The Obama campaign — no more “swift boating”

There is a lot of grumbling in the media about the negative tone in the presidential election campaign and even Mitt Romney has complained, although after all he did to trash his Republican rivals during the primary campaign, that seems a bit hypocritical:

Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.

The Romney campaign is particularly upset about this ad:

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz has called it a “a most poisonous campaign,” and Michael Gerson wrote about “Obama’s betrayal”.

Ah, how short memories they have!

Have they already forgotten Sarah Palin’s accusations in the 2008 campaign against the then candidate Obama for “palling around with terrorists??” Or the years of lies about the President’s birth certificate? Or the TV-campaign in the summer of 2004, financed by Texas millionaires supporting George W. Bush’s reelection, which trashed John Kerry’s war record in Vietnam. Those deceitful attacks from a group calling “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” against Kerry’s years as a decorated soldier led to the verb “to swift boat” – that is, to destroy a person’s reputation by false statements.

Here is one of those TV-spots:

The Obama campaign is clearly not going to let happen what took place with Kerry. There is not going to be another “swift boating.”  As Dana Milbank, also of the Washington Post, recently wrote:

What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.

So, what’s new in the current election campaign is not that it is tougher or more negative than any previous, but that Obama is not going to let any false Republican charges stand unchallenged. Yes, the campaign is negative and both sides have been guilty of excesses and falsehoods. Of course, that is a shame. We all wish that the candidates instead debate the big issues and America’s future. But that’s not going to happen.

“Clint Eastwood made Obama’s day”

The Clint Eastwood television ad during the Super Bowl last night about Detroit and Chrysler and the U.S. automotive industry’s strong comeback has created quite a stir, both in the ad world and in election politics.

The two-minute long ad, “Halftime in America” is very similar to the Chrysler ad with Eminem during last year’s Super Bowl.

It is also similar to the classic TV ad from 1984, “Morning in America”, about Ronald Reagan.

Republican strategist Karl Rove is upset while liberal bloggers are delighted and claim that “Eastwood made Obama’s day”.

Is “Halftime in America” political advertising? Can it be seen as endorsing President Obama and, indirectly, his actions that saved Detroit’s car industry?

Obama and his name are never mentioned in ”Halftime in America”, and Eastwood, a republican or rather a libertarian, is not talking, at least not yet.

Myself, I’m not sure. Calling it an endorsement for Obama is probably reading too much into it. But take a look and judge for yourselves!

The last debate before Iowa and the race heatens up

Tonight is the 16th, and final, television debate with the Republican presidential candidates before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

Thank god, I often hear from friends, but the fact is that the debates have been popular with the American public, with an average of almost six million viewers. The debates have also saved money for the candidates, who have spent considerably less on political television ads – only three million U.S. dollars so far in Iowa compared to 27 million four years ago, and only 1.3 million dollars in New Hampshire against 17 million four years ago. For TV stations in the two states, however, this must be sad news…

I think this is a healthy trend for American political campaigns. I’d rather have the debates than the television ads with their dubious messages and outright lies. And anything to take the money out of politics…right!

Lately, the republican race has heated up and it’s downright exciting. Although many of the polls should be taken with a grain of salt, and national polls at this juncture are pretty meaningless, Gingrich now seems firmly in the lead in Iowa, while Mitt Romney maintains his lead in New Hampshire. Gingrich’s new popularity seems to have more legs than the previous upstarts — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. This is deeply worrisome to many conservative columnists. The editors of the conservative flagship National Review warned today of what a Gingrich victory could do to, as they see it, the Republicans’ excellent chances to beat Obama next year:

“We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity.”

It’s a battle between between “ideology and electability” as the polls suggest — Obama would defeat Gingrich by 51 to 40, while the race against Romney would be much tighter, 47 to 45.

Still, could it be the case that none of the present seven candidates in the end will be the Republican candidate? Could someone else, in the end, capture the nomination? It is not inconceivable, according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the web site of the respected political analyst, University of Virginia professor, Larry Sabato. I don’t think so, but it’s interesting reading!

And now the war of the TV ads is starting….

Political television ads have not played a particularly important role up to now in the Republican primary election campaign.  That’s different from previous years and an interesting phenomenon.

Instead, the campaign’s focus has been the constant panel debates between the eight, well, now seven, candidates, which have benefited those who can talk, like Newt Gingrich, and those without much money, again, like Newt Gingrich.

But Gingrich has now launched his first TV-ad in Iowa, at a cost of 250,000 dollars, and soon political TV ads will flood the media in the State ahead of the January 3 caucuses. There are many similarities with Gingrich’s ad and Ronald Reagan’s classic “Morning in America” from 1984. Take a look!

Gingrich:

Reagan:

But Gingrich will surely not be allowed to play Reagan. Just take a look at Ron Paul’s scathing attack on the former Republican Speaker called “Serial Hypocrisy.” It takes me back to 1988 and the vice presidential debate between Loyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.

Bentsen to Quayle: “you are no John Kennedy.” It seems to me that Paul is saying about Gingrich: you are no Ronald Reagan…