The conservative group Americans for Shared Prosperity released an advertisement in which it compared President Barack Obama to a shiftless, abusive boyfriend.
The ad — which is a parody of commercials for dating sites like Match.com — features a racially ambiguous woman discussing the profile of the man she met online.
The choice of actress has been praised by conservatives as “a personable but racially ambiguous actress to deliver the message. While she’s clearly not of Celtic origin, her subtle racial mixture, whatever it might be, is spot-on for targeting Everywoman.”
“In 2008, I fell in love,” the actress says. “His online profile made him seem so perfect. He was smart, handsome, charming, articulate.”
As Michael Eric Dyson noted in 2007, referring to black people as “articulate” is problematic because, “historically, it was meant to signal the exceptional Negro. The implication is that most black people do not have the capacity to engage in articulate speech, when white people are automatically assumed to be articulate.”
The woman then declares that “I trusted him — but by 2012, the relationship was in trouble, but I stuck with him, because he promised he’d be better.”
“He said we’d be safe,” she continues. “He’s in my emails and text messages, spying on me,” she says, directly comparing the president to a controlling boyfriend.
“He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control,” she adds, which as one conservative blogger noted, suggests that Democrats think “‘women’s issues’ all have to do with sexual intercourse and things which flow from it, offering a comic bit of analogy to the bad boyfriend who treats his female significant other as nothing more than a sex object.”
John Jordan, the California winery owner whose group produced the ad, told Politico that “the goal here is to communicate with women voters in a way that outside groups and campaigns haven’t.”
“The Republican advertising techniques have not changed since the ’80s — the one-size-fits-all advertising by the Republican Party has been bad,” he added. “The purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults than either the Democrats or Republicans have.”
As many on Twitter noted, however, treating a woman like an “adult” is different then making a woman who has been stalked and sexually abused into a punchline:
Republican Ad Treats Obama Like an Abusive Boyfriend. Hey, GOP, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISN'T A JOKE! //t.co/3egSaBCr1J
— miss lisa (@lopezlm7) September 24, 2014
Moreover, imagining that female voters can only relate to their political choices through the prism of a romantic relationship is insulting:
No, GOP, female Obama supporters don’t see BHO as their “boyfriend.” Not in 2008, not now. This ad is insulting. //t.co/0DU6IQr94e
— Laura (@CatLadyLC) September 21, 2014
Just saw. Odd. Ad sounds like what a GOP rich guy THINKS single woman feels about Obama — that he's a bad boyfriend //t.co/9vn446nMWL
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) September 21, 2014
One critic did find a bright side both to this ad, and remarkably, the Citizens United decision:
Citizens United basically freed rich donors to bankroll all the stupid ideas campaign managers used to veto //t.co/ZRdKaEKQVv
— Wyeth Ruthven (@wyethwire) September 21, 2014
Watch the entire advertisement from Americans for Shared Prosperity below.