Local campaign ads politics as usual

Wham! Bam! Take that, ma’am … and sir.

Political ads as usual: Negative, positive and flat-out assaultive until Election Day. But are they stellar TV?

Cozy and Rosy: Steve Sisolak for county commissioner. Backlit by streaming sunlight in an outdoor pose, a relaxed Sisolak stars in an ad blending zippy graphics with homey, candidate-chats-up-constituent scenes set against soothing backdrops, such as swaying greenery behind a Sisolak-voter handshake. Rousing orchestral music evokes Aaron Copland-esque Americana. Marred only by the year’s most wrung-out slogan: "Maverick!"

Blurb Reverb: Dina Titus for Congress. She’s a "respected educator," "effective state senator" and "tough on sexual predators" in an ad more video resume than persuasive narrative. Alternating male and female narrators suggest, too obviously, that she’s equally appealing to both genders. Pleasant, but not particularly compelling.

Code Red: Jon Porter for Congress. More accurately, Dina Titus for Congress … NOT. This well-aimed tantrum toward Titus banners her alleged sins — tax hikes, "quadrupling" her own pension — in bold red lettering that feels like stark bloodletting. Utilizing color as ominously as Sisolak’s does cheerfully, it’s a rough-and-ready visual pile driver.

Code Redder: Same-style ad, different alleged sins, red-lettering Titus’ economic offenses with words such as "jeopardized," "double-dipping" and "shady schemes." Jagged graph lines plunge through a financial chart against a pale, dollar-green backdrop, nailing the negativity with primary colors and inflammatory words. Masterful TV malevolence.

Oh, Yeah? Titus returns fire with an entertaining hand grenade targeting Porter’s alleged chumminess with political fat cats. Claiming callousness toward Medicare, it balances his face against clinking champagne glasses, a palatial mansion and a ritzy eatery, piano-bar jazz tinkling haughtily in the background. Nimble split-screen imagery more artful than Porter’s bare-knuckled brawling.

Oh Yeah? (Part II): A guilt-by-Bush-association salvo cleverly employing an image of Dubya pointing toward Porter as the narrator derides "high gas prices." But it’s visually dull and undercut by hypocrisy, claiming "every election Jon Porter smears his opponents," and ending with Titus approving her Porter smear.

Oh, No: Chief Justice Mark Gibbons for re-election to the Nevada Supreme Court. He stiffly signs documents, rummages through law books, takes the bench and squints into the sun to the strains of tepid studio music. As stimulating as clearing one’s throat.

Kid-ding Around: Sen. Harry Reid as health care advocate. Sweetly savvy gem as a noisy kiddie congress comes to order to a narrator noting: "If kids could vote on children’s health care coverage, they’d get it right. Sen. Harry Reid got it right, too!" With little legislators scurrying around, it’s either a new ad or home movies of Harry’s childhood.

Contact Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

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