No Labels likes to tout itself as the home for bipartisan centrism in a country torn apart by electoral rancor and gridlock. It is in that noble spirit that the 501(c)4 political nonprofit is funded in no small part by billionaire Republican donors and named Joe fucking Lieberman its honorary national co-chair (admittedly, this is fitting in so much as Lieberman has transcended partisan politics to assume his final form as a huge asshole).
My point is that No Labels is the sort of group that seems eager to overlook the fact that one of America’s two major political parties has wholeheartedly embraced naked ur-fascism as its tentpole issue, while the old guard of the other party is hell-bent on suppressing anything with even the faintest whiff of dissent within its ranks. Which is, I suppose, how we get something like this video which dropped on Monday afternoon — a true monstrosity of political advertising that targets voters who have excised their frontal lobes using the sharpened edge of a West Wing Season 3 DVD.
What the fuck? I mean, truly, what the fuck?
To be clear, this is an ad touting the nine “unbreakable” House Democrats currently threatening to absolutely fuck over their own party’s effort to pass some genuinely significant legislation. (The “rebels”—who, in an effort to appease their rich cronies, are attempting to destroy a delicate compromise that would allow the passage of both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a Democrat-only mega-budget spearheaded by Bernie Sanders—are currently deep in the midst of striking an arcane deal with Nancy Pelosi.) The group has, perhaps unsurprisingly, lent their ears to the expert guidance of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema —themselves no strangers to the fine art of principled bed shitting.
But let’s overlook the point of the ad for a second, and focus on the actual content — which is insane!!! How much money do you think No Labels spent to make a C+ YouTube supercut of very boring politicians saying very boring things, sprinkled with a liberal (heh) helping of slightly less-boring lines from movies and TV shows, including — I’m pretty sure — a shot from the actual West Wing, with Christopher Lloyd playing a fictionalized version of Lawrence Lessig (?????) Also, there’s a clip of Warren Beatty from Bulworth, which is a truly inspired choice considering the whole point of that movie is to show how the very political establishment No Labels has chosen to valorize is actually bullshit!
Admittedly, I’m not a politics super-genius like No Labels’ executive board of lawyers, corporate CEOs, and PR flacks, and maybe there are people out there who actually like this sort of smarmy pablum. There’s certainly a decent segment of the population who have irrevocably conflated “politics” with “entertainment,” for whom watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (which, yes, shows up in the ad) is just as meaningful as watching John McCain push for a war with Iran. But all that does is prime people to complacently expect to have the pleasure center of their brains diddled each and every time they’re exposed to the most anodyne platitudes Aaron Sorkin’s speed-addled brain can spit out. And who does that actually help? No one, except the people who get paid to keep cranking out garbage ads like this.
Anyway, it’s a bad ad, pushing for a bad thing. Feh.