Ped-Bike Mockery Flops for 7-Term House Incumbent

The National Republican Congressional Committee ran this ad against Democratic challenger Kathy Dahlkemper in the race for Pennsylvania’s third congressional district. It hits a few Gingrichian notes on how to address the country’s energy problems before the announcer tells us incredulously:

Dahlkemper’s wacky solution? She said we should make personal sacrifices, such as walking places and riding bikes. Hmm… Why don’t we use dog-sleds, too?

That passage heaps on the fear and loathing with scare quotes, shots of an impossibly crowded sidewalk, and a bike bell sound effect. But guess what? Seven-term incumbent Phil English is heading back to Erie, and Kathy Dahlkemper is going to Washington. The AP breaks down her victory:

Mrs. Dahlkemper’s advantage was viewed as being in the more urban areas
of the district — the cities of Erie, Sharon, Meadville and Butler —
where she was expected to benefit from longtime union support and Sen.
Barack Obama’s presence at the top of the ticket. Her challenge was to
sway voters in the suburban and rural regions.

Think Dahlkemper’s competition will bank on the same anti-urban message in 2010?

  • Wow. That’s the worst ad I’ve ever seen.

  • Streetsman

    What an absurdly inept attempt at satire. They mocked walking? Really? Walking?

    What next – will they try to ridicule breathing?

  • The imagery they picked wasn’t so effective either. The ding of a handlebar bell is too pleasing a sound compared to honking horns, and that dog-sled ride looked downright beautiful, and just makes you think about how beautiful ANWR is, and what a shame is would be to open it up to drilling for 6 months worth of oil.

  • This is my home district, though I live in SF now. I’ve been following this race very closely, in part because I worked on the campaign against the Rep. incumbent years ago, and especially after Dahlkempher’s pro-enviro ideas were mocked.

    There was actually another version of this ad, that was probably more ‘affective’:

    which plays more strongly on the image of fierce Erie, PA winters (think lake effect snow).

    My parents still live in Erie, and I’m proud to report that in a city with no formal bike infrastructure, transit, or liveable streets advocacy group, my father bikes to work whenever possible, almost every day in the warm months. Yesterday he rolled into his local suburban polling place on a bike to vote.

    I know I contributed another $20 to Dahlkempher’s campaign after I saw this ad, I wonder if others did as well (the early ad I post here was referenced in a TreeHugger post a couple months ago).

  • I’m an Erieite and a Dahlkemper supporter. I couldn’t be more thrilled that we finally got Phil English out of office.

    It wasn’t just the television ads… there were several print ads mailed out with the same ridiculous message:

    According to English, walking, biking, and conserving resources are all negatives. Go figure.

  • What next – will they try to ridicule breathing?

    Why do your own breathing these days, when technology can do it bigger and faster? You liberal breathing fanatics with your yoga and stuff are just jealous. Wait till you see my new Cadillac sport-utility respirator with gold detailing, surround sound, cupholders and a decal of Calvin pissing on a Ford. It looks just like the commercials where the girl is sitting next to her respirator looking out over the Grand Canyon with an Escalade behind her.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The losing candidate said Republicans are not in favor of making sacrifices. The obvious response is Republicans have been telling Americans to party, sell out the future, and worry about it later. It is now later. How did that work out for you?

  • Streetsman

    Exactly. They’ll make some gargantuan Escalade mounted to snow mobile treads – basically a consumer tank. It will include 12-foot wide bench seats for your 600-pound ass, and a flip-out tray from the driver’s side door so you can easily conduct your drive-through junk food transactions. It will include a computer with wireless internet so you can work and order any goods you need. The GPS will be registered with the post office so the damn thing will have an address. Then you can get anything delivered. And standard features such as respirator and colostomy bag will ensure you never have to leave the safety and comfort of your truck.

    One day, some democratic challenger will run on the idea that we can breath and sh*t on our own. Then they’ll make some attack ad showing how “wacky” her notion is.

    Me? I’ll stick to walking, thank you very much.

  • Congressman English is a very large individual.

    This probably helps understand where he’s coming from on his claims that walking and bicycling and conservation are “wacky” ideas.

    I took personal offense to his claims that bicycling and walking were not acceptable alternatives, as that attitude only serves to further confound the efforts of those of us who choose to use bicycles and our feet as modes of transportation. And to have an elected official and my supposed representative mock what I do for myself and my community and perpetuate this notion that we’re “wacky” and undeserving of respect? Oh, I was plenty peeved, believe me.

  • So Congressman English may become the first Dalek, then.


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