While the polls are unlikely to show much movement from last Friday’s Comeymania™ (no, srsly, they’re not–polls do always tighten somewhat in the last weeks of a campaign, but that’s it), Sec. Clinton has gone on the offensive in a way that many people felt she should have done some time ago. Folk may have forgotten some of Mr. Trump’s more incendiary statements earlier in the campaign, as the focus shifted to his leisure activities and Clinton’s insistence on going private. Sec. Clinton, apparently, has not. And today, she finally did what many people–including former New York Knick–oh, and Senator, too, I suppose–Bill Bradley, who was so outraged by the Republican candidate’s bellicosity that he went and did something like it himself a short while back–had been calling for her to do for some time.
So, finally, what did she do to begin The Great Fall Offensive of 2016?
She picked a daisy.
The campaign waited until October 31 to do it, which will either prove to be cleverly playing the long game or possibly diluting the message because everyone’s already forgotten that Trump serially espoused the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons. We shall see. But here is the commercial (there’s also a 60 second version, which so far I can only find on the Clinton twitter feed, and I’m sticking to my vow of public non-partisanship and not linking to anyone’s campaign), including the original Daisy Girl herself, Monique Corzilius Luiz, and in the long version, the 1964 tag line, “the stakes are too high for you to stay home.”
For the record, Mr. Trump’s feeling about the use of nuclear weaponry also has its link directly back to the 1964 campaign. Goldwater said many similar things the first time round, most seriously about the idea of using atomic bombs for purposes of defoliation, apparently laboring under the misapprehension that a tactical nuke was just like a conventional bomb, only bigger. He even referred to “conventional nuclear” warfare. It was a–THE–big issue in 1964, and led to the landslide, despite the Daisy ad only ever being aired once.
Just to jog your memories, here it is, in living black and white:
PS If you’re really interested in this stuff, an interesting and highly readable short book has been written on the original ad and its aftermath, Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics, by Robert Mann. Could use a little better fact-checking, but the only misstatements I noticed were actually about things that aren’t actually relevant to the thesis. Anyway, I read this stuff so you don’t have to.