The Existential Horror of David Dewhurst’s New Ad Blitz

by Published on
Can you hear us in there, Dewhurst woman?
Screenshot
Can you hear us in there, Dewhurst woman?

When Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst first went negative against his opponent state Sen. Dan Patrick, he did so with a somewhat strange ad that featured a young woman staring glumly at the camera over an oddly-held cup of coffee.

“It’s a struggle, but I pay my bills,” said the woman, sunk in an aging green armchair. “So why can’t millionaire Dan Patrick?” Then a voiceover related salient details from Patrick’s background: He had changed his name, and he had declared bankruptcy to write off some substantial debts. “If we can’t trust him to run his own business honestly,” the nameless everywoman concluded, looking more irate every second, “how can we ever trust him to run the state honestly?”

The ad received a lot of negative attention, in part because Dewhurst’s contention that Patrick changed his name to escape debts wasn’t, you know, true, and because Dewhurst has had debt trouble of his own.

But this morning, the woman returned. And her appearance raises many more questions than it answers. Instead of a glum woman in a dark room with a coffee cup, she’s been transformed into a perky millennial in an IKEA-styled living room ready to dish out snark Dan’s way.

Even stranger—she thinks Dan’s anger over the ad was directed at her. As in, her personally.

“I’m literally shocked,” she intones, throwing her hands up in the air. “Dan Patrick or Dannie Goeb or whatever he’s calling himself today now is attacking me in his latest false ad. Unfortunately for him,” she continues, millennial-ly, “there’s something called the internet.”

Some campaign ads feature actors posing as real people, but the Dewhurst woman isn’t really pretending to be a real person—the ad doesn’t even offer her name. She’s clearly an actress playing a character. A character which is breaking the fourth wall and appears to have gained sentience and an awareness of life outside her attack ads. It’s incredibly odd—it’s unusual, to say the least, for a campaign to create characters that experience a continuity of existence from attack ad to attack ad.

Questions abound. Is she trapped in there? What is the internal life of this character like? Why does she hate Patrick so much? Why does she suffer from such dramatic mood swings? Why are the different rooms of her house decorated so differently? Why does she think Patrick is attacking her, and not the candidate she’s flacking for?

An enhanced image of the Dewhurst woman's picture frames.
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An enhanced image of the Dewhurst woman’s picture frames. (Click for a larger version.)

Is she lonely? A careful analysis of the two picture frames on her shelf—the only evidence of life, other than the woman herself, in this nightmare universe of Dewhurst attack ads—shows what might be a cat or dog, licking itself, or sleeping. The other frame is too blurry to make out. Is that the grim visage of a skull in the top half, draped in red? Is it a clue to the Dewhurst woman’s origins?

Much like TV’s Lost, I have a feeling that the questions raised won’t be given satisfactory treatment by the series finale, the May 27 runoff. But I hope we see the Dewhurst woman again. Maybe she’ll get a spin-off. Maybe she can get work displaying the emotions of shock and disgust for Sid Miller’s campaign.

If the Kafkaesque plight of Dewhurst woman isn’t your thing, the Dew dropped another ad today—this one operating on the principles of the naturalist, slow-paced documentaries of, say, Werner Herzog. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who recently accused Patrick of being a draft dodger, sat to do a web ad for Dewhurst. The first half of the two-minute ad is just Patterson talking about his guns, at what seems to be his kitchen table, before he switches to tough talk on Patrick. It’s oddly hypnotic.

Meanwhile, remember that ad Dew’s team ran that used pictures of Patrick shirtless at what turned out to be a charity event for disabled children? Dewhurst got major blowback, and told people he’d pull the offending parts of the ad. But it’s still running, nearly two weeks later. Here’s a version of it on Dewhurst’s YouTube page.

Two weeks to go.

  • Asher B. Garber

    Who says all the great comedy comes from the Hollywood liberal elite?

  • not_Bridget

    Why can’t I get an “R” chip for my TV? If I promise I will never vote in a Republican Primary or Runoff, why must I be forced to watch this stuff?

    Although the writer managed to get a pretty good article out of the latest ad…

    • 1bimbo

      you should move to another state, that’ll do it

      • fatibel

        You first.

      • ladybugmom

        yep, I’m thinking San Fran.

  • Dan Keshet

    Those are clearly two cats in her picture frames. If you can’t even relate what’s in your own images, how can the people of Texas trust you to relate the facts?

    • Christopher Hooks

      I just don’t see it. But I trust the judgement of the public.

