Good Cop, Bad Cop

In a well-commented thread from Monday, I disagreed with MoveOn's decision to run ads attacking SBVFT. However, after reading Kerry's denunciation of MoveOn's ad, I retract my earlier statement: Sen. John F. Kerry took a cue from Sen. John McCain on Tuesday and denounced a television ad by one of his allies attacking President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

In the latest twist in an ongoing debate about military credentials, Kerry condemned the new ad by the MoveOn political action committee, even though it was produced in response to an ad questioning Kerry's Vietnam War record.

"This should be a campaign of issues, not insults," Kerry said in a written statement.

Kerry called the ad "inappropriate" after McCain (R-Ariz.), a former Vietnam prisoner of war, criticized the MoveOn commercial. The 30-second ad accuses Bush of using family connections to avoid the Vietnam War.

Kerry's "condemnation" of the ad (he does not actually ask MoveOn to pull the ad), in combination with the existence of the ad, is a perfect example of how the Kerry campaign and 527's can play "good cop, bad cop" to Kerry's benefit. 527's release attacks, thereby raising Bush's negatives. Kerry condemns the attacks, thereby raising his own positives. Further, Kerry's denunciation not only gets the ad more play, but also gets more play of McCain's slam of the SBVFT ad. Further, Bush fails to condemn the attacks run by SBVFT, and it looks like Bush is running a dirty, negative campaign. Overall, the entire SBVFT saga seems like it is going to play out well for Kerry.

Tags: Media (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

MoveOn ad
It does seem to be the perfect comination. I was wondering if Kerry legally COULD call for MoveOn to stop running the ad. Since the 527s are not supposed to co-ordinate with the presidential campaigns he might not be able to ask them to pull it without violating that restriction. If so, then he could say that if they ask him to move beyond just issuing a condemnation.
by herodotus 2004-08-18 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Have you seen
no but if you were to provide a link we could all join in the conversation..
by storme 2004-08-18 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Cop, Bad Cop
I would also like to see some polling on this before concluding it worked as a net plus for Kerry.  I think the fact that we are talking about this, and that cable news is talking about it, is bad news.  We are not talking about the Kerry positives, and we are not talking about Bush/Cheney's failures.  We are instead engaged in debate that no one can win about things that happened more than thirty years ago.
by James Earl 2004-08-18 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Agree
When you say that MoveOn released the old ad, do you mean they are running it somewhere?
by James Earl 2004-08-18 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree
Yes. I think he means this is an ad that MoveOnPAC had run some time back, when Bush's AWOL record was being questioned. I was thinking this was an older ad as well.
by rob 2004-08-19 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Cop, Bad Cop
Moveon really does allow Kerry to be good cop all the time, with them willingly doing the mudslinging for him.  Especially with the "I approve this message" stuff, direct attack ads tend to cause both sides to get dirty.  However, Kerry can stand above it all, in a way.
by Geotpf 2004-08-18 02:35PM | 0 recs
Only Kerry is a Vietnam vet
I think Chris is right, but this looks like it's going to have a big effect one way or the other, so Democrats had better not take it lightly. The Republicans seem to be pushing this issue hard, which I construe to be a sign that they think this is a big issue. Googling "john kerry" returns many sites linking to the SBVFT site, which appears to be an orchestrated effort by Republicans to push this issue. And, as we all know, stories about the SBVFT ad have dominated the news for most of this week.

But even if no one wins this battle -- as some are suggesting they won't -- one fact remains indisputable: John Kerry chose to serve in Vietnam, while George Bush chose Texas. This point will likely be drummed into us as the debate continues. The other point we're likely to receive is that Bush is running negative campaign ads and that could hurt this close to the election.

Even if they are successful in getting people to wrongly believe that Kerry lied about his record, that still doesn't discount the fact that Kerry was in Vietnam while Bush was in Texas.

by rob 2004-08-19 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Have you seen
It looked to me like they just studied the SBVFT ad, not the MoveOn counter-ad.

Still, I think it proves you do have to respond to negative ads like the SBVFT ad. Even if the ad is outrageously misleading, some people are going to believe it, and it'll hurt you if you don't counterattack - ask Michael Dukakis. That's why I disagreed with Chris's earlier post. Especially since, unlike the SBVFT ad, the MoveOn ad is true, so it can't be counter-counterattacked.

I'm glad Chris has seen the light.

by Mathwiz 2004-08-20 01:30PM | 0 recs

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