[W]hen I was chatting this morning with a friend who works in Democratic campaign politics. We commiserated over the fact that Obama has become efficient in responding to the constant barrage of deceptive attacks from the McCain campaign, but doesn't launch deceptive attacks of his own against the McCain campaign.
My friend asked me what Atwater/Rove/Schmidt would do if they worked for Obama. What kind of attacks would they make against McCain? It got me thinking.
My first ad would probably be pretty straightforward: John McCain wants to cut off all U.S. aid to Israel.
He's referring to Holtz-Eakins using the Congressional Research Service's list of 65 billion dollars of earmarks, as Think Progress pointed out last month includes all aid to Israel, which is roughly ten percent of the total. Once this was pointed out to the McCain campaign, they backed away.
Steve's point is that this would make an attack ad similar to the McCain attack ads--false, obviously false, but with a basis in reality. As many people have pointed out, once you start explaining, you're losing. I happen to disagree with Steve on the notion that there is any basis in reality for the sex education ad, but his point is clear. It would be a dishonest ad, but it would be effective, and force McCain on the defensive.
I would approach this differently. I'd run an ad saying that the earmark veto promise is, like all other McCain promised, just a slogan, using this as an example. (Whenever an actual earmark comes up, McCain invariably says that he would keep that one. This usually happens when he poses in front of some local landmark that turns out to be the result of an earmark. )
But then pivot, and say that McCain wants to talk about bridges because he doesn't want to talk about the real things that affect people's lives. Because he doesn't care about you or your family.