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June 03, 2010 04:58 AM UTC

Romanoff Resorts to ....Weirdness

  • by: MADCO

For a campaign that has struggled to find a penetrating and compelling message, and that has had a tail-wags-dog feel to the media cycles (Photoshopgate, Caddell, still-running-for Senate press conference) the campaign seems to have shifted into a new gear.


1) “A Senator For the Rest of Us”

I’m all for religious freedom and fictional holidays.  But a campaign message that directly rips “Festevus for the rest of us” from Seinfeld is …weird.  It is funny, and I’m usually all for funny.  But aside from the obvious anti-Christmas implication,  it just does not seem to cut through the media fog as a good way to brand a campaign for a serious candidate.

It would be funny, if the US Senate was somehow less serious.  But because the Senator we elect in November is going to serve 2011 – 2017 and will have to contribute to the Senate leadership of how we handle Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Net Neutrality, campaign finance reform, healthcare the sequel, banking reform continued, the 2012 presidential election and litterally dozens if not hundres or thousands of other serious issues, it doesn’t seem helpful to be so …irreverent and silly.

I was hoping any minute Romanoff would stop with the one-liners and quips. If only to pretend to aspire to the kind of gravitas I prefer in elected leaders.  But Senator Festavus is what we get.….

2) Backbone America is a right wing whackjob organization run by John Andrews.  Ok- that might be a bit harsh- Backbone America describes themselves this way

… Backbone America Citizens Alliance, John Andrews, Chairman. The alliance stands for America without apologies, America with steel in her spine, America as it was meant to be according to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, former Colorado Senate President, appointee of four US Presidents, US Navy veteran, Presbyterian elder, father and grandfather – as well as mayor-for-life of Backbone, Colorado, his imaginary hometown of the heart.

And Backbone America produces a radio show

“Backbone Radio with John Andrews,” every Sunday afternoon. We broadcast for liberty from the rooftop of North America, high atop the continental divide. We’re the most principled, most patriotic, most faith-based, most Colorado-proud spot on your weekend radio dial. We bring you America without apologies, America with steel in her spine.

Sure, others make the claim to be the backbone of America- Highway 66 fans, American steel workers, teachers, entrpreneurs, grad schools,  power grids, even internet cable and fiber.  But in  Colorado political circles, the common inference  is a connection to Senator Andrews’s radio show and organization.

And so earlier this week when the Romanoff campaign announced “The Backbone Tour” it struck me as …. weird.

No comedy here. John Andrews  was about as right as he could get in Colorado and still be electable.  And different politics aside, he is kind of mean.

And so the Romanoff campaign “Backbone tour”  in the “Backbone Express”  just seems….weird.  Does the Romanoff Campaign want everyone to be reminded of John Andrews?  Do they not realize that John Andrews will do everything he can to help R’s take this Senate seat?

It’s just weird.

Meanwhile, I have doubt that the Backbone Tour on the Backbone Express by Senator Festavus can help the campaign attract new following and articulate a compelling message that will penetrate the media fog.

Perhaps it’s the result of budgeting for staff and media on a tight budget. Perhaps it’s just AR’s humor showing through.  Perhaps it’s the precursor to his next media director.  It’s just weird.


33 thoughts on “Romanoff Resorts to ….Weirdness

  1. .

    where a member of this community (can’t remember his alias) connects “backbone” to Russ Feingold.

    Speaking of backbones, yours must be exceptionally flexible in order to make a stretch like that:

    “X for the rest of us” = Seinfeld, obviously anti-Christmas.    


      1. I can barely even read the slogan without replacing Senator with Festivus.  It makes me giggle every time.

        For the Seinfeld impaired among us:

        Frank Costanza: “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.”

        Cosmo Kramer: “What happened to the doll?”

        Frank Costanza: “It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!”

        Kramer: “That must have been some kind of doll.”

        Frank Costanza: “She was.”

        Airing of Grievances:

        Frank Costanza: “And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!”

        Frank Costanza: “The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks! You couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe…I lost my train of thought.”

    1. I’m going to have to agree with Barron X.

      Although it’s almost too obvious to even state, the phrase “for the rest of us” predates Seinfeld.

  2. P.s.:  Apple’s Mac campaign did not work, as IMHO it contributed toward making corporate America a little afraid of it.  (So for the purposes of my question, let’s agree to leave it out?)

      1. … was a huge fan of Seinfeld…

        … and didn’t make the connection between “for the rest of us” and “Festavus”.  Yeah, MADCO, it is just you.  “… for the rest of us” or some variation thereof has been a political campaign theme for as long as there have been populist campaigns.

        Have you lost any hope of finding serious reasons to attack Andrew?

        As for the “Backbone Tour,” it melds nicely with the key quote most Dems at the State Assembly attribute to his speech.  So, yeah, it is a pretty good effort to get his message out there.

        1. It was one of the best Seinfelds ever.  Festivus is to Seinfeld what Tribbles are to Star Trek.

          Festivus for the rest of us!

          Google “for the rest of us.”  The first 3 hits are Festivus.

