I’ve made it clear that I admire certain things about both Barack Obama and John McCain. I’ve cast votes for both of them in primary elections. So I’m not pushing a partisan line when I say that Move On.org’s “Baby Alex” spot contains some of the most irritating political propaganda I’ve seen in a long time. It ranks right down there with the infamous Willie Horton spots Bush One used to savage Michael Dukakis. (It’s also full of smug, gooey sentimentality, but let that go for now.)
First, of course, the Baby Alex spot rests on the “100-Year War” smear against McCain, an utter distortion of his words dissected here months ago. In this post , I asked several intelligent friends to watch McCain’s original YouTube moment and decide whether they thought he was lusting for 100 years of bloody combat. As any fair-minded person would, they all agreed that McCain was talking about a possible future presence in Iraq much like we have had with Japan and Germany for more than 60 years now.
Then, the “you can’t have him” line, the ad’s money shot, flatly ignores the fact that we have a volunteer military, a fact no doubt unknown to many uninformed Americans. Perhaps the Move On masterminds are implying that McCain will somehow bring back the draft and lower the fighting age so he can ensnare the tot.
Alas, this is probably just the opening salvo of a fall campaign filled with simple-minded appeals to emotion and endless distortions of the record. Perhaps a similarly mindless anti-Obama spot is in the works right now. I can see it now:
Shot of Obama embracing Rev. Wright.
Montage of Wright and assorted other white-bashing preachers thundering about the evils of America.
Pan to middle-class neighborhood. A clean-cut white Mom and Dad walk their toddler son beside a white picket fence. American flag hangs from pole in background.
Zoom in as Dad speaks:
“You know, Barack Obama said he wanted to change a lot of things about America. But the changes he and his radical friends want look pretty scary to me.”
Mom, shaking her head, looking puzzled: “Hating America. . . not being proud of our great country. . . looking down on everyday people who pray and exercise their rights to bear arms. Those aren’t the changes we want for Timmy.”
Camera follows Timmy as he chases a butterfly, laughing. Mom and Dad look proud.
Dad: “So if Barack Obama and his radical friends want to put their unAmerican ideas in our son’s head. . . Well, I’ve got news for you, Senator. You can’t have him.”
Cue Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American.” Fade.
I’m still open to voting Obama in the fall, mindful of his symbolic value to the country, but I gotta say: With friends like these. . . Should be a heck of a campaign.
Anyway, get teary with li’l Alex here if you like.