The 30 Minute Obama Ad . . . (If this goes on?)

As promised, Senator Barack Obama infotained Americans for thirty minutes, starting off with amber waves of grain. Hope, change, plus incredibly coincidental family spotlights in several “battleground” states – that seemed to be his basic message.

I watched twice, first to get the full flavor, then next, with the sound turned way down. I suppose we have Robert Heinlein to thank for the result. This infomercial reminded me of “If This Goes On.” In one of his scariest future history stories, Heinlein described the life of one John Lyle, a young military man serving the Prophet. The Prophet, Nehemiah Scudder, has become the nation’s ultra-conservative religious/political/military leader. Think of a genetic clone of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and several of those greedy televangelist brain-washers who wish to separate your soul from the devil, and your money from your wallet.

Anyway, Lyle falls in love, gets in trouble with the Cabal, runs and joins the underground which wishes to depose the country’s Prophet. The good guys win, and take over much of the country.

New Jerusalem, Scudder’s capital, is the last to fall. Before the invasion of the capital, the insurgents taste test a 30 minute movie that is intended to close the sale on the Revolution. If watched by the great unwashed masses, it would prove to them that the Prophet is false, the Revolution is great, and that people should join the good guys. It is hypnotic, seductive, and convincing – much like what Barack Obama showed us last night. Luckily, in Heinlein’s book, someone wakes up and stops the propaganda before they are all seduced.

That didn’t happen last night. People, some people, were seduced. From a quick taste of the conservative blogs, people were upset because they saw the ad as unfair, and convincing. On the liberal blogs, people wrote of tears, conviction, happiness, excitement, even one orgasm.

Not me.

For the past eight years, we have been the victims of the most corrupt government our country has ever had. BushCo effectively used religious symbols to get elected, truly breath-taking spin to entice the most cold hearted, and Goebbels’ suggestions of using fear and danger to energize the people, and to get them to support his war plans. Bush, desite his numerous, even constant administrative, leadership, social, economic, judicial, ethical, moral, and practical failings, was a huge success where it counted. He won two terms, and his legislative agenda was almost completely unchecked by Congress or by the people. Even after 2006, when Congress should have gotten the hint, those spineless bastards still passed FISA II, continued to feed the war machinery behind Bush, and even now, our congress, media, and the people ignore our recent invasions of two other countries, Syria and Pakistan.

While Bush was a complete, abject, and utter failure as a leader, as an image maker and spinner, his administration outdid Nazi Germany. Had he not been so successful, instead of getting ready to retire, Bush would have been hung, drawn and quartered, tarred, feathered, hung again, then boiled alive by an angry mob. But his spin worked for as long as he needed it to. Now, he simply doesn’t care anymore.

What Obama fed us last night was all spin, Goebbels-ian propaganda in the worst sense of the word. Beautifully shot, emotional, convincing, warm, tender, strong, and “Patriotic”, we witnessed the best mind-bending propaganda that the slickest psycho-soldiers from Madison Avenue could muster.

Sorry, I am not buying it.

As much as I hated Bush, and thoroughly support massive changes in direction, I hate the idea that Obama resorted to this type of brain-washing, even using a Delicate Rinse cycle, instead of a more heavy handed Permanent Press setting. I want a leader to realize what our problems are, tell us, give us alternatives from which WE CHOOSE, then do his best to effectuate the will of the people. Using the bully pulpit, the power that any president has over the media, and appealing to Americans about what we need to do in IraqNam, Afghanistan, the thoroughly corrupted, castrated Department of Justice (talk about oxymorons), the religious leadership in the DOD, the domestic surveillance of US citizens, and of course, the economic disaster that BushCo and their exec fiends on Wall have visited on America.

Obama did not do that yesterday. He spun beautifully, the message was extremely well crafted, but, after eight years of Bush, the last thing I want in power is another spinner messing with my mind.

Leave my mind alone, and let me choose a government that will be responsive to me, and quit trying to make me responsive to my government. I will not stand for four more years of spinning and brainwashing. No longer.

I suppose that the underlying issue is the difference between Patriotism and Nationalism. Oxford defines Nationalism as, “Patriotic feelings, an extreme form of which is marked by feelings of superiority over other countries.”

