How Silly is The Campaign, Really?

I made a comment after seeing The Campaign over the summer that it was a silly skewering of campaigning and American politics in general. As I rewatched it, after this year’s election, it suddenly seemed less silly. Granted there’s comedic exaggeration but some of the incidents in the campaign weren’t that far off. And in keeping with my vow to do more off-beat pieces and not always reviews, allow me to take the silliness just slightly more seriously than I did before.

“You can call me dad.”

This ad, while hilarious, struck me as one of the largest exaggerations when I watched it. However, when Tagg Romney took it upon himself to stick himself into the election saying he wanted to “take a swing at him [Obama],” then this scene seemed not so crazy anymore.

“I spoke last.”

As hilariously insightful as this line Ferrell delivers is, I never thought it’d be quite so prophetic seeing as how after the first debate Jim Lehrer was roundly criticized for losing control of it and Mitt Romney was cited as the most frequent abuser of debate decorum, essentially wanting to get in the last word regardless; even if it was as inane as “I spoke last.”

The Sex Tape

This campaign was devoid of sex scandals, and as many sex tapes as exist, there’s yet to really be one that incriminates a politician, to my knowledge. However, sex scandals are clearly nothing new politics. Even before his eventual impeachment Bill Clinton had to fend off marital infidelity rumors during his first presidential campaign.


Through all the discussions about tax codes one issue that popped up, and was only really ever of concern to voters who paid close attention, was relations with China; namely who did or did not invest in Chinese firms, and who would or would not be tough on their trading practices. It’s a far cry from the scenario the film paints, but perhaps a portent of one of the crucial foreign policy concerns in coming years.

“Is he an Al-Qaeda?”

It will never be a stretch in my mind to make any joke about fear-mongering in American politics. This is not only a jab and poor grammar and syntax but also one about baseless accusations, trying to show your opponent in a negative light, and as “not one of us.”


The aforementioned accusations is levied by Ferrel’s character who plays the frequently-unopposed Democratic incumbent, so the film is pretty fair and doesn’t play into stereotypes that the left and right have about one another whenever possible in making its points, which as silly as they are rendered, it is saying a bit more than you might think upon first glance.