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So You Want to Be President?

As the author of the definitive guide to running for the Oval Office, So You Want to Be President? , John Warner knows at least as much about political campaigning as anyone else, which is to say, you should trust his opinion because it’s his own. He has a few hard and fast rules about politics, the hardest and fastest of which is that, put simply, negative political advertising works. As anyone who has stood in front of a high-speed fan while someone dumped a bucket of manure into the blades can tell you, shit sticks.

In observing the 2008 campaign, Mr. Warner has noticed that there’s a certain staleness to the current crop of negative advertisements. Hillary Clinton recently recycled Walter Mondale’s 1984 “Red Phone” ad in order to imply that Barack Obama’s a heavy sleeper who might let a crisis call go to voicemail. So, as a public, nonpartisan service, he’ll be creating a series of ready-to-produce scripts for negative political advertising that seek to freshen up the genre.

For illustration purposes, Mr. Warner will use a hypothetical opponent with a nondescript name, Herman Q. Asscrack. He’s a United States senator.