Scott Walker, Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor, begins his "Day One" ad with dirge-like classical violins. The narrator runs through a list of supposedly record-breaking tax increases supported by Walker's Democratic opponent, Tom Barrett: "The largest permanent tax increase in state history!" "The largest tax increase in United States history!"
At each mention of a tax increase, a tab pops up with an ominous ding, as if an old-fashioned cash register had just rung. The effect is unsettling, especially the horrifying climax at the ad's 15-second mark -- kind of like the horrifying climax of a monster movie."Barrett," the narrator says, setting you up for the scare, "even supported Jim Doyle's job-killing tax on Wisconsin employers like Harley Davidson!"
At the mention of the low-polling Democratic governor's name, a cash-register tab pops up with a grotesque caricature of Doyle's face. The tab even looks a little like a tombstone. I, myself, screamed.
But this mini-monster movie has a happy ending. The dirgelike violins give way to a thumping bass and can-do guitar. Scott Walker comes on the scene, speaking with factory workers in his prop safety glasses.
"Scott Walker will call an emergency session on jobs his first day in office!" the narrator chirps. "Cut taxes for small businesses and individuals! And get government out of the way!"
Maybe so, but I bet even this seemingly messianic politician would scare us silly if his face popped up on a cash-register tab.
Isthmus TV critic Dean Robbins will assess candidate commercials throughout the 2010 fall elections in this regular feature. Read more reviews of political campaign spots.