Thursday, May 30, 2013

Behind the Ad: Republicans can't help going too far

By Richard K. Barry

Who: Mitch McConnell Senate campaign

Where: Kentucky

What's going on: The GOP is going to make good use of the IRS "scandal" in the next election cycle. We can be sure of that. Democrats can talk about the political activities of Tea Party groups and how appropriate it might have been to target them. But, on the face of it, the IRS issue will play well as a campaign theme for Republicans. It just looks bad.

But Republicans always overreach as they did in this ad. 


[I]t's the message in the closing seconds that arguably matters most: as the video ends, and viewers see the words "Intimidation. Retaliation. Secretive" on screen, we hear the president say, "We're going to punish our enemies and reward our friends."

The problem is that McConnell is taking President Obama's words completely out of context. 

Jamelle Bouie (The Plum Line):

But this is an out-of-context quote, pulled from a comment made more than two years ago in an interview with Univision radio. “If Latinos sit out the election instead of, ‘we’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us’ – if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder,” Obama said in that interview. McConnell’s use of the quote is the dishonest capstone to an intensely dishonest piece of political rhetoric.

The ad is dishonest in the way that it uses this mini-scandal to paint Obama as a monster. They just can't help themselves, though, as they move from character assassination based on innuendo to a full out fabrication. 

They don't know how not to go too far.

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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