In the most terrifying ad of this or any other campaign season, the Illinois Education Association has inserted moving lips into footage of director D.W. Griffith's Abraham Lincoln biopic, putting these words into the mouth of actor Walter Huston:
“Bill Brady wants to cut school funding. He voted against making insurance companies cover mammograms, and he supports policies that would weaken unions throughout Illinois, and reduce wages and benefits for working people. Let’s face it. Bill Brady is a real scalawag.”
“If President Lincoln says it, it must be true. But don’t take our word for it. Get the facts for yourself, at supportschoolsillinois.org.”
“Now, get on your Internet machine and find out more,” Lincoln tells Willie or Tad or Bob, who’s sitting on his lap.
The ad is web-only, but it should be run on Svengoolie, just for the horror value of the animated lips on Lincoln’s liverish visage. Obviously, they’re trying to wring humor out of a 19th Century politician commenting on a 21st Century campaign, (Lincoln said “mammogram”!) and a Central Illinois Republican bashing another Central Illinois Republican. But even the attempts to make Lincoln sound like a man of his own time are laughable. “Scalawag” was a term from the 1860s, but it referred to a pro-Union Southerner. It would not have been applied to a guy from Bloomington.
Using bad special-effects to solicit endorsements from dead guys is revolutionary. We’re looking forward to seeing it in the mayor’s race, when a candidate inserts moving lips in the face of Mayor Richard J. Daley. (Actually, if he’s running an ad against Rahm Emanuel, he won’t have to.)