If I Were Kerry's TV Ad Man

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first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines
him. (Proverbs 18:17)

Kerry: hero
or fake? Which Swifties are we supposed to believe?

Each side
has its favorite Swifties. The only one I trust is Tom. (“Vietnam
was a quagmire,” said Tom, sinkingly.)

The big
winners will be TV stations in the swing states.


The only
character on The
West Wing
with whom I can identify in any way is Bruno
Gianelli. He has been on a few segments. He is the high-powered
ad man that the Bartlett campaign brought in for the second election.
He stands on the streets of Washington and yells, “I can sell
anything to anyone!” He then sells Bartlett, a multiple sclerosis
victim who concealed the fact and who got caught, and whose physician
wife illegally treated him in secret.

On August
23, the lead story on the Drudge Report was President Bush’s
denunciation of the Swift Boat protestors’ TV ads
. Bush said,
“I think Senator Kerry served admirably and he ought to be proud
of his record.” Unless the Kerry campaign is staffed by droolers,
by the end of the day, some minion was splicing together this
quotation and a voice-over by Kerry: “I’m John Kerry, and I approve
of this ad.”

root for the underdog. They love dirt, too. So, when there is
a scent of scandal, their instinct is to inhale. But then they
suffer guilt pangs. “Why did I do that?” They try to atone.

They can
atone in November by voting for Kerry. Anyway, a few hundred thousand
of them will think they can.

The Kerry
campaign can now nail the Swifties. They can allege a vast right-wing
conspiracy. “The Swift Boat campaign that you see on TV is selling
hundreds of thousands of copies of a last-minute book published
by one of America’s most notorious right-wing publishing houses.”
Actually, this is true. Regnery did publish it, and Regnery is
the oldest conservative publisher, going back 60 years. It publishes
good books, but it is vulnerable to a TV ad campaign. Subtleties
are rarely prime considerations in TV ads.

If Kerry
pulls anti-Bush ads that focus on Bush’s AWOL status, and if he
denounces any independently funded ads that promote this story,
he will be perceived as having been sinned against. He will have
to persuade www.democrats.com to pull certain articles, such as
this one. Maybe he can’t. But
if he uses Bush’s words against the Swift Boat ads, and if he
abandons the “Bush went AWOL” stories, he can use the public’s
feelings of guilt to gain votes in November.

Guilt is
a powerful emotion. Ayn Rand was correct in Atlas
. The government passes so many laws that everyone
breaks some of them. Then the government can use these feelings
of guilt to manipulate now guilt-ridden people. Modern political
liberalism is built on this foundation, as R. J. Rushdoony detailed
in his 1970 book, Politics
of Guilt and Pity


There is
enough conflicting testimony on both sides of the “Kerry the non-hero”
story to muddy the waters. Conflicting testimony tends to confuse
people. The confusion over how Bush differs from Kerry on the
Iraq war is already gumming up the works. With Howard Dean, it
would have been clear: pro vs. con.

Kerry bet
too much on his war record. He should have known he was vulnerable.
But, on the whole, people are going to believe the official record,
and the official record says that Kerry won the medals.

What nobody
is talking about on TV is Kerry’s record as a trigger-happy man
with a machine gun. Everyone is talking about what he did under
fire, or non-fire. Nobody is on TV talking about Kerry’s readiness
to shoot on sight. Nobody has gone to anyone associated with Zumwalt’s
office to see why it was that Kerry was allowed to get out of
command so fast.

So, I did.
The story I got was that Zumwalt was only too happy to get him
out of there. Rumors are cheap, of course, although I trust my
source. In any case, nobody is going to score points with the
voters with a story that Kerry shot first and asked no questions
afterward. After all, this is the tactical basis of our campaign
in Iraq. Democrats don’t want to hear the story, and Republicans
are going to vote for the Commander-in-Chief, whose readiness
to bomb civilians is not a matter of rumor.


Poll numbers
will rise and fall as November draws near. The fact is, the public
is divided. The public has been divided since 2000. I think the
Swifty story will have played out by November, unless there is
an ace in the hole by the anti-Bush Swifties — one that they
can get funded and run as a 100% independent ad, thereby not breaking
the outrageous law that prohibits campaign-funded attack ads in
the last 60 days of the campaign. Sixty days without the First
Amendment is only the beginning.

24, 2004

North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money
. Visit http://www.freebooks.com.
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