Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ad watch: stop scaring and start caring

Well, there’s two weeks left in the presidential race and you know what that means: crunch time. Each side wants to talk about its own issues, but the GOP has done a great job about making this election about one issue: Terrorism/Iraq (they would say Iraq is part of terrorism, but then again, they aren’t members of the Reality-Based Community)

Kerry has tried to change the subject to lots of topics, chief among them: Medicare and Social Security. Why? Older people vote in droves. If young folks voted the way old folks do, these two would be tripping over themselves to make college more affordable and make pizza tax deductible (maybe even Madden 200x). Kerry’s latest ad uses an assembled quote from Ron Suskind’s recent NY Times Magazine article that Bush is planning on “privatizing” social security in his second term. The ad also notes that Bush raised Medicare premiums and wants to raise them even higher (I don’t know where he gets the 45% number). In stealth response, the Bush’s Social Security Administration announced that it will raise the money in checks 2.7%, starting in January.

I am sorry but I thought the Democrats learned from 2002 that you can’t just bribe and scare seniors about this stuff. I guess Shrum didn’t learn, nor did ex-NH gov. Shaheen, who’s Kerry’s campaign co-chair and lost on this issue 2 year ago in her bid for the Senate. It is a bad and easily dismissed tactic in my view. Who knows, maybe it moves numbers like you wouldn’t believe, but I just think it is wrong.

Kerry’s 527 supporters have some really gripping ads with Iraqi war veterans or their moms (for the dead/in Iraq ones). And it truly seems that most people just care about the Iraq/Terrorism issue first before they care about anything else. Kerry actually beat Bush on this pretty effectively in the first debate, so why can’t he stick with it? The base. They want him to talk about their issues: labor wants to talk about health care, the CBC wants to talk about jobs, seniors want to talk about SS and Medicare.

Meanwhile, Bush put out a scorcher of an ad about “Kerry and his liberal allies in congress” saying that if Kerry was in charge, the terrorists would have won already. They point to a couple votes and say he undermined the war on terror and the troops. Plus, there are enough 9/11 references, in the words of the Simpson’s type-writing monkey to make “Santa Claus vomit with rage.”

Bush’s 527 supporters do the 9/11 bit repetitively. I can’t get it to work, but I hear "Ashley’s Story" is mindblower. They do a good job of making Bush seem truly caring and compassionate, not the jerk who pantomimes a woman he is going to summarily execute.

In response, Kerry has a great ad with a 9/11 widow (who have as much credibility as the Pope at the height of the Catholic Church’s powers) who voted, as did her dead husband, for George Bush, but this year she is voting for Kerry for her daughter’s sake—to keep the little girl safe. Wow, they had that one in the “in case of emergency break glass” box. It’s a real tear jerker. I don’t know what Bush can say to that, other than find another 9/11 window.

I hope it doesn’t come down to how many 9/11 widows/widowers you have supporting you. That would debase the event beyond the pale. Oh and I like Kerry's flu ad. This is a sleeper issue for seniors and security/soccer moms.

All this is causing Rove to weep, as seen here:

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