Raising Cain, Rappers Delight: Campaigning with Smoke and Mirrors


“We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen,” says Herman Cain’s Chief of Staff Mark Block in the above campaign video. It’s certainly a campaign ad that nobody’s ever seen, unless taking a drag of a cigarette after a few inspirational words is the norm for campaign advertising. That’s right. He’s puffing on a cigarette.

In times where the healthcare crisis is top of the political agenda, as people grow more conscious of obesity and setting a good example for kids (witness Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign), not to mention the FDA’s initiative to help people STOP smoking, why in God’s name would you include a shot of someone smoking, let alone your Chief of Staff, in your promotional video if you are running for the highest position possible in the United States of America?

“The message behind the ad was to our supporters that we’re on a roll,” Block told Fox News. “We’re excited about what’s happening.” He added that “a lot of the people on the staff said, ‘Just let Block be Block.’ That’s what it was all about.”

It’s all about keeping the common touch, he added. “I’m not the only one that smokes in America for God’s sake,” he told Fox. “It was a choice I made and it was at the end of the ad. The real message that we’re trying to get through was the Cain train is on a roll.” So if the political hack develops a hacking cough, now you know why.[more]

The video is unlisted, hidden in the depths of Herman Cain’s YouTube channel. Now maybe America is being hard on the guy, but the fact is that this is someone who people are supposed to look up to, and blowing smoke in our faces is no way to show it.

If that’s not wacky enough politically, how about producing an entire rap video?

Yes, this is real. “Only 5’5″ and gets s**t done” is how San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is portrayed in the above (campaign? rap? foolish?) video. San Franciscans for Jobs and Good Government, an independent group led by Silicon Valley “angel investor” Ron Conway and propped up with Sean Parker’s cash, has released this take on MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” to support the campaign of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Special guests? You bet. Celebrity appearances include MC Hammer, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, hometown baseball star Brian Wilson of the SF Giants (and the “Fear the Beard” campaign), Ronnie Lott (SF 49ers), Jed York (49ers owner), ex mayor Willie Brown, and a handful of Silicon Valley heavyweights including Twitter c-founder Biz Stone and Google luminary Marissa Mayer.

Instead of spending a ton of money for celebrities to dance and rap like fools, maybe all you need to do to get attention is take a drag of a cigarette.


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