Upsetting
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
 
I thought Bush would do this. I thought he'd run ugly, dishonest ads questioning the patriotism of his Democratic opponents. That's what Republicans do in campaigns (see Saxby Chambliss vs. Max Cleland, 2002). That's what the Bushes do when they're running for President (George H.W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis, 1988). But I didn't think Bush would run red-baiting ads a year ahead of the election, before a single vote had been cast for any Democratic candidate.

That the RNC has launched this ad so prematurely may be a hopeful sign for the Democrats. It suggests that the Bush administration recognizes a deep vulnerability on Iraq and is getting panicky. When you're panicked, you can make mistakes that help the other side. That's what I think is happening here. With this spot, Bush and the RNC insult the integrity of anyone who has qualms about the war—and the intelligence of everyone else. According the ad, believing that the invasion of Iraq was not central to the war on terrorism is equivalent to "attacking the President for attacking the terrorists." Arguing that we should occupy Iraq with more support from our allies or the United Nations makes you one of those who "call for us to RETREAT putting our national security in the hands of OTHERS." The scoundrels are seeking their last refuge before the first shot has been fired by a Democratic nominee.
 
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