Patriotism is the support of one’s country. Not one’s government, but one’s country. The difference is huge.

Patriotism has never meant the unbridled support of one’s government. Rather, it is the love one has for the possibilities that our democracy once promised. Before Bush, our constitution was the best example of both our soaring dreams and our realistic view of human nature. I would go so far to say that our nation’s most famous revolutionaries were patriots, in that their goal was for the greater good.
Even as a compromise, and ignoring our despicable treatment of slavery, our Constitution represents the best that humanity can offer.

Nationalism , constitutes a misbegotten love of country for better or worse: “My country right or wrong,” is a disease that we better cure, or else we risk utter failure. Nationalism refuses to see our own faults or mistakes. Nationalism was probably best expressed by Britney Spears, “But of course I support President Bush. I mean, he’s like the president!” Nationalism is a danger to us all. What we saw last night was edging far to close to Nationalism, rather than Patriotism.

Two thumbs down, Senator Obama. I really hope that when you govern, you don’t use this kind of Nationalistic propaganda tool ever again. Good intentions eventually pave a superhighway to someplace, and I have no wish to visit that destination. It would be unsafe at any speed.

Yes, you still have my support, only because we must remove every last vestige of BushCo, neoconMan-ism, religious infiltration of our government, PNAC, and the current corrupted cabal that took over today’s GOP. In that respect, you are the only choice for change. I just hope that as president, you reconsider how you craft your message. My support is not blind, nor is it emotional. It is calculating, in that you are the only rational choice at this time in history.

You have earned a modicum of respect and support. Please don’t squander it in office. I do not suggest that you act timidly, because these dangerous times call for much more than that. But, quit the goddammed propaganda, sir, and quit messing with my mind. I’d rather keep my eyes open, thank you very much.


  1. Kibitzer


    “Leave my mind alone, and let me choose a government that will be responsive to me, and quit trying to make me responsive to my government. I will not stand for four more years of spinning and brainwashing. No longer.”

    Very well put. The art of propaganda is getting more and more honed. We have been close to a fascist takeover; we certainly don’t need a similar takeover from the left – similar, in the sense of elevating the state and its acolyte to holy status. “Our Master, who art in Washington, give us this day…”

    I’m thinking of this in particular because of coming across a report just recently – presumably true; at least in essence, if not in every detail – on a conservative blog about the stacking of the Iowa Democratic caucuses by Obama supporters bused in from out of state. This is reprehensible stuff; Rovian in spirit, no more acceptable just because it’s an example of ‘business as usual’ in political matters. And so the whole Democratic primary campaign is thrown into question, because of that beginning to the Obama surge. ‘Hey, if he can win in Iowa……’

    Not a good augury of things to come. I salute you on your gimlet-eyed take on this matter, Rob. Keep it peeled.

  2. Timr

    I think that the infomercial was aimed at the “low information voter” what I call the “sheeple”, Who can be swayed by whatever they see on TV. Its just like selling a “Sham-Wow”. There was a very good reason for the timing of the show, it got all of the networks except ABC, now lets sit back and watch what the “sheeple” do, because in the end, they will be the ones who decide who wins.-Now isn’t that a scary thought 1 day before holloween

  3. RSW

    I started to watch the Obama-mercial, but had my belief suspended almost immediately — Amber Waves Of Grain, indeed. I spent the rest of the night doing other things. I will say, though, that my almost 26 year old son was deeply moved by this. That being the case, I suppose that the baton of politics (or should I say the fasces of politics) is in the process of being passed to those younger that the current crop of the corporate corrupted to a fresh crop offering different spin. The older I get, the less I’m inclined to believe any of this simian theatre. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, the present day Hegel refuses to die!

    I ran across this pdf document about a week ago. I’m not sure about it, because it’s new ground, to some extent, for me, but I couldn’t help but wonder.


    I found the link here:

    If you are interested, you need to follow down the page a bit for the link to the pdf file. Look for the link.

    I’m not sure what to make of it, but it sure is interesting when you consider how the corporate world has supported him, and how he seems to have been “guided” from at least the time he spent at Columbia.

    In any case, it’s worth the read, if only for its potential resurrection of Edward Bernays and his influence on us in the marketing world. I wouldn’t care so much, except Corporate America has been doing this to us for years and years.


