Christmas Messages: Huckabee vs. Clinton

Here are two Holiday messages from political candidates that have raised some eyebrows.

Mike Huckabee’s ad is above. It is brilliant on a few levels. First of all, it is plainly, though not obnoxiously Christian, which is what you should expect from a former Baptist pastor. There is no politically correct “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” here. Secondly, there is some bait for the anti-Christian crowd, who could be expected to complain about his mention of the birth of Christ and the “subliminal” cross-shaped bookshelf. Naturally these uptight people, who are absolutely no fun at all, stepped up and took the bait. When people like that get loud, it just reminds Huckabee’s supporters why they want to vote for him.

The real subliminal message, which most of the media has missed, is something like this: “It’s Christmas. If you go negative on me before the holidays are over, you are a Scrooge.” Gov. Huckabee doesn’t have enough money to respond to a barrage of negative ads, so this is a brilliant way of neutralizing his opponents’ money advantages. Like him or not, Gov. Huckabee is running about the best campaign that he can, given his gifts, previous accomplishments and positions, and resources.

Senator Clinton’s ad can be viewed below. I think this one fails on a number of levels.

In the first place, it is all about her. She is presenting herself as the great gift-giver (either Santa Claus or just the doting Martha-Stewart resembling grandmother), and the boxes in the picture are labeled with some of her campaign promises. An ad like this could only appeal to someone who thinks that campaign promises don’t cost anything. (On second thought, this might work in the Democratic primary.)

The second problem is that the scene has a glaring and revealing error. Gifts are supposed to be labeled with the name of the recipient on the tag. What is inside the box is supposed to be hidden. That is why people spend millions of dollars each year on wrapping paper!!! Her gifts are labeled with the names of the campaign promises.

If you follow the logic of gift-giving, it is like she is giving presents to “Universal Health Care”, “Universal Pre-K”, etc. If these are the recipients of the presents, then what exactly is hidden in the boxes and covered with wrapping paper?

The hidden costs of her campaign promises, of course.


15 thoughts on “Christmas Messages: Huckabee vs. Clinton

  1. Ads of this type are too carefully scripted and choreographed for that bookcase to not be seen as a cross. Apparently, Baptists ministers aren’t aware the cross should go with Easter.

    Pretty smart marketing move though. Because of the cross the ad has been shown repeatedly on the tv news and the internet. He has gotten more free air play from it than if the cross weren’t there.

    The worst ad by far is Giuliani’s. Is he a nut or what? This recent hospital stay is the first step to him pulling out of the campaign. It’s part of a ploy so he can save face for not winning in Iowa. He ran from Hillary once already.

    I’m liking Ron Paul myself.

  2. Sean, the cross is a constant now as a Christian symbol. See Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where in Chapter 1 he speaks of the gospel as “the message of the cross” and “Christ crucified.”

    I think he wanted people to see a cross in the background. For the evangelicals in the audience, it didn’t mean that much. (I didnt’ even notice it the first few times.) But for the politically correct, they saw, not merely a cross, but all their greatest fears about the religious right. This is a reaction that can’t be helped with some people, and he used it for free publicity.

    I just looked up Giuliani’s Christmas ad (“Same Gift”), and I thought it was OK. And Giuliani is my least favority of all the Republicans.

  3. That Clinton gal is bad news. I wouldn’t take her on a possum hunt with me cuz she is ugly inside. She has a cavity in her chest where the heart is supposed to be.

  4. Hi Lenny,

    Welcome to my blog. After reading your blog [note to my readers: content is PG-13 to R-rated], I get the idea that you might be a figment of someone’s imagination, but as long as you remember that this blog is family friendly, you are welcome here.

    Who are you supporting for president this year? I know Clinton is not liberal enough for all Democrats.

  5. “I think he wanted people to see a cross in the background. For the evangelicals in the audience, it didn’t mean that much.”

    It seems you are saying the cross doesn’t mean much to Evangelicals.

    While the cross is a Christian symbol, there are other more appropriate Christian symbols for use in a Christmas message. For instance he could have been setting up a manger scene and at the end of the commercial he could have placed baby Jesus in the crib. Very Christian, very seasonal and makes a statement about his position in the “war on Christmas”.

    “I think he wanted people to see a cross in the background.”

    We seem to agree the cross imagery was intentional. Huckabee claims it is purely coincidental and he had no intention for a cross to be there. I wonder if the cock crowed after his third denial.

  6. Sean, the whole point of the Incarnation was so that the Son of God could die on the Cross. Without Christ’s death and resurrection, the mere fact of his birth would have been meaningless.

    When Ray said “it didn’t meant that much,” I assumed he meant that most Evangelicals (like me) wouldn’t have seen any contradiction with a cross appearing in a Christmas message.

    Ray, I really appreciate your analysis of the Clinton commercial. I thought it was pretty weird that the tags said what the “gift” was supposed to be. Of course, I put it down to stupidity*, but I like your interpretation just as well.


    * And I know this is wrong of me but I can’t get over thinking of stupidity in people who ought to know better as one of the ultimate sins. Pretty stupid of me.

  7. Sean,

    I think the cross image in the video isn’t as important to the evangelical voter because we pretty much know who Gov. Huckabee is. He didn’t need to send a subliminal message, because his message was explicitly Christian enough.

    That’s why, if it was intentional, I think it was bait to lure the anti-Christian crowd out, rather than aimed at the Christian audience.

  8. Why would he have to use bait to lure the anti Christian crowd out? According to many Christians the anti Christian crowd is waging a full scale war against Christianity. They are already out.

  9. Wow!! Huckabee’s latest attempt to save money and manipulate the media into getting his message out seems to have only pissed off the media.

    He tapes an anti-Romney attack ad. Buys air time on local media. Calls a press conference to showcase his commercial. Decides at the last minute to not go negative but then shows the ad to the media.

    If it was a last minute decision, how did he have the time to get the “Enough is Enough” signs behind him? It seems he thought he could pretend to take the high road and get the media to do the dirty work of spreading the anti-Romney message. It reminds me of Pilate washing his hands of the dirty business of crucifying Christ. The end result was still the same.

    Huckabee would be better off claiming he had a vision of an illuminated, floating cross which caused him to change his mind.

  10. Sean,

    I don’t think that Huckabee’s action with the negative ad will play too badly. Most people can sympathize with someone who is about to do something in anger, and then stops.

    He does have to face some formidable organizational challenges though. In a sense, he has been running for president on his own, with only a very limited number of advisors adn not much of a campaign behind him, due to budget constraints. This sort of weakness may show up in the Iowa caucuses, where his supporters may not get out to the caucus sites, or may not know what to do when they get there. (It is a lot more complicated than a regular vote, as I understand.)

  11. Sean, I doubt that Donald Trump’s opinion mattered much to any potential Huckabee supporter, or for that matter any Republican primary voter.

    It looks like in Iowa, the shoestring organization of home-schoolers, gun clubs, and small group Bible studies was highly effective. I doubt that will work as well in New Hampshire, although even a third place finish there would be good for Gov. Huckabee.

  12. I have to point out Hillary’s third place finish had way more voters than Huckabee’s first place finish. I think Ron paul will do well in New Hampshire.

  13. I expected that maybe Ron Paul would get some delegates in Wyoming, but it looks like he got skunked there. Surprisingly, Duncan Hunter got one, and Fred Thompson got two.

    I wonder why the Dems had higher turnout in their cause than the Republicans, even though registration is closely matched in Iowa.

  14. I’m a little disappointed Ron Paul didn’t do better in New Hampshire. I thought with the large group of independents he would have drawn more votes.

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