Share This Page

Idea for ad money a change to believe in

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 11:59 p.m.

It's probably too late to broker a campaign commercial cease-fire.

It's probably too late, even if someone could make a case for a truce on TV between the Romney and Obama camps for humanitarian reasons.

That isn't stopping Bob Long from trying.

Long, the retired co-owner of a Finleyville manufacturing company, called the Tribune-Review on Thursday looking for a few phone numbers. He sought assistance in advancing an idea that initially seems preposterous.

“I want to try to convince the candidates to pull their ads and use that money for relief efforts on the East Coast,” said Long, 82, of Bethel Park. “Wouldn't that be a much better use of that money? Wouldn't that be wonderful?”

Preposterous? Only until you realize that more than $40 million in televised political ads were purchased nationwide for the presidential campaign's final week, according to CNN. Only until you see that $13.4 million in commercial time was bought just in Pennsylvania, according to the PoliticsPA website.

Now that's preposterous.

Long is correct. His quixotic mission, if successful, would be wonderful for a few reasons:

• It would put the smallest of dents in the cleanup costs associated with Hurricane Sandy, which caused an estimated tens of billions of dollars in damage when it pummeled New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Eastern Seaboard this week.

• It would spare people from the onslaught of campaign commercials that will air right up until the polls open on Election Day and the 2016 presidential campaign officially begins.

Long's idea came to him while he watched coverage of Sandy's aftermath.

“You see all this devastation and destruction, people with 5 feet of sand in their homes,” he said. “And then you see five campaign commercials in a row, just to try to convince the few folks who are undecided. How can you be undecided at this point? What a waste of money.”

When our conversation ended, I attempted to gauge the Obama and Romney campaigns' interest in Long's proposal but got no response from either side. That was unsurprising. The staffs probably were busy trying to purchase the nation's last available TV commercial opening between now and Tuesday: a 20-second slot during a 3:30 a.m. Saturday airing of a “Gilligan's Island” rerun on a station in Albany.

It's unlikely Long would have been deterred even if both campaigns — and the well-funded political action committees that spend millions on commercial time — scoffed at his idea.

“Never hurts to try to start something,” he said toward the end of our talk. “Every now and then, a miracle occurs.”

If Long pulls off this miracle, he'll have the gratitude of a campaign-weary nation.

I guarantee the line to nominate him for sainthood would be far longer than any line at the polls.

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or eheyl@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.