Jim Oberweis is courting women voters in a new radio ad featuring a testimonial by a former employee.
"I'm sure you've heard of Jim Oberweis and his deliciously successful ice cream business. But there's a personal side to Jim Oberweis you've never heard of," declares a grandfatherly voice in the minute-long spot issued by the Illinois dairy magnate's campaign. LISTEN TO THE AD HERE.
Cue this glowing recommendation from "Gloria": "In 1980, I was a financial adviser hoping to advance my career and move into management. The financial brokerage world was dominated by men and no one would listen. But one guy did and took a chance. That was Jim Oberweis. Jim believed in me and changed my life forever. I spent 30 wonderful years in a field I absolutely love and I'll always be thankful for Jim's trust and guidance."
The West suburban businessman has long aspired to public office and became a state senator last year following failed bids for Illinois governor and U.S. Representative on the GOP ticket. He's now running for U.S. Senate in an attempt to unseat longtime Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin.
"Jim Oberweis isn't a career politician," says the ad's narrator, oozing the butterscotch-voiced, aw-shucks style of a Werther's Original commercial. "He spent his career believing in people like Gloria and created jobs and opportunity in the private economy for people who just need a chance. As your next U.S. senator from Illinois, Jim will bring his business sense and compassion to DC, where it's sorely needed."
On one hand, the indirect attack on Durbin as a "career politician" is effective as a smear tactic in grouping the senator among the many Washington fixtures who rarely make it back to their home states. (No matter that Durbin spends a lot of time here, especially during election season.)
But on the other, the ad fails in its futile attempt to woo Democratic-leaning female voters to Oberweis' side. The avuncular narration has a patronizing tone and reeks of mansplaining. It would send a stronger message if Gloria herself had recorded the whole thing -- a woman speaking directly to other women without interference from some dude impersonating Burl Ives.
Binders full of women, anyone?