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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Warm and fuzzy

All those people who whine about negative political ads seem flabbergasted when candidates actually put out messages that are, well, nice:

Indiana's gubernatorial candidates say their campaigns are about creating jobs and cutting taxes, but their first round of campaign commercials, which get them the most exposure with voters, have skipped most of that serious talk.

Republican Mike Pence has run six ads since May, starting with a pair of light biopics, and only touched on some of his proposals in his most recent ad.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg has mocked Pence for his fluffy campaign spots, using an ad image of Pence ice skating to accuse Pence of skating on the issues.

But when it came time to air his first ad, Gregg went light himself, avoiding serious discussion of tax and economic policy in favor of a homespun tale about friends from his hometown of Sandborn looking out for each other. The spot had some pundits in Indiana and Washington scratching their heads in search of its point.

They need a lot of head-scratching to get the point? Oh, come on. No substance can be crammed into a 30-second or 1-minute TV ad -- there simply isn't enough time for details, let alone nuance. The only function those ads can serve is to create, in fleeting moments, an impression that candidates hope sticks with viewers. An impression can be created in one of two ways -- a vicious, exaggerated portrait of the opponent as evil incarnate or a warm and fuzzy self-portrait of the lovable and caring hero. Since I will get my substance elsewhere, and I can't escape the ubiquitous TV spots, I'll take warm and fuzzy, thank you.