Rick Perry has finally broken through in one respect. His new campaign ad, titled “Strong,” has spawned a virtual cottage industry of parodies, homages and condemnations on the Web.
Perry’s ad, which conflates gays and lesbians being allowed to serve openly in the military with the celebration of Christmas, has become something of an overnight sensation, but not always in a good way.
By Monday, it had generated more than 650,000 “dislikes” on YouTube, making it the most unpopular video on the site, compared with almost 20,000 "likes." It also had been watched almost 5 million times and had proved so provocative that viewers could no longer post comments adjacent to the video.
But Perry was never trying to win over the land of kitten stunts and teenage bedroom confessionals. (Polls have shown that a majority of "millenials" -- those aged 18 to 29 -- favor gay rights and same-sex marriage.) His spot is aimed directly at the social conservatives in Iowa who could help revive his flagging presidential campaign.
“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know there’s something wrong with this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in schools,” the candidate says in his familiar drawl while he strides up a grassy hill wearing a brown barn jacket.