Monday, September 20, 2004

Bush's New Advertisement: Up is Down, Black is White, All is Good, etc.

Bush-Cheney '04 released a new advertisement today, which follows the recent campaign theme of We're safer.

As points out, the advertisement omits any reference to Iraq. You can draw your own conclusions about that decision. I'm thinking that the campaign had trouble finding video in which things weren't blowing up -- a problem when you are trying to say how safe everyone is.

The script is typical Bush-Cheney spin. It follows the unwritten rule that Bush's words speak louder than actions.

For example, the advertisement says Bush has "a plan: Enhance border and port security ..." But wait, there's an existing plan for border and port security. And Bush is woefully underfunding it. Bush's FY 2005 budget calls for about 6.3% of the funding Congress had proposed for such security.

The ad says Bush wants to "renew the Patriot Act, giving law enforcement tools against terrorists." This sounds good enough, but Newsweek reported earlier this year that nearly 70% of the arrests made under the Patriot Act have nothing to do with terrorism. More often, they have to do with things like drugs and gambling.

And, as several recent news stories have pointed out, the John Ashcroft-led Justice Department has had a hard time making charges stick against the "terror" suspects the department trots out. And then there's the uncanny trend of Ashcroft press conferences announcing suspects with Arab names -- suspects who have been in custody, in some cases, for several months. Press conferences that come within a single day's news cycle of some item deemed negative for Bush's re-election, such as the aforementioned things being blown up in Iraq.

The ad says Bush's plan is to "give the military all it needs." A cynic would say this must refer only to the actually full-time military, and not the National Guard. It's ironic that Bush appears to have gotten a better reception than Kerry at the Guard's convention last week, as it is Bush who had tried to cut wages for reservists, to prevent reservists from receiving full military health care benefits, and to keep reservists in Iraq for upward of two years.

The ad says that Bush's plan is to "find terrorists where they train and hide.” That's tough to do when the bulk of your intelligence effort is centered in Iraq, and not on the heels of Al Qaeda.

It was Al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11, right? It's threats from Al Qaeda that lead to all those press conferences from Tom Ridge and Ashcroft saying how an attack is imminent -- in spite of Bush's claim that We're safer. I just want to make sure, because Al Qaeda was only mentioned once at the Republican National Convention -- even though the "War on Terror" is crucial to this presidency.

Will the media tear Bush's ad apart? Recent history suggests that they'll say the obvious, that the message is Bush is fighting the war on terror, and that recent polls suggest voters think Bush is more capable of waging that fight. Actually analyzing the claims made in the ads -- that's another story.

Remember, the television talking heads are more concerned with Bush's strength and decisivness, rather than whether he's being forthcoming with voters.


Blogger don dzikowski said...

You're right. U.S. Arab, counterterrorism and military experts, as well as lawmakers of both parties, alike have all argued the War in Iraq has actually made the U.S. -- and world -- more, not less, vulnerable to terrorism, and it was not a worthwhile diversion from Al Qaeda. These reports have too often been shunted to the opinion pages.
Meanwhile, the front pages are packed with unchallenged Bush spin of the world being safer from terrorism.
Let's think about this for a moment. Might it be because the media is now ashamed of initially cheering on the War in Iraq? Damage control.

8:01 PM  

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