        2. All from Google:

          “for the rest of us” “populist political slogan”


          “populist political slogans”

          Nothing relevant (two pages of hits)

          “famous political slogans” us populist

          Nothing relevant (two pages of hits)

          SouthDem – I did find some segregationist campaigns that used something very similar to “for the rest of us” but I feel confident that’s not what you meant.

          Do you haae any examples of what you suggest or are you just …. ya know, …guessing?

    1. Can someone name a Senator named Bennet? P.S. Michael Bennet doesn’t count, as IMHO his opponents are a little afraid of him. (So for the purp aw fuck it, you get my drift.)

      1. that Apple wasn’t always market capped higher than Microsoft. A dozen years ago, the company was on the ropes. Mac ads have been working lately, it’s true.

        1. The market caps of Apple and Microsoft are as irrelevant now as ever. Market share matters, and for computers Microsoft’s is still much higher.

          But the Macintosh was fairly successful in the home market in the mid-80s, which is when the advertisement was made. Back then there was less pressure to have uniform standards for software, and a home computer was more for educating your kids than doing anything particularly useful for your job.

          The fact that Apple pissed away its success ten years later isn’t really relevant to their success in 1984 with the Seinfeld quote they pre-emptively stole.

  3. absolutely ridiculous line of attack.

    It was pointed out above that “for the rest of us” is an old phrase that has been used in advertising for years. Not everyone immediately comes up with a Seinfeld quote to match any line or situation. Besides that’s only cool when you use Star Wars quotes.

    And the first thing I think of when I hear “Backbone Tour” is the progressive Backbone Campaign from 2003-on rather than some obscure guy on talk radio.

    This set of extremely tenuous connections to obscure figures and old pop-culture references sounds more like a late-career Dennis Miller routine than the intelligent posts I usually expect from you.

    1. And I don’t consider it an “attack”

      An attack would be something like …..Andrew would have been an awesome USAID Latin America Director, why didn’t he take it? Oh- that’s right it wasn’t offered.

      Or something like-

      Romanoff is going to have a hard time in the general, harder than Bennet anyway, because despite his Caddel-Trippi-I’m-an-outsider campaign, just about every Colorado voter is going to see him as an opportunist career politician.  Now, for D’s like me, nothing wrong with that.  But for the U’s and loosly affiliated R’s who carry statewide elections, it’s a negative.  I wouldn’t worry about it if he had serious 8-figure media budget and compelling message, but  he hasn’t shown tha bility to generate the former and I don’t think he has the latter.

      If I just said something like my grandfather used to have that same Chevy van, only his paint job was slightly less goofy that wouldn’t be an “attack” per se. Unless, of course, the sloganeering and branding are the campaign now.

      Yeah- I’m sure most of the target electorate are going to recall that Backbone tour thingy.  Brand away. I can’t wait for the cute t-shirts and hats (as long as they are blue).  

      And I usually like Dennis MIller’s comedy.

  4. “Isn’t the backbone express a conservative group?” I think they might be trying to go for the tea-party express look.  I wish them luck with that.

  5. This post is the biggest crock of shit I have ever seen. I can’t stop laughing.

    “For the rest of us” is a common phrase.

    Rational people know that the Backbone Express relates to his quote at the state assembly. “Stiffen your spine, or step out of the way.” Not a reference to conservative groups.

    So what, were Bennet’s signs being red at assembly a sign that he is actually a republican in disguise? For fucks sake, it’s a campaign tactic.

    Thanks for the laugh though.  

    1. ANd I never was freaked by the red t-shirts and hats at assembly.  But some romanoffistas were.

      Today I took an informal, casual poll of 34 adults raning in age from 22 – 61.

      I wrote “for the rest of us” on a dry marker board and asked them to write the first thing they thought of, or were reminded of by this common phrase.

      21: Festvus

      5: general advertising slogans

      8: nothing

      After lunch I did the same thing with “Backbone America” “Backbone express” and “Backbone Tour”

      18: John Andrews radio show

      16: nothing really  (more than one comedian attempted to relate it to some rock band, fictional or otherwise.)

      Yes- it’s true, I have no idea how many registered voters were present.  But they are all CO citizens

      1. If Lynn Bartels wrote a blog about it. (I just wanted to point out my sarcasm here, I know some people tend to miss it)

        I’m still going to stick with this,

        This post is the biggest crock of shit I have ever seen

        And this one,

        For fucks sake, it’s a campaign tactic.

        Not the nicest thing I have ever written, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  

        1. Even when unfortunate – but still too often true.

          If AR is seen as a career politician opportunist by voters who see that as a bad thing, it will hurt him.  Doesn’t matter if it’s meaningless or not.  Perception.

          Bartels or the Post seeing the same thing I saw doesn’t make it any more “true.” But it does confirm that the perception exists beyond me.

          Sure, it’s a campaign thing. (Tactic is too strong). ANd campaigns do goofy things all the time.  But for a campaign with a perceived message control problem goofy slogans and “tactics” are not the best use of resources.

  6. That sounds like an ‘imaginary’ dictatorship any wingnut could love…

    If only, if only, I could have been Senate Leader for Life!

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