Romney and Clinton’s odd new commercials

You may not be planning to commit a federal crime in the next few years. But if you blunder into one, wouldn’t you like to think there’s some chance a merciful president would pardon you? If so, a new commercial for Mitt Romney may incline you to vote against him. In the course of attacking Mike Huckabee as soft on crime, the spot makes the peculiar boast that Romney “never pardoned a single criminal.” Who’d have thought a candidate would choose to depict himself as so pitiless? Odd as it is, though, this claim seems slightly less so than one made for Hillary Clinton in one of her new spots. In it, we see Clinton’s mother say of Hillary, “She never was envious of anybody.” Have you ever decided to vote for or against a political candidate based on your sense of whether the person was prone to envy? Seems unlikely. And of all the sins Clinton’s detractors have accused her of, envy has scarcely been conspicuous among them. People often complain that campaign advertising is too negative. Maybe they should start complaining that it’s too weird.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver