signficant fraction of undecided voters have not, are not and do not intend to follow the campaign, and will vote for Bush out of some kind of inertia principle

2) most Bush supporters are wrong about Bush's position on most major issues

(I would get the URLs, but am too depressed right now.)

With folks like that, an ad like this might work.

And why are all the adds such slick overproduced pieces of uninformative garbage? (Kerry's included) Frightening to think who could be swayed by this tripe. I think Reagan made some very effective ads where he just sat in a chair facing the camera and talked about his positions. Why can't Kerry do that? I think a response ad that showed Kerry personally responding to the Wolf ad would be more effective than something like the ostrich-eagle ad, or whatever overproduced vacuous thing they produce.

I thank God Almighty I do not live in a swing state! I only look at these on the internet when I feel like (which is not very often).

Posted by: jml at October 22, 2004 09:00 PM

C) rabies

Posted by: Vivy at October 22, 2004 09:02 PM

I love how bush canít get off the phone to endorse the message...

Posted by: Andrew Cory at October 22, 2004 09:07 PM

The wolves aren't scary because this is only the teaser ad. The real one goes up next week, and they'll be feeding.

Posted by: CD318 at October 22, 2004 09:28 PM

Perhaps, CD318, but then they'll be ineffective not because they're too lame, but because they're too gross. (I think this was a howlingly bad choice for Rove, and one that's going to be consistently mocked as the weekend goes on.)

Posted by: Monstertron at October 22, 2004 09:44 PM

It sounded like the folks at abc News want us to believe the wolves ad is like some secret weapon, a real winner unleashed at the critical moment of the campaign. They even made the connection with the Reagan ad in case the dumber Bushies didn't get it.

What's most worrying to me is that so many people seem so uninterested in the truth. They question nothing that Bush says, they believe no-one else. That's faith, and that's frightening.

Posted by: Steve at October 22, 2004 10:03 PM

Funny they should mention wolf/wolves.

Have been saying for some time that the Little Red Riding Hoods of the Republican Party better take a good close look at grandma.

Am wondering if the visual content is copyrighted. Using the same footage (with a bit of editing and a few additions) the message could be transformed into "The Republicans offer themselves as Guardians of the Henhouse."

Posted by: Rees Jones-Jones at October 23, 2004 06:03 AM

Unlike the folks responsible for the "wolves" ad, the wolves appear relaxed and intelligent.

Posted by: bncthor at October 23, 2004 11:09 AM

The right-wing comic strip Prickly City features a conservative coyote pup named Winslow who is every bit as scary as the puppies in Bush's "Wolves" spot. In today's exciting installment, Winslow and his Coulterish little human friend Carmen explore the brave new world of ... plagiarism:

Carmen (looking up at the night sky): Winslow, so you think there's any intelligent life out there?

Winslow: I hope so. I'd hate to think in all of this, we're the smart ones....

Sound familiar? Here is Walt Kelly's Porkypine, in a classic Pogo comic strip:

Porkypine: Tharís only two possibilities: Thar is life out there in the universe which is smarter than we are, or weíre the most intelligent life in the universe. Either way, itís a mighty sobering thought.

Posted by: TonyB at October 23, 2004 11:31 AM

The Attorney General sez (click on my name) that John F. Kerry is soft on puppies, and if you elect John F. Kerry, the puppies will eat us all.

Yeah, stupid f'ing commercial. Lookit the puppies! Lookit the cute widdle puppies! Sheesh.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Posted by: BadTux at October 24, 2004 11:25 AM

The reality-based community will perhaps recall that wolves are mostly harmless. There hasn't been one indisputable recorded fatal attack in North America since the advent of white people.


btw, "Never Cry Wolf" is one of the many lost, under-appreciated movies of the early 1980s....


Posted by: Nicholas Mycroft at October 25, 2004 09:35 AM