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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Wolf-Pack of Lies

Today’s big buzz in Washington is over BC04’s latest ad attack on John Kerry, an early Halloween treat called “Wolves.” You can check it out yourself, but the basic idea is to charge Kerry and “Congressional Liberals” of trying to gut intelligence funding “after the first terrorist attack on America” amidst footage of a pack of wolves in a murky forest. It’s not a hundred percent clear whether the wolves are supposed to represent terrorists or liberals, but I doubt the president’s wizards really care.
Opinions are mixed about the Scare Value of the spot. Bruce Reed watched it a couple of times and said, “I dunno. After a while those wolves start looking kind of cuddly.” Maybe they should have focused-tested it with some toddlers to make sure they didn’t point at the screen and gurgle “Doggie!”
But there’s no doubt that the content of the ad is unbelievably dishonest, as Josh Marshall explains in a recent post. The ad clearly intends to suggest that Kerry’s dastardly assault on terrorist-hunting spooks occurred after 9/11. Turns out the reference is to a vote in the mid-90s, after the first attack on the World Trade Center. And Kerry’s proposal was to take back some funding that intelligence agencies were refusing to spend, at a time when he and other Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, were struggling to do something about budget deficits. And far from this being a “liberal” preoccupation, Republicans in the Senate passed a motion cutting intelligence funding at about the same time. It makes you wonder: is Zell Miller now in charge of writing Bush ad scripts?
The real irony, of course, is that Bush has been dragged kicking and screaming into what little effort he’s made to improve our intelligence efforts after 9/11. When it comes to fighting terrorists with better intelligence, the incumbent can best be described as a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

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