When Will Hurd ran for Congress in 2010, his message involved less heavy petting with automobiles and instead emphasized his background in the CIA.
According to the 2010 ad, "With the steely resolve he learned in the CIA, Will Hurd will take on reckless government spending and an extreme liberal agenda."
We see a different, less "steely" Will Hurd in his Shirley Marie spotlight: one that is affectionate even toward the most humble of automobiles.
I watched the ad for the first time with low expectations. Political ads are cheesy and always somewhat ridiculous. As long as they aren't offensive, then hey, do your thing.
But Will Hurd's commercial is awkward and bizarre enough to make anyone raise an eyebrow. As if introducing a girlfriend to his family, Hurd smiles sweetly and tells the camera, "I want to introduce you to a really good friend of mine, Shirley Marie."
The rest of the ad consists of Hurd patting the car, driving the car, holding a gas can and a bottle of motor oil around the car. In fact, the only thing that Hurd doesn't do is wash the car, which becomes evident in a shot of Shirley Marie's back windshield that has "HELLO" written in the dust.
At the end of the ad, Hurd leans out of the 4Runner's window to ask for campaign donations. "You can follow our travels and even throw in a couple bucks for gas," he says, "because Old Shirley Marie—she ain't a hybrid."
Cue Will and Shirley Marie disappearing into a cloud of smog. We see what you're doing here, buddy. Dial it back.
The new Hurd for Congress ad seems to be an attempt to distance the candidate from his big-government CIA ties, making him a more approachable candidate for Tea Party voters.
But to me, the affection reminds me of some airtight conservative logic: If we legalize gay marriage, soon people will be gay-marrying their dogs, their lamps... even their Shirley Maries.
Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.