Ending On A High Note: The Political Jingle Lives In Arkansas

Nov 4, 2014

An image captured from President Eisenhower's 1952 jingle "I Like Ike."
Credit youtube.com

Amidst an unprecedented flurry of political ads the nearly abandoned political jingle carries on in Arkansas. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman takes a look at some of this year’s more lyrical campaign ads.

This story is best listened to because it’s about jingles but is also available in text below.

This election season a few political ads cut through the regular onslaught of negative spots, presenting a much different tone.

[music] “Karen Sealy Garcia, thirty years keeping track of money. Karen Sealy Garcia, thirty years and nothing funny.”

That radio ad was for the Democratic nominee for state treasurer, Karen Garcia.

Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford says in an era of record-breaking ad buys he thinks the jingle can stand out.

“People are just overwhelmed and just they’re just inundated with these heavy, negative commercials and the jingle offers a break from that,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford says the jingle has played an important part in Arkansas political history but its significance has declined to near obscurity in recent years. While the jingle is often heard as cheesy or a novel enjoyment even the most innocent sounding political jingles has generated some negative backlash.

[music] “Lackey Moody. The great representative for District 63, I love the man dearly, he is my daddy too.”

The Independence County Tea Party put out a radio spot of their own calling the jingle – sung by Democrat Lackey Moody’s 10 year old daughter “idiotic.”

Negative-vibes have also managed to infiltrate the jingles themselves this year. Garcia’s positive jingle campaign… [music] “Karen Sealy Garcia.”…also goes on the attack, against the GOP’s candidate for state Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

[music] “Dennis the menace Milligan fired good workers two days after Christmas. Dennis the menace Milligan cost us $90,000 bucks for all the fuss. Dennis the menace Milligan tried to blackmail a state rep. at a donut shop.”

Rutherford says a smattering of jingles this year is a bit unexpected, but the scope and impact doesn’t come close to the days of Jerry Lewis Russell, Jr. “Jerry Russell was a legend in Arkansas politics,” said Rutherford.

Russell was responsible for some of Arkansas’s more memorable lines such as “Pine a Rose on Me, I’m for Rosamond from a 1972 North Little Rock mayoral contest.

These days Rutherford says the place of the jingle has shifted.

“They developed in the process of name identification and getting your voter ID up. But in this election they’ve taken on a little different meaning which is they’re different. They’re completely different and they get your attention,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford says as in decades past, the jingle means the most in local elections. Batesville has two candidates for state legislative seats with a jingle, you heard Lackey Moody’s earlier. Here’s James McLean.

[music] “He’s the man we need to win it. James McLean, James McLean, James McLean.”

For now, it’s so-longto the political advertising, TV ads and jingles alike.