  4. gazelle1929

    You may not know what to make of it, but I do. That is pure unadulterated horse shit of the finest kind. This is oh-so-typically the stuff that the right wing pulls out of its nether parts when it is losing.

  5. ralphcat

    I thought the 30-min spot was pitch-perfect.

    Given the relentless sliming and fear-mongering that is the endgame for McCain/Palin & friends (“socialist,” “Marxist,” “anti-America,” “anti-Israel,” “palling around with terrorists,” trying to steal the election, ACORN voter fraud, ad nauseum), Obama needed to leave a final impression that accomplished several objectives:

    1. To show that he listens to, understands, and will tackle the problems of “real” Americans.
    2. To reassure doubters about his “American-ness.”
    3. To be likeable.
    4. To be seen as the more “presidential” candidate in the race. [It was interesting that he never once mentioned John McCain; yet anyone paying attention could easily contrast Obama’s dignity and gravitas with the whiny, sarcastic and angry John McCain of the past 8-12 weeks.]
    5. To once again inspire and excite his base so that they will not take this election for granted and will get out and vote next Tuesday, if not sooner.

    Nailed it.

    Oh, yeah, and the seamless shift from taped message to live feed was stunning. Gotta love a show of competence!

    Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through — Jiminy Cricket

  6. CheckerboardStrangler


    This is nothing new.
    From the Delta Technique developed as a psyop tool by Rand to verbal imagery persuasiveness techniques used by Obama to the emotional anchoring techniques used on us these last eight years, it’s all from the same toolbox.
    Utter the word 9/11, insert the words “American soil”, and you get the clenched fist and lump in the throat reaction from the right wing faithful, mention “inside job” and legions of tinfoil hat types stand at attention and proffer everything from remote controlled jets to the jewish cabal that secretly controls everything including your mind.
    Why is it so surprising to find out that a Harvard trained lawyer utilizes speech techniques designed to relax the listener and make them more receptive?
    In the end it turns out that Bernard Baruch and Madison Avenue learned long ago to manipulate the masses and convince us we weren’t man enough without the right beer, or a big truck and if we’re female, our nether regions would set off airport security without FDS spray and a dollop of Clearasil to deal with our facial insecurities.
    We’re a society of transistorized steel belted humanoids, just as Howard Beale said we’d become, and we’re programmed from birth to respond to signals.
    Barack, like most anyone running for office, is well versed in how to use them.
    Stay awake and read through them.

    Jeff H in Occupied TX

  7. griff

    I came across this last week and considered posting it here, then thought better of it. Kudos to you for having the cajones to do so.

    I stopped watching TV altogether last January and was a sporadic viewer before then. I find myself thinking more clearly and independently every day, and have not even been tempted to turn it back on.

    It is a very interesting study and something reasonable people should be able to get their minds around. No one wants to consider that they are not the owners of their thoughts and ideas, but anyone that watches TV for more than ten minutes a day can be rest assured that they are not.

    Of course, you’ll have your detractors that will call it a partisan piece. Perhaps it is, but that doesn’t mean that the scientific basis is not real.

  8. JudyB

    For 30 minutes Obama told us what his plans were if elected POTUS. He did not once bring up McCain or anything McCain said..he spoke ONLY of what he would do if he were elected. This “my dear friends” is what people say they want presidential campaigns to consist of…but from all the belly aching going on here today, I’m having a hard time believing it.

    I am not foolish enough to believe all that Obama or any other presidential candidate hopes to accomplish will actually get accomplished, but I welcome the opportunity of hearing a candidates plans, instead of merely refuting what another candidate has said he or she was going to do. Like it or not, that is what Obama used his 30 minute “infomercial” to do.

    I congratulate Obama for having brought together an excellent innovative campaign team. His team has worked tirelessly in this unbelievablly long race, successfully enabling him inspire millions of potential voters into trusting and wanting, what it is he’s offering them if elected.

  9. Carl Nemo

    I concur with your sentiments Judy B. In spite of the shallow ad hominem “attacktics” the rethuglicans employed during the campaign, Obama truly stands out as a class act!

    He’s wrapping up his campaign on a positive, energizing note and to me and no doubt many others it’s impressive!

