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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whistles Along The Low Road Express?

The NY Times blog discusses Not The One's new ad:

Do Mr. McCain’s strategists actually think they can win the White House by whining incessantly about how popular their opponent is? What sort of message is that?

“Vote for McCain. Nobody Likes Him.”

The WSJ's Washington Wire gives this interpretation:

McCain Ad: Celebrity (Obama) vs. Hero (McCain), Washington Wire: The McCain campaign tried to turn Barack Obama’s fame against him Wednesday with a new advertisement slamming his “celebrity” status.

The 30-second spot ... is the first campaign-created ad to feature footage from Obama’s appearance in Germany... On top of chanting as the soundtrack and video from the rally with a crowd of 200,000, the spot includes flashes of actual celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

The ad’s female narrator asks, “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead?” ...

Senior adviser Steve Schmidt, who runs the day-to-day operations of the campaign, chimed in with this swift punch: “Do the American people want to elect the world’s biggest celebrity or do they want to elect an American hero, somebody who is a leader, somebody who has the right ideas to deal in a serious way with the problems we face?” ...

The Obama campaign responded Wednesday to both the ad and the recent attacks. “On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another”...

As noted above, the ad includes Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Why? Of all the celebrities they could have chosen, why these two? According to the NY Times blog:

This ad, which smacks of desperation, would be bad enough it could be dismissed as mere silly schoolyard name-calling.

But it has more sinister overtones, a ham-handed attempt to belittle Mr. Obama as a person that brings back unpleasant memories of the racist campaign run by the Republican Senate campaign committee against Harold Ford in Tennessee in 2006.

The low point of that campaign was the “Fancy Ford” website, where the Republicans showed pictures of Mr. Ford, along with expensive restaurants, high-end cigars and Playboy bunnies, all of whom were white. (Nudge. Nudge. Say no more.).

What’s next?

They call the campaign "The Low Road Express." That's too kind. [Update: See also ...Dana Milbank Calls Barack Obama 'Uppity'... for another facet of the latest attack. Also.]

Is it wrong to interpret this ad as dog whistle politics?

    Posted by on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 03:06 PM in Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (14)


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