The Campaign Ads That Will Defeat ObamaBy Edward Olshaker
Despite the life-and-death issues at stake, the Obama campaign has begun a re-election effort based largely on Rule 5 of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It's hard to counterattack ridicule..."
The reason is simple: personal attacks and mockery worked so well in reducing Sarah Palin to a negative caricature that any formidable opponent now automatically receives the Palin treatment from the Obama camp and its obedient media.
Ideally the two campaigns would agree to avoid such attacks, yet it's already too late. The Obama team is eagerly collecting Romney's alleged gaffes, and has begun running a "greatest hits" video that includes Romney's out-of-context half-sentence, "I'm not concerned about the very poor..." They also plan to highlight the most damaging moments of the GOP debates.
The ridicule began before Romney clinched the nomination, and included derision of Romney's narrow Michigan victory (even though, 4 years ago this week, Obama was not mocked for losing the Pennsylvania primary by 10 points), and taunting him with a juvenile stunt. The president even made fun of Romney using the word "marvelous."
Romney faces the added challenge of a media whose devotion to Obama cannot be overstated. As we learned from the 2010 revelation of the JournoList email forum, members of the activist left media (Media Matters, Mother Jones, Moveon.org, the UK's Guardian, Alternet, Salon, Center for American Progress, and others) colluded with journalists from media outlets trusted by many as mainstream (Washington Post, Politico, Chicago Tribune, Slate, Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Boston Globe, etc.) on ways to cover up unwanted news such as the Reverend Wright story. Obama's election was celebrated by the New York Times and by NBC, which sold "Yes We Did" t-shirts.
With welcome candor, Romney has acknowledged the media's bias (not even mentioning that his wife is also a target ). His best answer to why he has declined to appear on "Meet the Press" would be to bluntly state that he does not expect fairness from the "Yes We Did" network or any other mainstream media outlet.
Romney therefore must bypass the media; the only two ways his message can reach the voters unfiltered are in the debates and in campaign ads.
Now the good news. An Obama campaign based heavily on gaffes and primary attacks on Romney will backfire, because the president's own gaffes and 2008 primary low points are far more damaging. While Romney keeps his focus on the economy and national security, the Republican National Committee and SuperPACs could help him enormously by producing campaign ads on scandals and blunders suppressed by the media, including the following:
1) Hillary's Warning about Obama's Secret Promise to a Foreign Government
In a virtually forgotten scandal of 2008, the Obama campaign got caught promising Canadian officials the opposite of what he was pledging to primary voters. Hillary Clinton tried in vain to warn Americans about this revealing instance of duplicity that would be repeated in Obama's overheard whispered promise to Russian President Medvedev. These revelations also shine a troubling new light on similar reported assurances to Palestinians to "sit tight" until after the election (not the first time such a secret promise on Mideast policy has been alleged.).
As Clinton declared in her March 3, 2008 press conference:
That wasn't all. Ambassador Joseph Wilson noted in 2008 that one reason for Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power's resignation was her "honestly revealing on a British television program that Obama's public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position, nor does it reflect what he would do."
A campaign ad can combine all of this and juxtapose Hillary's prescient warning with Romney's nearly identical reaction to Obama's secret pledge to Russia: "The idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he's not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming."
As America's most admired woman year after year (having just "hit a 20-year high in her favorability rating"), with proven appeal to moderate-to-conservative Democrats and independents who will determine the election's outcome in swing states, Hillary's words will damage Obama far more than attacks by Gingrich and Santorum will harm Romney.
This commercial would conclude with the future Secretary of State declaring, "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" (Go to 3:39 on the video to see what deserves to become this election's most famous catchphrase. It's powerful, memorable, and guaranteed to sound increasingly comical the more it is repeated.)
2) "Nazi" 1950s USA? A Presidential Candidate Mangles History
Obama's characterization of Eisenhower-era America as closely resembling Nazism has been covered up by the same media that spent days mocking Sarah Palin over her Paul Revere comment (even though she was neither a candidate nor an officeholder) and defining Michele Bachmann as a moron for a mistake about Concord, New Hampshire.
This stunning comment from 2001 takes on new significance in light of a recent email to Democratic donors warning that Romney would return us to "a social agenda from the 1950s." While the injustices inflicted on African-Americans in those days must never be forgotten, "Nazi" America means an America with death camps, a claim as insane as Rev. Wright's recently informing an adoring overflow audience that Israel is "genocidal."
Imagine the reaction if it had been Palin, not Obama, who had used the worst possible N-word to describe 1950s America. There probably would have been a "History According to Sarah Palin" skit on "Saturday Night Live," in which German troops land on American shores, valiantly fight their way to the heartland, and liberate Ike's death camps. Why not feature this same concept in a documentary-style "History According to Barack Obama" campaign commercial?
3) "Same Tax Rate as a Jew"
No one deserves to be ridiculed. It diminishes us all when we see our presidents and presidential candidates reduced in stature and dignity while the rest of the world looks on.
