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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Wingnuts Say the Darndest Things

The blogosphere is abuzz today with commentary on the Swift Boat Veterans-style smear campaign underway against AARP for its temerity in opposing Bush’s SocSec privatization plan (Jeez, what did you expect, GOPers? Anything else would be like Jerry Falwell suddenly embracing an “alternative lifestyle.”).I followed Josh Marshall’s link to the truly bizarre and disgusting ad placed by the perpetrators of this smear, USANext, on The American Spectator site, and then took a quick gander at Smear Central itself. It’s not surprising that USANext is setting itself up as a Wingnut alternative to AARP, but still, I was a bit startled to see this pitch from none other than Art Linkletter:

Do you want more taxes taken out of your earnings? Do you want more unelected bureaucrats taking over more details of your life and your family’s life? Do you want federal regulators making your health choices, instead of you, your family, and your doctor? Do you want government regulators to control the investment and retirement decisions of your family, instead of you?If you answered “Yes,” then AARP is your group. They continuously work to create high taxes, big, invasive, bloated government, herds of regulators, and dependency of citizens on unelected bureaucrats.But if you answered “No,” USA Next is for you! Do you want lower taxes, more control over your life, health, and finances, with less government, and more constitutional restraints on judges and unelected bureaucrats? Then USA Next works and fights for you!

Now personally, I hope that if I make it to Linkletter’s age (92) I’ll be more focused on Getting Right with God than on Getting to the Right of Jimmy Dean Sausage. And I have a hard time believing he’s really sitting around all day worrying about the growing threat posed by “unelected bureaucrats.”But in any event, it’s clear that USANext’s goal is to drive down AARP’s membership dues, in one of those classic “defund the (sic!) Left” manuevers that Rove and Norquist are so fond of. The ploy also owes a lot to the old Communist fundraising tactic of creating a vast network of ideologically-approved civic and political organizations and forcing party members and fellow travelers to pony up for the cause.I do wonder, though, if these guys are really willing to go toe-to-toe with AARP in the full range of membership services by, for example, negotiating discounted rates with hotel chains. I just don’t know how many seniors out there are so devoted to the cause of screwing up their grandchildren’s retirement security that they are willing to pay full rates at Day’s Inn.

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