The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing the "Culture of Washington"

Robin Carnahan is the Missouri Secretary of State and the Democratic candidate for Senate in Missouri. From the start of this ad, Carnahan presents herself as a humble, hard-working farm girl working to protect the consumer from corporate greed. This ad is mainly directed at the farming and middle class communities of the US and provides a simple, honest model of American life.

Despite its simple composition, this ad creates an effective statement for the American public. Carnahan wears a simple blue blouse with her family’s farm in the background, magnifying her message that she works to protect the average citizens of Missouri. Her unpretentious appearance promotes a feeling of equality between her and the viewer, making it easier for her to relate to her audience.

This leads up to Carnahan’s main message to the public—changing the “culture of Washington”. Carnahan defines this culture as one plagued by lies and corruption. She says that we are being “taken advantage of”. She urges the viewers to take action and encourages reform of this Washington culture. I feel a sense of egalitarianism from Carnahan’s statements against Wall Street and for “us”—in this case, the citizens of Missouri—as it is evident she strives to protect the interests of the majority.

This ad may not employ the negativity and creative wordplay characteristic of most campaign ads I have seen, but its basic structure echoes Carnahan’s projected modesty. She is presented as the ideal, hard-working citizen seeking fairness on both sides of the political spectrum. We have all been victim to Washington’s corruptive “culture” at some point, and she appeals to those who have been hit the most. Her dedication to bettering the lives of Missourians and helping to put an end to consumer exploitation provides a model—not just for her state, but for the US as a whole—of trustworthiness, reliability, and perseverance.

—Nikki Edmiston

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