Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1

By Kerwin C. Swint | Go to book overview

22
ELECTRONIC MUDSLINGING

Lyndon Johnson V. Barry Goldwater, President, 1964

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

—Barry Goldwater

One of the most significant things about the 1964 presidential race between Johnson and Goldwater is that it marks the moment when the negative TV ad was born. In fact, you could say that Johnson's campaign invented the negative TV spot—or at least perfected it and brought it into the big time.

Barry Goldwater had an image problem. He had a talent for saying things that sounded, well, looney. The Johnson campaign took Goldwater's public comments and used them against him, reinforcing and encouraging the doubts that many Americans had about his candidacy.

Johnson's TV spots were created by political advertising guru Tony Schwartz of the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising agency. They are considered classics. The best known, and perhaps the most famous political TV ad of all time, is the "Daisy Girl" spot. As I have said before, this ad is "the Mother of all televised attack ads."

Tony Schwartz was a pioneer in the use of images and sound in the early days of television. In his book The Responsive Chord, he explains that political ads do not have to change fixed beliefs or political philosophies to be effective, but merely "touch" certain feelings or emotions in the voter that will affect his or her voting behavior.1

According to Schwartz, the real question in political advertising is how to surround the voter with the proper images and sounds to evoke the reaction

-31-

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Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • 25- From Vietnam to Iraq 1
  • 24- It''s a Jungle out There 11
  • 23- Senator Pothole versus "Putzhead" 23
  • 22- Electronic Mudslinging 31
  • 21- The Art of War 39
  • 20- Homo Sapiens, Thespians, and Extroverts 47
  • 19- Vote for the Crook—it''s Important 55
  • 18- Who''s the Boss? Richard Daley and the Chicago Political Machine 63
  • 17- Polluting the Garden State 71
  • 16- God Save the Republic, Please 79
  • 15- Rudy and the Jets 87
  • 14- A Jersey Street Fight 95
  • 13- In This Corner, Little Lord Fauntleroy 103
  • 12- Sex, Lies, and Videotape 113
  • 11- Claytie versus the Lady 123
  • 10- Richard Nixon versus the United States of America 133
  • 9- "Bye-Bye Blackbird" 143
  • 8- America, Meet Willie Horton 153
  • 7- Tricky Dick versus the Pink Lady 163
  • 6- Grantism and Mr. Greeley 173
  • 5- The First Campaign 183
  • 4- A House Divided 193
  • 3- Mud, Mugwumps, and Motherhood 203
  • 2- The Dirtiest Campaign in American History? 213
  • 1- George Wallace and the "Negro Bloc Vote" 223
  • Epilogue 233
  • Notes 237
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 251
  • About the Author 255
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