Monday, June 23, 2008

MoveOn.Org's "Baby Alex" Ad: A gift or a liability?

The "Baby Alex" ad, shown below, is going to get a lot of attention (and probably has already - this morning I have been on an airplane and working, and unable to check the blogosphere).

First watch the ad. Then I have a few comments that may be just a bit contrarian.

Dennis Prager said this morning that this ad is a gift to Republicans. Maybe, maybe not; I am not so sure. The "Alex" ad is both dishonest and simple -- simply dishonest, I guess -- as Bill Kristol points out.

But in today's political climate, dishonest and simple are a potent combination, especially where the war is concerned. The "Baby Alex" ad's message is:
We do not want any more beloved sons to grow up and be killed or hurt in Iraq. John McCain doesn't care about that.
This is a classic "motherhood and apple pie" argument combined with a lie. Of course the ad is disgustingly dishonest in its utterly false and misleading reference to McCain's "100 years" statement. But how many viewers will see that? Only the well-informed who already lean toward McCain.

I think the ad is trouble for the GOP. The only effective response will be to loudly and repeatedly expose its dishonesty, which I am sure is happening on talk radio and on the blogosphere. But again, the folks who get their information from those sources are not the ones who need to be convinced. Still, it is possible to make the ad radioactive the way the "General Betray Us" ad was neutralized last fall.

If Senator Obama senses that the ad might become a liability (and I hope it does) my guess is he will triangulate, saying he does not agree with the ad but he can understand the feelings of those who do. (Shades of Bill Clinton!)

But we can always hope that someone from the MSM will ask Obama about the "Baby Alex" ad on the record and that Obama embraces it. The resulting news media attention should ensure that the ad's sliminess will be widely exposed. Then may be Dennis Prager will turn out to be right -- "Alex" will be a gift to the GOP.

Update from The Kosher Hedgehog, 6/26/2008--Response to Alex's Mom: Jeff Jacoby, the lonely conservative voice at The Boston Globe, has penned what would be an eloquent response from the mouth of Senator McCain. I believe Jacoby has not only accurately captured McCain's sentiments, but his voice as well. Read it here.


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