Moveon.org's Opening Ad Against McCain Rough. But Not as Rough As It Will Get.

Posted by: David Kiley on June 18, 2008

Much is being debated about whether the new anti-McCain ad produced by moveon.org has gone too far. Pundits as diverse as Bill O’Reilly and NBC’s Chuck Todd have said it does.

Let’s look at the basic strategy here, which is to object to McCain’s policy of staying in Iraq for “100 years” as long as the military isn’t taking casualties. Opponents of McCain have just stressed the “100 year” part. Other have pointed out that the prospect of a major military contingent sitting in Iraq without taking casualties is pretty remote.

But is a picture of a Mother telling John McCain that he can’t have her baby to send to Iraq out of bounds and unfair?

The purpose of most political ads is to target a position of your opponent in the most emotional and engaging way possible. People who pull for McCain, and support the Iraq occupation, will naturally say that it is unfair. Dems will say it is fair.

But how about rating it as a piece of advertising. It has had the desired effect of getting picked up by most of the TV stations and blogs as a piece of “news” to discuss. Moveon.org is a 527. Though we haven’t really seen the 527 output against Obama, it is coming. One of the reasons we haven’t seen much yet is because Obama only secured the presumptive nomination two weeks ago. Also, the GOP is not raising as much money as the Dems, so they are keeping powder dry for a while. But that will change.

The anti-Obama forces have been pushing e-mails and blog postings that Obama is a Muslim, was schooled at a Muslim school, etc. Some state Republican parties have created ads that have gotten a bunch of free TV airtime featuring footage of Reverend Wright raving in one of his sermons. www.exposeobama.com created this ad, which pins murders of kids in Chicago on Obama, who voted against a bill in Illinois that would have given the death penalty to gang-related murderers.

Tis the season to discredit the other guy. This is www.moveon.org’s opening salvo.

Unseemly and rough? Yes. Over the top? No way. It has people talking, and that is the point.

Reader Comments

Krishnan

June 18, 2008 12:59 PM

Moveon.org really screwed the pooch on this one. As a Democrat and by-default Obama supporter, they are misconstruing McCain's words and cheapening the national debate further. I find similar offense to people harping on Obama's stance on diplomatic meetings with Middle East leaders. Moveon.org spent $500,000 on this ad, when they could have used it on voting outreach or other worthy causes. There is one thing to ardently support a candidate, and it's another situation when you lower your standards to do a political hit job losing credibility among likely voters.

James

June 19, 2008 12:20 AM

This is not Obama's doing, so I don't see the big deal overall. We know there will be cheap shots (i.e. Barack HUSSIEN Obama), but in the end I believe people are smart enough to see through these types of ads.

By the way, these were the words of McCain, no foul here...

random

June 20, 2008 11:57 AM

In 2006, the amount of ads that were underhanded, untrue, invoked sentiments of racism, sexism and good old-fashioned scare-mongering actually managed to scare me into wondering if we really want people who lie to us, put us in danger and then threaten us with terrorism and other unspeakable ills if we don't elect them, to run this country.

I doubt that the GOP will succeed with their "Obama is a Muslim terrorist in disguise" campaign. It sounds so hateful and xenophobic, and seems more like something David Icke or Jim Marrs would write in one of their immense conspiracy theorist tomes. It's as if the GOP has overdosed on its own hate and is now descended into the desperate realm of conspiracies. I'm just waiting for an ominous reference to the Shriners and the Freemasons to appear.

Inaru

June 21, 2008 8:25 AM

This ad moved me, reminded me of becoming a mom right after our decade - half of my conscious life - in VietNam, and the dread that my son would be vulnerable to another draft. Now a young woman who has seen more of the Iraq war than the war in Afghanistan, and hears threats of at least one more war, in Iran, maybe Venezuela, looks at her son and worries. To sacrifice your child so someone else can get rich in oil, what could be a worse thought for a mom? I think we've reason to worry, the oil and arms magnates are just getting started.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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