I have posted dozens of ads on Swampland over the last several months, but I can’t think of any that do as many things so effectively as this spot from California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. First, some background: Meg Whitman is running as the non-politician CEO against Brown, who she has tried to paint as the uber-career politician. So we get her effective line, paraphrasing the oft-used and oft-misattributed quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.”
Meanwhile, Brown has tried to paint Whitman as a rich lady unprepared for office who is simply trying to buy the election, by way of tons of television spots and several high-priced consultants, including aides like former Swamplander Mike Murphy, who also worked for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her main weakness as a candidate is her disciplined unwillingness to move beyond these consultant-driven talking points. (One of Brown’s weaknesses, by contrast, is a lack of discipline when it comes to message.)
So here comes Brown, turning the whole coding of the Whitman campaign on its head. Suddenly Whitman’s signature line about the definition of insanity is a comment on consultant-driven candidates who read lines written for other consultant-driven candidates. And Whitman is portrayed as a puppet, not a CEO.
Whitman responded with a statement saying Brown was actually more like Schwarzenegger, and an ad painting Brown as a puppet, after the jump.