Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Swift Boat the Swift Boaters

You can bet that the folks behind the "Swift Boat" attacks on John Kerry, and their erstwhile imitators, will be back in full force this electoral season to go after the Democratic nominee, whoever that is.

Indeed, the current issue of Newsweek has a story on how Sen. Barack Obama is prepared to respond rapidly to any Swift Boat style attacks on him if he is the Democratic standard-bearer, as looks increasingly likely. [This morning Obama's delegate lead was up to 142--its largest yet--in advance of the Pa. primary where Hillary will no doubt close the gap just a bit.]

Newsweek reports that various members of the vast right-wing conspiracy are already hard at work dreaming up "independent" ad campaigns against the Illinois Senator (and yes, the left is also planning such attacks on John McCain), who they expect to be the nominee. Obama's campaign people say they'll repel such attacks with a "rapid-response" force, unlike John Kerry who tried ignoring the Swift Boat ads until it was too late.

At present, likely sources of ammo for a swifting of Obama include his ties to indicted Chicago developer Antoin Rezko and '60's radical William Ayers. We're not so sure "rapid-response" will be enough.

Here's what Obama's (or Hillary's, if nominated) team should do when these attacks invariably launch: swiftboat the swiftboaters. Instead of responding on the issue raised--which only gives it more airplay--expose the folks behind the ads. These are all shadowy Republican operatives with sleazy pasts and ugly agendas. If the voters learn more about those behind the slick ads, they are likely to be repulsed. There may even be a backlash effect.
Something like this should work: "Hi, I'm Senator Barack Obama and I'm running for President because we need change in our political system. Some people don't like change. Recently, you may have seen a television ad like this (showing a still image from an attack ad). What you won't see is anything about the people who paid for it and why they don't want change."

"Let me tell you about these people. This ad was paid for by a group called 'Citizens United' [or whoever it is]. Citizens United is not about uniting the citizens of our great nation for change. It is a very small group of very rich people, most of whom insist on being anonymous, who like things just the way they are. One of the leaders of this group is a man named David Bossie [here, show a grainy black and white of Bossie, just like in the swifting ads]. Although Mr. Bossie is a conservative, his tactics are so repulsive that former President George Bush urged Republicans not to support his group and even filed a complaint against him with the Federal Election Commission. Bossie was fired from one job for leaking misleading and inaccurate information."
[Our facts on Bossie are from his Wikipedia entry.]

"Although we live in a free and open society, you won't be able to find out who funds Bossie's group because these shadowy figures don't want you to know who they are."

"Are these the types of people you want to rely upon for your information on who to vote for in this important election? It is precisely because of these secretive individuals who try to influence our election system that I'm running for change."

[The segue into something positive.]

THAT'S the way to go after the putative swiftboaters.

No comments: