Bush Goes Negative Today By "Willie Hortoning" Terrorism
Here we go. It’s “Rock-em, Sock-em” time! And if you are Hispanic or of Middle Eastern descent, why wouldn't you think this is just another Willie Horton ad, updated for the post 9/11 world? As both The New Republic and Daily Kos have noted, the first Bush-approved ads to appear have an obvious undertone to them: they link John Kerry's alleged weakness on terrorism and national security to images of Hispanic or Arab terrorists.
It’s amazing what tanking poll numbers and running behind in key swing states and only even in your own “red” states will do to your campaign strategy. A day after the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that Bush has fallen into the poll’s first-ever tie with Kerry, Bush launched negative ads this afternoon himself. The ads aren’t using surrogates and come from Bush directly, and go after Kerry for allegedly wanting to raise taxes for health care and for being weak on national security based on unspecified charges.
Kerry has already got his first counter-ad ready to go entitled “Misleading America” that will accuse Bush by name of distorting Kerry’s record.
Bring it. Let’s go. If they want to turn the dogs loose this early and begin burning their cash with negative ads from Bush directly, then everything is on the table, and his (lack of) credibility, 9/11 avoidance, WMD lies, budget and job growth lies are all fair game. If you are going to raise the issue of national security weakness and preparedness against your opponent, then Bush will now have to accept what comes back against him on 9/11, Iraq, and homeland security.
And oh by the way, for a campaign that was complaining about the negative tone and national security charges made by Kerry late last week, and was demanding an apology as late as this morning, they sure were ready with these ads weren’t they?
All of which means that they had this stuff ready to go several days or even more than a week ago, while they themselves were trying to claim the high ground.
The lesson: don’t trust them on anything and hit them hard and directly. Start now.
Of course, you need something Mr. Bush to distract folks from the tanking market, which has lost a lot over the last several days due to security fears and concerns that the recovery has stalled.
Sure, to his base, Bush will only care if this ad riles them up some more. But if they have decided to Willie Horton the issue of terrorism, then this opens up possible problems with groups that Rove was counting on appealing to this fall.