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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

John Dennis, Republican Challenger to Nancy Pelosi, Seeks YouTube Fame

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Will John Dennis be our next Congressman, or next YouTube laugh riot -- or both?
  • Will John Dennis be our next Congressman, or next YouTube laugh riot -- or both?
Harking to the analogies you probably last dealt with on the SAT, John Dennis is to Nancy Pelosi as squirrel is to highway-driving big rig.

The Republican Congressional candidate will not beat the Speaker of the House -- guaranteed. But he will have more entertaining YouTube commercials -- also guaranteed. Dennis -- described as wearing a "too-tight tux" -- was the subject of a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about longshot (read: no hope) candidates starring in utterly ridiculous web ads. The beefy San Francisco real estate investor is squeezed into formalwear in a James Bond parody. The Journal quotes him muttering how "this could go horribly wrong." But that depends upon your definition of "wrong."

If, by "wrong," you mean debasing races for higher office by producing videos that make old Crazy Eddie commercials look like fine cinema, then, yes, this is wrong.

But if you mean garnering metric shitloads of Internet hits and, perhaps, making a name for oneself down the road -- no, nothing wrong there. In fact, the director of Dennis' forthcoming ad -- which is not yet featured on YouTube or Dennis' site -- is Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.

You may not know Ehlinger by name, unless you're a fan of his work directing, producing, editing, writing, and starring in Hive Mind (synopsis: "The Last Man on Earth is a Conservative Talk Show Host, Fighting the Hive Mind with Half His Brain Tied Behind His Back").

On the other hand, Ehlinger created a bizarre Web ad for Dale Peterson -- in which the Republican candidate for Alabama agricultural commissioner channels R. Lee Ermey, brandishes a shotgun, and uses countrified expressions of extreme vitriol such as "give a rip." That ad has, to date, garnered nearly 1.8 million views on YouTube. But, it warrants mentioning, Peterson came third in the Republican primary and received 15 times as many YouTube hits as actual votes.

Whether his turn as a star in a Grade-Z political ad will improve his standing next time round remains to be seen -- as does the future for Dennis, who would hope to represent the GOP in the bluest section of a largely blue state.

But the San Francisco Republican's run for office hasn't been totally in vain. He did get his very own Wall Street Journal "hedcut" portrait (in which he is not wearing a too-tight tux)-- and that's something.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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