Monday, January 29, 2007

This Sounds Familar..A Little Too Familiar

Paul Wells on the latest Tory attack ad strategy:
What's worth noting is that Harper likes to go after an opponent's strength, not his perceived weakness. If Dion has a brand — a debatable proposition, since it's so early in his new incarnation, but still — what is it? Integrity and the environment, probably. So the Tory ads try to tie Dion to Liberal malfeasance, and simply acknowledge that while Dion sat at the federal Cabinet table, the Grits did nothing serious about global warming. It's audacious, and a long way from the lamentable gong show John Baird and Michael Fortier put on in Montreal an hour after Dion's victory, when Baird attacked Dion as a Quebecer and Fortier attacked him for being a bad Quebecer. (emphasis mine)
This is nothing new, nor is it surprising. Afterall, Harper is nothing if not a student of the Republican smear machine and its modern master, Karl Rove.
Very early on, Karl Rove did something that many other political operatives don't do, and it's really an element of why he's a unique figure in American political life: He understands that while other people look for the weakness in an opponent and exploit that, Rove has long looked at the strength of an opponent. In the case of Ann Richards running for governor, it was that she was tolerant and appealed to many constituents, so you attack her as an advocate for the homosexuals' agenda. In the case of John McCain, it was that he was a POW in Vietnam, and so you raise questions about his service in Vietnam through surrogate groups.
Good old Steve. Is there any sleazy Republican tactic he won't try?
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