Here it is, 60 seconds in all. Hall starts out by introducing himself before descending into a more portentous conclusion by broadly describing the woes of the City and giving a chilling ultimatum to Mayor Parker of “we’ll talk soon.” But don’t take my word for it, watch video or just read the transcript below:
“I’m Ben Hall. a poor country boy who is surprised and fascinated by the gifts God has given me, because I clearly don’t deserve them. I finished college in three years because I thought I’d run out of money. I finished the seminary and Ph.D. program at Duke University and then I got my law degree at Harvard — oh and $130,000 in debt. Then I came to Oz: Houston. I’d never seen a more beautiful city. I practiced law here at Vinson & Elinks, then Mayor Bob Lanier made me Houston City Attorney, and that’s when I saw the real opportunities we had to keep this a robust and magical place to live. But we have some serious economic challenges coming, and we need to prepare for them. But we can’t get there by hiding the truth, Mayor Parker. We’ll talk soon.”
First of all, I don’t like the whole “I don’t deserve them” line. Dr Hall is a lot of things, but humble is not one of them. This isn’t a fault in and of itself, as most politicians tend to have large egos. But do not pretend you are something you’re not, it rubs me the wrong way. Next, the Oz line was painfully corny.
All of these errors in the advertisement, though, are venial offenses. It is a good quality video that will be sure to give him some much needed publicity, something he desperately needs.
However, if I were in Dr Hall’s campaign, I would have done things a little bit different. He made a mistake by refusing to choose what type of advertisement he wanted to play: an introduction or an attack ad. The introductory segment of his video was stellar. As I have noted before, Ben Hall’s origins and story as possibly his greatest asset in a campaign. At first, I thought the entire video would just be a friendly introduction, like Gene Locke’s first video from 2009. However, as I noted above, Hall becomes quite confrontational near the end of the video.
Hall made a huge mistake in simply foreshadowing the possible debate in the future. Especially in a low interest election like a non-open Mayoral election, far fewer people will specifically go out of their ways to watch a debate (even a televised one), than simply find one’s self stumbling across a Ben Hall for Mayor ad either on television or YouTube.
The Houston Chronicle also reported some further details on the development. Mike Morris specifically asked Hall’s campaign what she is allegedly concealing, while also asking Parker’s campaign for comment. He got two answers:
Hall campaign spokesman Mark Sanders responded with the following list: “1. Parker has no forward looking vision for closing Houston’s budget gaps; 2. We cannot continue to balance city budgets by forcing higher fees on Houston’s businesses; 3. New business requires new infrastructure. We can’t keep putting Band-Aids on an aging and outdated system; 4. Our looming pension liabilities are real. What is Parker doing to address them before it is too late?”
Parker campaign spokeswoman Sue Davis adding her own parting shot, referencing Hall’s previous residency in Piney Point Village: “Mr. Hall has not lived or voted in Houston for 11 years. When Houston was hurting in the recession, Hall offered no vision, no ideas and no leadership. When things got tough, Mayor Parker changed the way our city does business, and now we’re creating more jobs than anywhere in America. So now that things are good, Ben Hall says he wants to be mayor of our city. He just didn’t want to live in it.”
Both very broad comments with few-to-no specific statements. For what it is worth, this video just hit YouTube a few hours ago with the title of “TV AD,” and I have not exactly seen it on the airwaves,
nor heard of anyone who has. I will update when I can confirm that. Further, I wonder when this means Parker will go on television?
UPDATE: Per a comment from the esteemed Noel Freeman, I have heard that the commercial is indeed makes rounds on the airwaves.