Democrats Should Not Let USA Next Get Away With Smearing The AARP
(Thanks to Kos for the image)
As you have seen here and at other sites, the USA Next (USAN), a GOP front group formed to be a conservative attack group against the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), has brought aboard the same folks behind the Swift Boats Veterans campaign to run a negative campaign against the AARP and their support of Social Security. It didn’t take long for these slime balls to make their presence known. As you can see from the internet ad above which debuted on right wing websites yesterday, the USAN initially decided to smear the AARP for opposing Bush on Social Security privatization by claiming that the AARP is against the troops and in favor of gay marriage. I say "initially" because the folks at USAN have already withdrawn this sickening ad and pulled it from their site. Before this outrage dissipates however, I wanted to offer a few ideas on what the AARP, the DNC, and the Hill Democrats should do to make sure that any future smears by USAN become toxic for the White House and the GOP.
First, if he hasn’t done so already, AARP Chief Executive Officer Bill Novelli needs to call Karl Rove and demand that the White House condemn the ad and the tactics of the USAN. Of course Rove will not do this, and Novelli should tell Rove that failure to do this will be interpreted by the AARP as a sign that the White House supports and was a partner in this smear and in future smears.
Second, the AARP should do a press conference after the call to Rove for two reasons: first, they should show the despicable ad to the media and point out to what lengths Bush’s supporters will go to smear the AARP; secondly Novelli should reveal at the press conference that he has demanded the White House repudiate the ad and the USAN smear campaign, and has received no such repudiation from the White House. As a result, Novelli should tell the media that the AARP will assume the White House supports this smear.
Third, after this press conference, Howard Dean should have a press conference whereby he calls on Ken Mehlman at the RNC to repudiate the ad and the smear of the USAN by the end of the day. Dean can then also say that the DNC will be watching to see if the RNC does in fact repudiate this ad and smear, and if the RNC does not do so, the DNC will assume that the RNC plans to engage in the worst kind of politics to support the privatization of Social Security. Dean can then remind the media that such a smear seems amazing given that it was revealed just last week that the White House and RNC worked to get a gay prostitute past the White House security system into the press pool to participate in a disinformation campaign against the American people.
Fourth, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should hold press conferences later in the same day to call on Republicans in both the House and the Senate to repudiate the USAN ad and smear campaign. Reid and Pelosi can then say that failure by any of the House and Senate Republicans to do so will be interpreted by the Democrats as support for the USAN ad and smear campaign and as hostile to the AARP. Reid and Pelosi can then announce an effort to keep track of which GOP representatives and senators refuse to repudiate the USAN ad and smear campaign, and pointedly broadcast this to the media the rest of the week.
Lastly, knowing that the White House, RNC, and USAN will refuse to repudiate the ad, Novelli can arrange for an appearance at the National Press Club this Friday, whereupon he will summarize everything the AARP did the past week, the lack of response from the White House, the RNC, and USAN, as well as which Hill Republicans refused to repudiate the USAN ad and smear. Novelli can them expose who really is behind the USAN, the fact that USAN is nothing more than a fundraising front for the pharmaceutical industry and right wing interests, and then announce that the AARP will assume that all of these interests and Hill Republicans are hostile to the AARP and seniors. As a result, Novelli can them announce that the AARP will deal with those Hill Republicans at the ballot box next year in their states and districts.
And then starting next week, the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, the AFL-CIO, the Campaign for America’s Future, and the Center for American Progress can welcome the AARP, their new partner in the Social Security fight to the Truth Squad activities against the White House and GOP incumbents district by district. And it may help the Democrats or even the AARP to bring aboard a real political killer like Chris Lehane to run their opposition campaign against the USAN and Hill Republicans from here on out so that fire is met with fire.
This mistake by the USAN gives the AARP and the Democrats the perfect opportunity to jump on the throats of the White House, the RNC, the Hill Republicans, and the USAN with both feet. If the Republicans and their smear operators like Chris LaCivita want a war, then I say “bring it.” Let’s let them have it with both barrels and make the USAN toxic for the Republicans.
The point here is to take this ad and beat the White House over the head with it before Chris LaCivita can slither back to his hole, make the media forget about it, and do it again in a week or so. Making the USAN a pariah and calling them out for what they really are and exposing who is really behind them, while pointing out what the White House and its cronies on the Hill and at the RNC are willing to do to destroy the AARP will kill off not only the USAN but Bush's remaining privatization effort as well.