additional commentary by NH State Rep. Timothy Horrigan; December 6, 2011
In December 2011, Presidential candidate Rick Perry took the positive message ad to depths even Sen. Kelly Ayotte wouldn't sink to. He appeared by the side of a river (probably not filmed anywhere in New Hampshire, judging by how green the grass is on the river bank— even though we have enjoyed a generally mild winter.) He was dressed like John Kerry in a tan barn coat. Tuneful music played in the background as this pleasant-looking man spewed forth a message of pure bigotry. The ad was entitled "Strong":
ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't
need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's
something wrong in this country when gays can serve
openly in the military but our kids can't openly
celebrate Christmas or pray in school.
President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And
I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious
Faith made America strong. It can make
her strong again.
I'm Rick Perry and I approve this
Original URL: http://youtu.be/0PAJNntoRgA
This ad followed a less explicitly bigoted ad entitled "Faith":
Original URL: http://youtu.be/c6tmsxdSUkY
I am a Christian myself, but I am afraid to admit it at the moment. And not because I believe that faith is a sign of weakness.
Faith is a sign of strength: bigotry is a sign of weakness.
Perry's barn coat in the "Strong" ad is very, very similar to a coat worn by the late Heath Ledger in the film Brokeback Mountain. The ad's background music is also reminiscent of Gustavo Santaolalla's Oscar-winning film score.
Original URL: http://youtu.be/-xuugq7fito
One good thing is that Perry's "Strong" is well on its way to becoming the most-disliked video in YouTube history. He has a good shot at dethroning Rebecca Black, the young woman who perpetrated the infamously inane song "Fridays" (which I secretly enjoy):
Original URL: http://youtu.be/kfVsfOSbJY0
[December 9, 2011] Actually there is some dispute over the
numbers, according to (amongst
others) Dean Praetorius of the Huffington Post.
numbers are hard to come by, since videos are often posted in
multiple versions. The canonical version of "Friday"
was taken down by the singer after about 1.1 million Dislikes
then put back up on her
own YouTube channel and there are a number of
the like floating around. Perry's ad also exists as more than
The most hated video ever by Praetorius's count is in fact Justin Bieber's "Baby" with over 2 million Dislikes. Be that as it may, it is amazing that a struggling Presidential candidate can suffer the level of revilement usually reserved for cute but modestly talented teenaged pop singers. (The song "Baby" itself is by the way a perfectly nice little pop single, which has garnered over a million Likes on YouTube.)
[December 12 & 19, 2011] Perry's bigoted ad may have
negative attention in the real world, but it went unnoticed in
Republican-land. None of his opponents (with
one exception) have brought it up and even the mainstream
has ignored this monumental gaffe. Here in New Hampshire,
even picked up ringing endorsements from two of the more
members of the New Hampshire House. I think my two
embarrassed themselves, but I doubt they even know why they
The ultraconservative Will Smith (R-Newcastle), a Finance division chair, had this to say in a Letter to the Editor sent to various newspapers:
The flamboyant House Finance Chair Ken Weyler (who actually is something of a centerist in spite of his propensity for aiming insulting rhetoric at liberals, and in spite of his tireless opposition to anything—aside from expanded gambling— which could possibly generate revenue for the state government) had this to say:
The polls have been pretty consistent for months now.
Obama has reached a low that no president contemplating
reelection has seen before him. We can be confident that
the next president will be one of the Republican
candidates that we have been seeing.
Only one Republican spoke out against Perry: rival Presidential candidate Fred Karger put out this stinging parody:
Original URL: http://youtu.be/EQso7JBg8cI
January 7, 2012 Southern California Public Radio story: "Was Rick Perry actually drunk? A computer says it knows" (USC professor Shri Narayanan's computer says Perry was probably sober.)