November 20, 2007 The Pump Handle 2Comment

The Center for American Progress has been running some new TV ads in Midwestern media markets as part of “a pilot experiment to begin defining progressivism in the public’s mind” (hat tip to Common Sense). Here are two that are styled after the Mac/PC ads – but in these, the two guys wear stickers identifying them as “Pro” and “Con”:


Ad 1:
Pro: Hi, I’m a progressive.
Con: And I’m a conservative.
Pro: I’ve done things like create Social Security, establish the eight-hour work day and pass civil rights laws.
Con: I was against every single one of those things.
Pro: So, I guess you’re against every American having health insurance, and making sure our food and water are safe.
Con: Bingo.
Pro: Are you for anything?
Con: I do like tax breaks for the rich.
Pro: Interesting.


Ad 2:
Pro: Hi, I’m a progressive.
Con: And I’m a conservative.
Pro: I think it’s government’s job to protect us from corporate abuse.
Con: And I think it’s every man for himself.
Pro: I want government to make sure our medicines are safe and that there’s no lead paint in our kids’ toys.
Con: It’s all about the bottom line.
Pro: I think we need to make polluters pay [Con coughs, Pro hands him a glass of water]… otherwise, who knows what will end up in our drinking water? [Con stops drinking]

I don’t know enough about TV ads or the target audience to say whether these (or the other ads, which emphasize women’s suffrage, civil rights, and national parks as progressive achievements) will achieve their goal of defining progressivism in the public’s mind. I am glad, though, to see an organization reminding the public that things many of us take for granted – eight-hour workdays, clean water, safe medicines – only exist because of our regulatory system.

The second ad, with the conservative drinking a glass of water, also shows that rich people need government services, too. Theoretically, rich people could always set up their own water-treatment plants … and have their own staff of scientists testing all the drugs they might want to use … and get their own bunch of engineers to design safe vehicles for them. But most people, rich or poor, are probably glad to let the government take care of these things. They just need to be reminded that it’s going on, thanks to the efforts of dedicated advocates.

2 thoughts on “New Ads Tout Safe Water and Eight-Hour Workdays

  1. Wow, thanks for posting this. Like you, I can’t evaluate the effect these adds might have, but I sure do like to see a progressive group trying to get the word out. Ever since Dukakis ran away from the word “liberal” every subsequent high profile politician on the left (or center) has done the same. If we can make “progressive” a term people will be proud to wear, I’ll be thrilled.

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