IA-01: Lange radio ad stands for "generational compact"

Republican Congressional candidate Ben Lange launched his campaign’s first radio commercial yesterday. In the 60-second ad, Lange makes a broad statement about “restoring the generational compact.”

“Restoring the Generational Compact”:

My transcript:

Lange’s voice: For centuries, American progress has depended on a generational compact in which each generation creates the conditions for the next generation to live better than the last.

My name is Ben Lange, candidate for U.S. Congress and a dad of three little girls. The current political leadership has indebted my girls to the tune of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars before they can even ride a bike.

Our national debt has skyrocketed to 16 trillion, and DC politicians now borrow 40 cents of every dollar spent.

Who’s going to repay this? Your sons and daughters? My three little girls? Victims who cannot yet defend themselves?

This is the greatest social injustice of my lifetime, perpetrated not by one class of citizens against another, nor one race against another, but by one generation against the next.

This is Ben Lange, candidate for U.S. Congress, and I approved this message because I will restore the generational compact.

Paid for by Lange for Congress 2012.

Rod Blum, the other Republican candidate in IA-01, is from an older cohort. He has tried to make his age and experience a selling point in this race. By repeatedly referring to Lange’s small children, this commercial puts a positive spin on the candidate’s relative youth. He sounds passionate about protecting the next generation.

To hear Lange run down “DC politicians,” you’d never guess that he used to be a staffer for one of those Congressional incumbents: Representative John Kline of Minnesota. Blum has sought to define Lange as a career politician.

“Restoring the generational compact” isn’t a catchy phrase, but it does connect a wonkish issue (the federal deficit) to a core value (leaving the world a better place for our children). As broad campaign slogans go, Lange’s choice is more solid than “renewing American exceptionalism,” preferred by Rob Gettemy, a 2010 loser in the IA-02 primary.  

The script seems way too wordy to me. Some of Lange’s points get lost behind the grandiose background music. He could have conveyed the same message more concisely.

Speaking of grandiose, I got a kick out of the e-mail blast announcing the radio ad. Excerpt:

Today we launched a radio offensive against the failed leadership of Bruce Braley (D-IA) and the Washington political establishment!

Our message is true and our cause is just. But there will be those who seek to deflect and distort the truth to stay in power.

Will you help me speak truth to power and sponsor this ad on a local radio station for $25? […]

My family and I cannot do this alone.

We are counting on people like YOU to pitch-in, not only to preserve the future of America, but to preserve the very beacon of freedom for all mankind.

Running for office can become all-consuming, but I don’t care how immersed in politics you are: the “very beacon of freedom for all mankind” is not riding on the outcome of the election in Iowa’s first Congressional district.

Also, a challenger claiming to “speak truth to power” better come up with more than a grab bag of overused talking points against the incumbent.

Any comments about the IA-01 campaign are welcome in this thread.

P.S.- When I think about Iowa Republican Congressional campaign slogans, I doubt anyone will ever top Jim Gibbons’ promise to “burn the boats” in the 2010 GOP primary to represent IA-03.  

  • what a yutz

    He must have a friend/adviser “helping” with these ads. I remember the first one: a web ad with Lange standing in a cornfield, arms folded a la SOS Schultz (who holds the patent), pants billowing in the wind, dark sky, grandiose music.

    I don’t particularly care for how he uses his daughters as props, especially the reference to them as victims. It’s all well and good that White Knight Ben is going to Washington to save the next generation, but when the score ends and you hear him in real life, it’s “Aaw c’mon guys, gimme a chance,” his single campaign plank last go-round.  

    • victims

      Yeah, when 15 percent of Iowa kids live in poverty, and millions of Americans live in food-insecure households, I have a hard time seeing the federal debt as “the greatest social injustice of my lifetime.”

      The Lange in a field ad from 2010 seems not to be on YouTube anymore, but here’s the script from that spot:

      Lange [standing in a green field]: I’m Ben Lange, and I approved this message. They said I couldn’t do this. They said I couldn’t take on Bruce Braley and the political machine. We, like all Iowans, don’t listen to what can’t be done. This isn’t about Republican-Democrat. This is about doing what’s right for Iowans, standing on principle that made us the most free and prosperous country in the history of the world. Stand with me. Vote for me. Ben Lange.

      Adorable little girl: Vote for my daddy.

      Not much in the way of substance there, as you noted.

      “Vote for my daddy” has been a popular slogan on the Lange campaign truck this year. I liked how it was amended to “Vote for my Irish daddy” for a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

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