October 23, 2004
DANCES WITH WOLVES (David Hill, The Bronx):
In Ad Battle, GOP Unleashes Wolves, Democrats Use Ostrich (Howard Kurtz, October 23, 2004, Washington Post)
By the time the dust settled, Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, had called the ad "despicable and contemptible," and the Democratic National Committee had rushed out an ad likening Bush to an ostrich.
Bush strategists tested the wolves ad with voters five months ago and, after receiving one of the most powerful reactions drawn by any of their commercials, decided to hold it until the campaign's final days. [...]
"Like the ostrich featured in our new ad," DNC Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said, "George W. Bush has got his head buried in the sand."
As David wonders, who at the Kerry campaign thinks that George Bush is understating the terror threat?
When Is a Cut Not a Cut?: When it's a con. Bush's deceptive new ad. (Fred Kaplan, Oct. 22, 2004, Slate)
Have you seen George W. Bush's latest campaign ad—the one with the wolves? A shaky hand-held camera moves through a forest at twilight. Suddenly a wolf darts across the screen, then another, until finally we see a whole pack of wolves, rising from their slumber to come get us. Over a soundtrack of rustling leaves and spooky music, the narrator—a breathy woman—says:
In an increasingly dangerous world, even after the first terrorist attack on America, John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America's intelligence operations. By $6 billion. Cuts so deep, they would have weakened America's defenses. And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.
The key phrase here is "after the first terrorist attack on America." At first viewing, I took this as a reference to the aftermath of 9/11. (Millions of other viewers probably did, too; no doubt the scriptwriters meant us to make the connection.) This puzzled me, because nobody proposed cutting intelligence after 9/11. On second viewing, though, I realized that the phrase was a veiled reference to the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
Once this is clarified, the rest becomes plain. The Bush campaign appears to be repeating a falsehood that the Republican National Committee first propagated last March. We've been through this before, but now, with the "Wolves" ad, it's worth reciting again.
In 1995, several legislators, among them Sen. Kerry, did introduce amendments to cut the intelligence budget by $1 billion to $1.5 billion, which, spread out over several years, could have added up to $6 billion.
But these were not cuts in the sense that the term is usually understood.
Well, that's joyfully disingenuous. The Senator was right in policy terms to advocate intelligence cuts--even closing the CIA would have made sense--it just happens not to be politically defensible after 9-11. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2004 1:20 PM