The American flag is an enduring staple of political advertising, but in the recent past its imagery has been used most effectively by candidates and ballot campaigns on the right. This week, the pro-Proposition 87 campaign released a hard-hitting commercial that uses the flag to promote the alternative-energy initiative backed most vigorously by the left.
The ad opens with the image of a Saudi Arabian sheikh, followed by a Middle-Eastern street scene that shows anti-American protesters torching an American flag. The narration: "We buy their oil. They burn our flag."
The ad goes on to say Proposition 87, which would establish an oil severance tax in California to generate revenue to promote alternative energy, would result in the use of more wind and solar energy "produced right here in
California." Then comes a scene of the American flag in all its glory. Proposition 87, the ad says, will make us more secure and more free.
Chevron and the other opponents of the measure will have their hands full responding to that. Perhaps they should consult those associated with John Kerry's 2004 campaign for some counsel on how difficult it is to respond when your opponents try to paint you as unpatriotic.