    The McCain campaign mantra was simply… “POW, maverick, and my friends” ad nauseam ad infinitum with nothing of substance to follow.

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. woody188

    I guess Rob is finally seeing there really is no difference between Obama and McCain. Both want bigger government, more war, and more control over our lives. American Empire lives on and the Imperial Presidency will continue with either one of these clowns.

  11. DejaVuAllOver

    The problem is, Rob, Obama CAN’T tell the ugly truth. One can’t start leveling with Americans without quickly getting to a VERY inconvenient truth: The world hates us because of our rabid support for the most successful racist enterprise of all time, Israel. Israel is the main reason we were attacked on 9/11, which in turn is the reason things have spiraled out of control since then. It’s not like we’re the only ones, since it was Britain who really started the problem when it’s own fundamentalist nutjobs in Parliament effectively created Israel with the Balfour Declaration in 1917. But Britain learned quite a while ago to mind its own business, which is NOT in Palestine. WE, on the other hand, have not.

    Anyway, Obama can’t talk about foreign policy, our Middle East wars, our torture policies, our twisted Christian-based imperialist ventures, our freedoms being taken away by the neocons (formerly called zionists) or much of anything else without some fairly harsh realities being spoken of Israel and our blind support of it. And we all know what happens when anyone DARES to criticize the Jewish State. Political suicide is one of the nicer ways of putting it.

    I imagine this post will prove my point. But anyway, I think (and hope) Obama’s touchy-feeley approach helps him win, even if it’s more than a little wimpy. At least it’s a start. Otherwise, we’re toast. One more Arab-neutralizing war for the zionists and we’re gonna have much bigger problems to worry about, if we survive long enough to have problems, that is. We have a lot of untangling to do for the last 100 years of our arrogant behavior in the M.E. and elsewhere. So if Obama needs to teach woefully ignorant Americans some historical perspective, starting at the kindergarten level, it’s better late than never. It’ll be hard on the nerves of intelligent people, but this country needs some BIG changes and Obama’s right to start at the beginning, and at the bottom.

  12. Rob Kezelis

    not ALL truths are ugly. Some are simply hard, and others, painful. But you are right, we better start now, otherwise it will be too late.

  13. Ladywolf55

    Wow…I am in awe of you, Rob Kezelis, truly! You took the words right out of my brain.

    I was one of the criers last night, sobs that I could not hold back, even with my mocking immigrant husband sitting there. Here is the reason, quoted from you:

    “Patriotism has never meant the unbridled support of one’s government. Rather, it is the love one has for the possibilities that our democracy once promised. Before Bush, our constitution was the best example of both our soaring dreams and our realistic view of human nature. I would go so far to say that our nation’s most famous revolutionaries were patriots, in that their goal was for the greater good.
    Even as a compromise, and ignoring our despicable treatment of slavery, our Constitution represents the best that humanity can offer.”

    I cried because, yes, what Obama was offering was so enticing, it was like cool, sweet, refreshing water in the middle of Death Valley desert.. so enticing, and yet…….I couldn’t help but use my thinking brain, and it said “This is vapor. A mist that disappears into thin air.”

    McCain is not an option. He’s proved himself to be crooked, and desperate for power. Palin is not intelligent or educated enough to lead this country.

    I sobbed for what our country USED to be, what it used to stand for, and I was crying because, unless this man, Barack Obama, holds to his word, and is not a crook, our country is simply gone. But we must give him that chance. We have been given no other viable option by the Corporate Owners.

  14. Siannan

    I have said from the beginning we have been given no viable option. The 30 minute infomercial just made the point that much more evident.

    The fact that this man continues to woo his fellow countryfolk with slickly packaged Madison Avenue propaganda is troubling. That the accepted method of campaigning is now “messing with our minds” is frightening.

    How long before the voting process is just eliminated all together?

  15. erinys

    I didn’t watch the infomercial last night, so I don’t have feelings specifically related to it. I will say that the genie is out of the bottle, now, and won’t likely get stuffed back in. Or, shorter form, dream on! Even before last night’s propaganda wet-dream, the Obama team had previously dipped into the propaganda well. Heck, why do you think Obama’s message has centered on the vague “hope” and “change” rhetoric. Vague words/promises can be utilized in multiple ways to suit in the most recent propaganda…and then tweaked, if necessary, for the next version.

