Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Irony of the Most Hopeless Political Jingle in History

Spouse and I were watching a program talking about political ads in this year's campaign.  Some of them were pretty awful-there always are some that just stick in your mind in the wrong way.

Some will stick in people's minds forever, and not in the way their creators meant.  The most famous of those was the Lyndon Johnson "daisy girl" ad of 1964 (I fear people my son's age-young adult-will never feel the full impact of that ad) but there were many local ads.

Seeing this program both spouse and I burst into song, a song almost 30 years old, from our days in Arkansas.

"John Paul Hammerschmidt...", the ditty went, "doesn't deserve to be reelected.  John Paul Hammerschmidt, he doesn't work for you."  I think this was the chorus and here was more at the beginning, but I can't quite remember.

Pretty catchy...although the words on a blog page don't do much.  I tried to find the ad on You Tube: no luck.  You'll just have to take my word for it:  this was so annoying, we remember it 30 years later.

It didn't work.   It didn't have a chance. John Paul Hammerschmidt did deserve to be reelected, or at least, his constituents felt that way.

Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt was elected 13 times.

One of these times (not the election of the jingle) was a victory won against a young University of Arkansas law professor by the name of William Jefferson Clinton.  (check out this tribute to Hammerschmidt for a picture of the young Clinton.)

We all know what happened to Clinton.  Meanwhile, Hammerschmidt is far from a household word, except in certain parts of Arkansas.  Long retired from Congress, he still comes to work every day at age 84, we are told.

So what about the man who wrote the jingle?  Amazingly, I was able to find information about him online.  His name was Jerry Russell, who died in 2003.  Although the tribute I found said his jingles worked about 70 percent of the time, his contribution to history was the preservation of Civil War battlefields-a pursuit which he devoted many years to.

Now, every time I visit a Civil War battlefield (and I've been to a number of them- including one in Arkansas) - I am going to be thinking of John Paul Hammerschmidt.

Politicians, choose your jingles well.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up near Fort Smith and remember this as a positive jingle for JPH, sung to the tune of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith":

    "Let's vote for John Paul Hammerschmidt, that is his name.
    Whenever they go out, the people always shout,
    'Let's vote for John Paul Hammerschmidt,' da da da DA da da da."


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