Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 31, 2010

TAKING A CUE FROM ABE SIMPSON.... Way back in the sixth season of "The Simpsons," Springfield Mayor Joe Quimby was telling a group of seniors about a new highway, explaining that it would "bring increased commerce to our local merchants." Grandpa Simpson was unimpressed, asking, "What's in it for us?" Jasper added, "Yeah, give us something we like or we'll ride you out of town on a rail!"

The mayor, flustered, replied, "Well, uh, what do you people like?" Grandpa Simpson eventually says, "Maaatloock!" Quimby acts quickly, and declares, "Well, I suppose I could name it ... the Matlock Expressway." And with that, the seniors are happy.

This occurred to me when I saw the latest ad from the Obama administration related to health care policy. There's ample polling that suggests there are generational differences in how Americans perceive the Affordable Care Act -- and seniors' attitudes are easily the most negative. Given that the right went to great lengths to try to terrify the elderly with ridiculous lies, the polls aren't especially surprising.

So, the administration created a new spot starring ... Andy Griffith. The actor who played Matlock talks up the new law, telling a targeted audience, "With the new health care law, more good things are coming -- free checkups, lower prescription costs and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud.... I think you're going to like it."

The 30-second ad went live yesterday, and will air on four national cable networks: CNN, Weather Channel, Lifetime, and Hallmark.

If this doesn't help address seniors' concerns, I might recommend labeling the new law Matlock's Affordable Care Act.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Easily the best blog post ever. Easily.

Posted by: Geoffrey on July 31, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

If this doesn't work, they should just hire Dan Castelanetta and the Simpsons crew and have Abe Simpsons himself do an ad.

Posted by: rob on July 31, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

This is the kind of bias I am used to , sigh . Futurama's professor could sell anything , and , he was a genius .

Posted by: FRP on July 31, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Judging from the longevity of Robert Wagner's 'reverse mortgage' commercials and Wifred Brimley's ads for diabetic supplies, the Geezer Brigade knows who to trust. What next- digitally resurrecting the host of "Death Valley Days"?

Posted by: DAY on July 31, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

There's a joke in there about the late Don Knotts, I just know it.

Posted by: Steve on July 31, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

When Steve Benen is funny, he is very, very funny.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

My mind drifted backwards through Matlock, Mayberry, and others all the way back to one of Andy Griffith's first films, "A Face In The Crowd". He plays an entertainer who has nothing but contempt for his audience. When it becomes public, his career ends. Let's hope I'm the only one who knows about it. Great film, though.

Posted by: jpeckjr on July 31, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

jpeckjr, that movie you're referring to is why Olbermann keeps calling Glenn Beck "Lonesome Rhodes".

That's the name of the cynical character that Andy Griffith plays in the movie "A Face In The Crowd" and it's very appropriate label for Beck.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on July 31, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I hope Andy accurately describes how compassionate the death panels will be, as they gently push the seniors in their wheelchairs into the gas chambers.

Posted by: qwerty on July 31, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Now there's a face from "the good ole' days" that people can trust. Good move Dems, good move. Don't ya'll notice that Dems ads have been pretty good?

Posted by: Alli on July 31, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I always assumed he was a Republican becasue that's most of who watched him. Good for Andy!

Posted by: cr on July 31, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Obama should wear an onion on his belt...

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 31, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

The Weather Channel ad buy is a stroke of genius, my dad, 82 God bless him, has it on for hours at a go....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 31, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

...showing it on fox DURING THE SIMPSONS would provide a certain symmetry...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on July 31, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Davis, LOL my almost 80 yo M-I-L watches The Weather Channel all the time, too. A lot of seniors don't have computers/internet for checking the weather, or don't know how or want to on the internet even if they do, so TWC is it. Good call by the Dems. Also, my Repub dad loves Matlock and Andy G, too. Heck, doesn't everyone love Andy?

Posted by: Hannah on July 31, 2010 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Granted (a) its a small, non-scientific sample and (b) its in very blue MA, but my 93-year-old mom and all her friends and acquaintances in her former senior living place and her new assisted living place *HATE* the GOBP, couldn't stand Shrub, supported Obama very heavily and would just as soon flush McCain, Palin et al right down the drain.

Posted by: efgoldman on July 31, 2010 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Re: having the Weather Channel on.
Considering what's on the other channels, this is a surprise?

Posted by: Doug on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Re: having the Weather Channel on.
Considering what's on the other channels, this is a surprise?
Posted by: Doug on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Love your take on it :) The Weather Channel may be as speculative as the rest of them but, at least, *indisputable* facts are likely to emerge within 24 hrs or so...

Posted by: exlibra on July 31, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

God Bless Andy Griffith!

He's a good faith-based liberal, as I understand he's Moravian, which is one of the early strikes of the Reformation. Jan Hus was burned at the stake in the early 15th century, 100 years before Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door.

Moravians, like Lutherans and Catholics, are untouched by Calvinism, which is important to keep in mind.

Posted by: hamletta on July 31, 2010 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Man, but he's old. You forget, seeing the old shows over and over, young forever.

Posted by: steverino on August 2, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK



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