    And, well, Bush DID get away with it for most of the last eight years. If you honestly think that the democrats aren’t seriously working to get their own propaganda master in office, then you really haven’t been paying attention to the “tit-for-tat” mentally that has completely owned both parties in our messed up two-party duopoly.

  16. Malibu

    Thank you Ladywolf. I too hope that Senator Obama keeps his word. Until the American voters understand the job of the White House and the Congress, we all are vulnerable to phonies like the Bush Administration. I found 43 as shallow as 41 in that they could not explain the power they assumed was theirs.

    I have sat through many ministers’ sermons that were forgotten when I had the family back in the car and home again. We eventually stopped attending church and spent the time with the children giving them our full attention.

    I believe that Obama will have to prove his word of honor as the nation will be watching to see if their chance- taking against the known quantity of the GOP, works.

    After 4 years of 41, I decided I would never again vote for the Party and searched out the principle agenda of the candidate. It turned out I never again voted for a Republican. The agenda was tainted with future plans found in a world Empire forcing Democracy in other nations.

    I don’t put the blame on Corporate America but a political movement that gave the corporations their full power without oversight. This became a Congressional corruption found in both parties. Our Congress was bought and that is a crime.


  17. free liberal

    I watched the whole thing off TiVo, and I generally disagree with Kezelis. I certainly wasn’t moved to tears, but going in, I thought there was a good chance that Obama’s commercial would be over the top. I thought it was just the right touch. This was a man who started out with a politically-difficult name, is african-american, and has been repeatedly labeled as terrorist, socialist, and worse. All carefully designed and continually repeated to label him as one of “them”… certainly not one of “us”.

    We love to blast negative campaigning. In the typical campaign, these sorts of unfair labelings are attacked by trying to attach worse labels to the opponent. We generally bemoan the negative campaigning. Here Obama attacked this “us” VS “them” theme with a positive message. I guess some people must just dislike positive campaigning as much as negative…

  18. neondesert

    Obamas 30-minute infomercial was simply a last-minute marketing Surge™ to help get himself elected. No more, no less. To lose the perspective of being in campaign season, and to attempt to predict (being either optimistic or pessimistic) the future from a politicians marketing techniques during that campaign season is just an exercise in frustration.

  19. Ladywolf55

    Thank you, Malcolm. Your words at least give me a bit of hope that all is not yet lost, though it soon might be.

    As my husband put it, he doesn’t feel most citizens of this country have the intestinal fortitude to put a fight toward their corrupt government. I hope he’s wrong, because this country desperately needs citizens of courage who are not afraid to stand up and say “No MORE!”

    No more taxation without representation! No more lies! No more soaking the poor to give to the rich! No more corruption and treason by our political leaders!

    Oh… there’s a knock on the door…. if I disappear..look in Gitmo.

  20. pollchecker

    So, Rob, it’s propaganda to show real Americans, not politicians, and the predicament they find themselves in after 8 years of Republican policies? It’s propaganda to say to the American people, this is what I’ve learned criss crossing America? It’s propaganda to say to America, I HEARD YOU, I AM LISTENING? It’s propaganda to say the truth about what you stand for in the face of deliberate falsehoods about your character by political bullies?

    Hmmm, I’m beginning to understand why America is in the place that it is. I’m beginning to understand why Bush and his Bushie friends have gotten away with their slaying of America and all it stands for. I’m beginning to understand why they blatantly disregard the will of the American people again and again.

    Quite frankly, in the face of the deliberate lies and misinformation that the Genuises of Propaganda have thrown at the Obama campaign, I think it was appropriate to let the American people hear what he had to say without the Main Stream Media or GOP spin for a change.

    I must admit when I first heard about it, I wasn’t impressed. I guess I still remember Perot’s attempt at the same thing. When it was over, I was impressed.

    We only have two tangible things to judge a candidate by as to how they would run America…..who they pick for VP and how they run their campaign. McCain’s pick of Palin was narcissistic and totally political. Even Karl Rove admitted that publicly. And McCain’s choice of how he has run his campaign is quite telling about how he would run his administration with more lies and deceptions just like Bush.

