Ok, truth time. I think anyone who claims to have made their minds up about the 2008 U.S. presidential election is doing themselves a disservice. As much as the candidates are trying to drag the voters into the process today, for me it is too soon to tell who I will vote for in either the primary or general elections. Too much could happen between now and then, and to make such a decision now seems foolish.  That being said, the first great campaign ad of the 2008 cycle made its appearance not in the local television markets of early voting states, or even on cable or satellite. No, the ad showed up on YouTube and has captured the imaginations of many net surfers and political pundits alike.

In structure it is nothing more than a parody of the famous Apple “1984” ad which originally aired nationally in the U.S. just once on television during the second half of Super Bowl XVIII. Here is a link to the original “1984” ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R706isyDrqI That ad was made to promote the launch of the Apple Macintosh PC in the United States in January 1984. The ad was a great success and it is regularly cited as one of the greatest ads ever. ( TV Guide picked this as the best ever in their ranking of the 50 Greatest Commercials of All Time). In 2004, Apple played an updated version of the ad at the MacWorld Expo, which featured an Ipod digitally added to the heroine. Here is a link to the updated ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zew1bb5Sxk4

The anti-Clinton ad on YouTube is titled “Vote Different.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo  It features Hillary Clinton in the role of Big Brother. The heroine in the ad still has her iPod, but now she is sporting an Obama ’08 shirt. Really, I don’t really care if Philip de Vellis, the person who created the ad, is affiliated with Obama, or he did this on his own time. It is a damn good ad. The ad plays on the not so subtle idea that Hillary Clinton is “the establishment,” and that the Clintons, as some rank and file Democrats have complained to me, give the impression that they believe that they are not only entitled to rule the Democratic Party, but also that they should not be questioned.

I am still trying to maintain an open mind about 2008, but when I ask Clinton supporters why they support her, they often answer with some combination of, “She is a woman and she is a Clinton.” Using this logic, voters should support Obama because of his race. They should support John McCain because he is old. Rudy should be supported because of 9/11, and Romney because of his religion. I am sorry but these are characteristics, or events, not political positions. I want to know where a candidate stands on the issues that matter to me. That is why the “Vote Different” ad is so good, because it challenges the slick PR prepackaged images that the big spender candidates in each party buy and promote. An ad like “Vote Different” is a pebble in the sea, but it says a great deal about the power of the Internet that this small pebble can cause such a big ripple.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse blog radio

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