Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jesus's Pal and the Playboy Bunny

I’m so tired of reading about poor Harold Ford, Jr. and the Republicans’ Playboy bunny ad.

Didn’t he ask for just such a response when he ran his own commercial recorded in a church? That's the dirtiest piece of political pandering in the Tennessee Senatorial race.

Ford’s message begins with the image of cross-laden stained glass windows and the sound of an organ playing a crypto-hymn. "Hey, Christians, have I got a guy for you!" We hear the candidate’s voice as the camera slowly pans back to reveal him in all his heavenly glory. A wall-hanging of yet another cross, a white one on a pink background—is that color supposed to reassure liberals?—casts Jesus’s approval on the candidate’s message. “Here, I learned the difference between right and wrong,” Ford says glibly, as he marches piously toward us. Then he rattles off a number of issues for which his vote was “right”—not at all in the moral sense, but certainly in the Republican one.

At the end, Ford positions himself in a pew so that the symbol of right-wing hate shines with a holy glow over his shoulder. The camera slowly moves in for a closeup—on both the candidate and Christ. Ford intones, “I won’t let them make me someone I’m not.” What he’s not is a politician we can depend on to take a stand against theocracy. “I’ll always fight for you,” he vows. The implication: As long as you’re a Christian.

But please don’t take my word on faith. See the ad for yourself. Watch it now.

This is the kind of political spot that most Republicans would never dare to approve for themselves. But Ford is a Democrat, so it’s OK for him to pretend he has the endorsement of the conservatives’ sky-buddy.

And once again, we atheists are left without a viable candidate to protect our rights.

The way I see it, the Republican ad does not defame Ford; it defames Playboy bunnies.