    Despite attempts to make them look the same, nothing could be clearer that they are not the same. And Obama’s informercial was an effective campaign way of reaching out to America versus McCain’s way — that is to lie, cheat, steal and try to make Americans AFRAID — VERY, VERY AFRAID.

    So I think it was effective. We can vote for someone who talks at us and wants us to be afraid or we can vote for someone who listens to us and wants us to be hopeful. I HOPE the country chooses the right man for the job.

  21. CheckerboardStrangler

    I haven’t watched it yet. It’s still loaded in my TiVo.
    Rob…Pastor Ag…I will keep your very well thought out review in mind while watching.
    I don’t know whether or not to thank you yet, but I’m the first one to accuse Oliver Stone of going over the top when he releases his beautifully crafted “not very biographical” biographies, or his artistically triumphant “not very historical” historical documents.

    But I too, am ever aware that this piece has a limited shelf life, as a tool to be used in the last days of a hotly contested and world changing election. After that it becomes frozen in time, and it may serve as “evidence” to be used against Senator Obama should his leadership skills or campaign promises come up alarmingly short. If he performs as advertised, it will be held up as a benchmark for all future
    candidates and it will be a tough act to follow.
    Either way, we will most likely see snippets of it at the next election, and it will remain a historical document in its own right.

    I certainly hope that it doesn’t go down as Barack Obama’s
    Leni Riefenstahl piece.

    Jeff H in Occupied TX

  22. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Rob Kezelis for your thoughts on the Obama production.

    What would we expect Obama to do facing off against the “rethuglican” juggernaut that’s prone to use dirty tactics including voting machine fraud via the “Diebold Override” including the use of the puppets in SCOTUS to ensure that their main main gets placed in office?

    Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures…no?!

    Barak Obama has been facing an incredible uphill battle in this race. For one he’s black and secondly he’s a highly intelligent, gifted black man. Scary for “whitey” huh…!

    I’m so fed up with what the evil “white” sob’s that have been in the Whitehouse for eight years and what they’ve done to this country, that I think we need “change” of any kind…period!

    We’re stuck with two a two-party system that’s long since become a duopoly; ie., the “republicrat” party.

    Main Entry: du·op·o·ly
    Pronunciation: \du̇-ˈä-pə-lē also dyu̇-\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural du·op·o·lies
    Etymology: duo- + -poly (as in monopoly)
    Date: 1920
    1 : an oligopoly limited to two sellers
    2 : preponderant influence or control by two political powers
    — du·op·o·lis·tic \-ˌä-pə-ˈlis-tik\ adjective

    George Bush and Dick Cheney are joined at the hips with the MIC and the “oil patch”. They’ve pulled off the greatest heist in the history of the world by stripping this nations wealth, pushing their ill-gotten lucre towards these aforementioned corporate entities minus their cut.

    John McCain will be no more than Chapter 3 of Bushco’s terms in office. Expect much more of the same rather than any improvement whatsoever.

    So unless an amicable, similarly bright person as Obama, also a deep pockets entity comes forth to represent the Independent party or any new party other than the one’s we have; then we have to be pragmatists and function within our paradigm in order to survive as a nation.

    Ross Perot’ gave it a try and failed. The American people are so “stockholmized” from our continuing two, now single party system that they can’t seem to think out of the box and break through the glass ceiling, to a multi-party system that would possibly give them populist level representation in DC.

    Shy of a bloody revolution we are stuck in our “Matrix” with no “Neo” to save us! Maybe Obama is our “Neo” and we might be surprised after four years of his profferred “change”. Rest assured he can’t do everything he might want for us because he’s fighting an entrenched, corrupt Congress that’s developed many bad, criminal habits over the past 90 years since WWI.

    Obama can’t do it alone and will need the same fervor of support in the next four years if we wish to effect the changes that are necessary.

    Regardless of which candidate you are enamoured with this election 2008, just “VOTE” and also read your voter’s pamphlet. I consider voting to be one of our sacred “civic duties” that we have as citizens and is not simply a right. Arlington cemetery and dozens of others around world have the remains of our finest who selflessly went into battle to defend our way of life. Yes, a number of these conflicts have been engineered, but regardless, our young men and women have met the call to duty with some paying the maximum price for our freedom and our “livin’ large” lifestyle…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==