Recalling the Maharishi and Carville's Killer Ad

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WITH his high-pitched giggle and his gentle ways, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is not someone you would expect to be used as a blunt-force weapon in a political campaign.

But, used he was, to great effectiveness, in Pennsylvania in 1986. The story is this.

The Maharishi, who died last Tuesday, was the man who introduced transcendental meditation to the West. The Beatles were his most famous disciples, but another was William W. Scranton 3d, who went to Europe in 1970 to study TM....

The TV spot [created by James Carville] featured sitar music, pictures of the young, long-haired Mr. Scranton, a mug-shot like photo of the long-haired, bearded Maharishi and a sneering mention of transcendental meditation. Though the exact words were never used, the message was clear: Mr. Scranton is a weirdo!

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