New Ted Cruz Ad Misses the Mark

I am a huge Ted Cruz fan, and I agree with everything that he says in his new campaign ad, but, I was very disappointed in its content, delivery, and organization. I believe Cruz is trying to introduce himself to the wider public, but I don’t think that it will play well to anyone outside of hard-core supporters. My main problems with the ad are:

  • The ad has a negative tone, over-using negative words like not, don’t, can’t. In my opinion, this negative tone overshadows the positive messages he’s trying to deliver.
  • There is a subtle criticism of the audience, saying that “people are waking up”, implying that the problems were caused by the apathy in the audience. Whereas this is definitely true, there is no reason to point it out in this type of ad.
  • Throughout much of the speech, Cruz tries too hard to deliver emotion. When he does this, his voice gets raspy, and it makes him sound angry. You see this in phrases like “all of it”, and the word “every”. I’m more of a fan of the lighthearted, optimistic, and humorous Cruz.
  • The speech has too much inside-baseball. He references the criticism that he got for his non-filibuster filibuster, but, most people don’t know anything about this event. He also references the IRS issue where organizations were asked about the “contents of their prayers”. This issue is known by well-informed Conservatives, but isn’t something that was widely reported, and isn’t even known to the majority of Republicans.
  • The “Congressional … We” as delivered in the line “We need to stop bankrupting our country.” This is something that really bugs me with the communication of all Republican members of Congress. Even though Progressives (Republicans and Democrats) are primarily responsible for bankrupting the country, Cruz shares responsibility for this through his choice of language. “Number 1, we tell the truth” implies that Cruz lied in the past, and that he will start telling the truth going forward.
  • He criticizes “Democrats”, not Democrat politicians or Progressives, in his line “… Democrats said …”. This targets roughly half the population. Even though Democrats are responsible for their voting for Progressives, they did it with the promise of a moderate Obama with hope and change. Most Democrats are also victims of the new Obama policies. Cruz needs to point out positions that will attract liberals and more moderate or conservative Democrats. Unfortunately, he’s contributing to the sorting of Americans into R and D teams.
  • The ad was pieced together from a number of his speeches, and is disorganized. He states a “Number 1”, but there is no following “Number 2” or “Number 3”. Typically, when Cruz gives a speech, he is very impressive with his the organization and discipline of his delivery. This ad doesn’t reflect that.
  • The Constitution – Just to make my intent clear here, I believe that The Constitution is most responsible for the successes of America to date. That being said, using the words “The Constitution” is too abstract to the general population. It invites ridicule from the Left, such as “there they go again, The Constitution, The Constitution, what about the needs of real people.” Cruz attempts to educate people about what is embodied in the Constitution, but he does it in a way that’s awkward, especially with the IRS reference. I picture the every-day American hearing the words “The Constitution” and quickly visualizing a parody of Ron Paul. I believe that the way to address this issue is to talk about our God-given rights “as embodied in the country’s founding documents”.

Here is the text of Senator Cruz’s ad (video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Fk5Ga6wCM):

All across this country, people are waking up and saying what we’re doing is not working
People are hurting, tragically
and we need to turn this country around
there is a better way, a brighter future
how do we win, how do we inspire young people
number 1, we tell the truth
defend the constitution, all of it
defend the 1st amendment, the right to free speech, the right to a free press, the right to freedom of religion
and that means, among other things, not having the IRS ask citizens, tell me the content of your prayers
we need to stand for the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms
We need to stand for the 4th and 5th amendment rights, the privacy of every american
every child deserves an opportunity to have an excellent education, regardless of your race, your class, your creed, where you come from
every child deserves a fair chance at the American dream
we need to audit the federal reserves, we need to abolish the IRS
We need to stop bankrupting our country
we can either choose to keep our head down, and not rock the boat, to not stand for anything, or we can stand for principle
millions of Americans stood up last fall, and said stop this train wreck, this disaster that is Obamacare, that is hurting millions of people
the Democrats said, the mainstream media said, they said this is hopeless, don’t you understand, just move on, just accept it
you can’t do anything to stop this
yes we can

I think an ad like this presents an opportunity to separate out Progressives from Democrats. Even though the term “Progressives” is somewhat of an inside-baseball term, I think that raising the profile of Progressivism helps in appealing to registered Democrats. Also, Hillary Clinton has self-identified as a Progressive, so it helps to target her as well.

I also think that Progressives have given Conservatives the opportunity to retake the issue of Education. For Democrats, Education is all about more money. What’s not widely told, though, is that they are interested in that money going to bureaucrats, administrators, and unions. Progressives are also interested in the Federal government dictating the school curriculum with great specificity. Conservatives need to make it clear we side with Parents and Teachers. Conservatives need to let Teachers know that they should be valued higher, and that they should be trusted to teach in the way that they feel will best serve their students. Conservatives need to make it clear that they will help Parents to identify failing schools and to provide help to escape these bad schools.

I also watched this ad with the sound off. Senator Cruz has his fists clenched through much of the ad, and he moves his arms in an aggressive manner. This also comes across as angry. He needs to focus on these issues. If you watch his typical speeches, his movements are very measured, which I think is a better style for him. Ted Cruz is not an angry man, and he needs to communicate this.

I think a better version of the ad is:

For the past 5 1/2 years, we’ve experienced the vision that Progressives like President Obama and Hillary Clinton have for America. As we’ve seen:
Progressives think they are smarter than you, that they know what’s best for you and your family.
Progressives want power over your personal health decisions.
Progressives want Washington to control your local school, what your kids read, what your kids eat.
Progressives want total control over your local newspaper, the nightly news, and even the Internet.
Progressives want to take away your right to protect yourself, putting more power in the hands of criminals.
Progressives have destroyed our once-great cities, turning them into killing-fields of despair.
Progressives want America to project weakness on the World stage.
And, Progressives have bankrupted this country and your childrens’ future to achieve their goals.
Folks, I believe in a very different America.
The America that was promised in our founding documents.
An America where you get to choose what kind of healthcare that your family needs.
An America where the power in education is with the PTA, parents and teachers working together to improve your kids’ futures.
An America where kids in failing schools have the choice to go to a charter school or a private school.
An American culture of liberal thought, where all opinions are heard, and where the media holds the powerful accountable.
An America where our inner-cities are centers of commerce and entertainment.
An America of justice, where the rich and politically connected are subjected to the same laws as the rest of us.
An America of economic growth and opportunity, where American workers are in high demand and are richly rewarded.
An America that stands as a shining beacon to the rest of the World.
Folks, there are many people who say that we can’t restore America’s greatness.
I say, “yes we can”.