      I announce my resignation, effective immediately.

    • 1bimbo

      apparently texOb h8s women and cats. just take a look at their writers, just two dog-luvin’ white men. where’s the diversity!

  • Barry

    I’ve been trying to find out who that gal is just to know who has annoyed me greatly. Dewhurst’s ads are gross, and I wouldn’t vote for the guy on principle alone given the kind of freakshow he approves of.

    I can’t wait until the campaign is over so that the Millennial cat-lady and her weird-looking face can disappear from the airwaves.

    • ladybugmom

      What’s even more cowardly on Dewhurst’s part is, he doesn’t feature EITHER ad on his own facebook page. He knows he’ll be torn to shreds.

  • 1bimbo

    Dewhurst 2014!!

  • ladybugmom

    This is the best article I’ve read in…well, a long time. That’s probably because either myself or my husband could have written every single word. Honestly–what is with this girl?! We nearly snurgled our coffee when we saw the ad. It’s fabulous in its desperation. I hope to God Patrick beats Dewhurst so absolutely that the State of Texas looks at Dewhurst and tells him he will need to turn in his TX identification. Holy crap.

  • Mr. EMT

    they can eat each other for all i care. Best man for the job was Patterson, now we are stuck between dumb dumber and dumbest.
    No, i wont vote for dewhurst unless he somehow survives to extort my vote by threatening to be replaced with a democrat.
    However, I trust dan…whatever his name is, as far as i can throw him too.

  • Mr. EMT

    oh and seriously… author citing politifact? You made me laugh.

    • 1bimbo

      you mean politicrap

  • ricktenny

    Wow we’re off and running again. Raise the tent and usher in the ringmasters. As a kid growing up I enjoyed the unique privilege of being raised by two parents in the newspaper business. Dinner time was always filled with conversations of candidates, their screw-ups and rare good deeds. When I was fourteen or so I began to spout off my fourteen year old wisdom, usually based on something I saw in an ad or overheard in adult conversation. During one event based on wisdom I had gained from an add I read, my father reached for a recent copy of the paper and instructed me to look at it without reading it and tell him what I saw the most of. I was baffled. He then answered the question for me, it’s add copy. The magic number is 65%. That is the minimum. Anything less and the issue loses money. Anything more is profit. The other 35% or less, the stories, are there to get you to buy the paper and read the adds. If the stories are boring, you won’t buy the paper and see the adds. Get it? Yes sir. So do you want to look again? He then went on and added, oh by the way the stuff you see on television is even worse. At least if it is printed in the paper they can’t say it didn’t happen, or you only thought you heard it. It was 1959. The only thing that has changed is the news and paid advertising has gotten far far worse. Network news and newspapers for the most part, are owned by giant conglomerates or wealthy individuals. The media they control is their tool to advance their own philosophy and fortunes. As readers or listeners we can’t trust anything. If it’s big enough to get on TV or into a major area newspaper you can bet your last dollar that someone is pushing an agenda. Kind of sad, but true. You have to ask yourself, what is it about politics that men and women will go to such extremes to gain a seat.
    The only way we can break this foolish cycle is to make political service that. Service. It’s just that simple. Take away the career in public service. The only thing being serviced is the people. Term Limits. Read the Constitution. It gives all of the power to the People. The only power the government has is the power we give it. Take it away and this circus we are about to be treated to will go away. When you vote, vote out incumbents. Vote for the most qualified new guy. Give him two terms and if he hasn’t instituted term limits for himself, do it for him. Vote in the next new guy. Start paying attention. Get your facts from the record! Dig a little. Find out for yourself what you need to know. Don’t trust newspapers or TV. If you do. If your to lazy to find the facts, then you become the sheep. While your being fleeced and lead off to the slaughter, you have no one to blame but……

    • 1bimbo

      geez, one person actually read your wall of text

  • irrefudiate

    Jerry’s little homily finally got to the accusation part after his gun demo. “If you want to move it (Texas) towards blue, vote for Dan. It’s just that simple.” Well, there you go, then, Dan’s the man!

    • 1bimbo

      ha! that’s laughable. ain’t nothing ‘blue’ about either branch or paxton.. both men are uber-conservative red-blooded texans.. difference is branch is more qualified, paxton is more teaparty.. take your pick

  • Dianne

    “Literally”, she is literally shocked? Why isn’t her hair standing up? I hate this time of year because of the torrent of political ads and because of all the slime slinging.