Daisy Ad Resurrected To Urge Passage Of START Treaty

A religious group calling itself the American Values Network has gone back into the annals of political history to advocate for the passage of the START Treaty currently pending before the Senate:

Riffing off Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “daisy ad” — the one where Johnson said the world would end if voters opted for Barry Goldwater — an innocent girl dies in a nuclear holocaust, all because obstinate Republican senators didn’t pass the administration’s treaty in the lame-duck Senate session. If only there had been U.S. nuclear inspectors on the ground in Russia, we could have averted this world-ending fate.

Here’s the video:

As Spencer Ackerman notes, however, even the new START Treaty won’t do what this group claims is necessary:

even under New START, the U.S. still won’t be able to catalog every Russian warhead, so it’s not as if the loose-nuke problem resolves itself when the inspectors return. It’s true that on-the-ground inspectors provide more precision in understanding the state of the Russian nuclear arsenal than satellites do. But the point of the video is to inspire fear, not persuade people on the merits of the treaty

And that is really what the ad is meant to do, of course, just like the original Daisy ad, which has become iconic even though it only actually aired on time. This time around, the AVN is apparently investing millions to run the ad on cable and on Christian radio stations. Whether the image of a little girl repeatedly getting incinerated in a nuclear holocaust will actually cause anyone to change their mind on the START treaty is another question.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the original Daisy ad:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Brett says:

    The original Daisy Ad still gives me a chill whenever I watch it. I can’t imagine what the impact might have been in the middle of the Cold War, without as much of a history of attack ads.