But the Obama team has fired the first shots in a gaffe war. As NBC's Willie Geist reported, "The most effective way to slam a candidate is to hang him with his own words....And capturing those words in the field is the job of the video tracker....For the better part of this primary season, they've been aiming their cameras at Mitt Romney." Reacting to Geist's report, Brian Williams seemed delighted to add that the recent focus on a luxurious Romney house was "only going to add to an image problem that includes Swiss bank accounts and, as he put it famously, 'a couple of Cadillacs.'"
Romney has two choices. He can unilaterally disarm and be another John McCain, or he can play by the same Alinsky rules. "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs" might look bad, but Obama's "same tax rate as a Jew" probably looks worse. (Foreign media reported the gaffe, while US media covered it up.) And voters have a right to know about their president's abysmal understanding of the tax code.
The "same tax rate" gaffe could be featured as part of a Greatest Hits video. Obama also wanted to fight against the "rise of privacy," urged Hispanic voters to "punish our enemies," energized supporters in 2008 by declaring, "We bring a gun," and joked about the low-flying plane that frightened New Yorkers traumatized by 9/11, while distinguishing himself as the first US President to mock the skin color of the Speaker of the House, among other unfortunate un-presidential statements.
Thus would Romney win the War of the Gaffes. Only one thing would be better -- both sides agreeing to have no such war, and stick to debating the real issues.
4) Empowering Fascism: Obama Helps Organize Farrakhan's 1995 March
While the media is eager to help the Obama team look for flaws in Romney's record at Bain Capital during the 1990s, and similarly examined Gingrich's tenure as Speaker of the House, they have always shielded Obama's actions during that decade.
While Romney was at Bain, Obama helped organize and attended the 1995 Million Man March led by hate-cult leader Louis Farrakhan, the admirer of Hitler ("a very great man") and supporter of Hezb'allah terrorism who first attracted national attention when he threatened to murder Washington Post reporter Milton Coleman in 1984 -- a chilling replay of his threats against Malcolm X shortly before his assassination. In 1993, Farrakhan declared, "Was Malcolm your traitor or was he ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours?"
Obama's church was so impressed with all of this that their magazine awarded Farrakhan the Jeremiah A. Wright Trumpeter award, because he "truly epitomized greatness."
In dramatic contrast to Obama, there were black leaders outraged by the event that empowered Farrakhan and his message. Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, was in anguish about the rally, calling it "a horrendous occurrence that hate has now gone mainstream..." When Rep. John Lewis received the 2001 Profile in Courage Award for Lifetime Achievement, the news release from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum cited his opposition to the Million Man March among his achievements as a fighter for justice and tolerance.
Shortly before the march, one of Farrakhan's top aides, Quannel X, fired up participants with a memorable message: "Jewish Americans, get ready. Knuckle up...because we're ready and the war is going down...All you Jews can go straight to hell." The one white person present was shoved out of the room by the audience on Quannel's orders.
It was because of a shared hatred of Jews that Farrakhan formed alliances with and accepted donations from a Ku Klux Klan leader, following an earlier Nation of Islam relationship with the Nazi Party. As the American Jewish Committee's Kenneth Stern reported, "Former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger -- who would later be found responsible, along with his White Aryan Resistance organization, for the brutal skinhead murder of a black Ethiopian immigrant in Portland, Oregon -- was a guest at Farrakhan's 1985 Los Angeles speech. Metzger donated $100 to Farrakhan, and the two created an alliance..." The Farrakhan-Klan coalition alarmed black and Jewish leaders alike.
If Romney is as squeamish as McCain was about mentioning Obama's ties to anti-Semitism and anti-white racism, why not instead question his alliance with Farrakhan by highlighting Farrakhan's partnership with violent white supremacists, and perhaps even his striking admission about Malcolm X's murder? This would truly be a curve ball the Obama team is not expecting.
In light of the audacious "Grand Wizard" smears already being thrown by Obama surrogates (echoing the libel of Sarah Palin for "racially tinged" denunciations of Bill Ayers), it is essential to publicize how the only presidential candidate with a link, albeit indirect, to Klansmen and the White Aryan Resistance is the Democratic nominee.
Is it too harsh to simply shine a light on what Obama has actually said and done while posing as a healing unifier? Remember that the same presidential candidate who helped empower a Klan-supported, Hitler-loving demagogue in 1995 is planning to portray Romney as a far-right extremist. And, adding one more ironic note in light of Obama's history of bizarre extremist alliances, his campaign plans to depict Romney as "weird" -- a key part of the their "Kill Romney" strategy.
That's right -- "a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House" said, "Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney." (Unlike a Romney advisor's gaffe that became the next day's top story, tarnishing and overshadowing a key primary win, the Obama strategist's admission, and the appalling way he said it, were ignored by the media.)
In the words of Hillary Clinton -- in the video clip that absolutely must appear at the end of every pro-Romney commercial -- "Shame on you, Barack Obama!"
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