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Friday, October 28, 2016

For most of the buildup to the midterm elections, Republicans planned to focus their campaigns around a single talking point: Obamacare is a disaster. That didn’t work out. But in the final days of the race, the GOP has rallied around another unifying theme: Vote Republican, or you’re going to die.

That’s the basic message that many Republican candidates are pitching, to varying degrees of ridiculousness.

On Monday, the Republican National Committee joined in on the fun with the following closing argument:

“ISIS gaining ground. Terrorists committing mass murder. Ebola inside the U.S. Americans alarmed about national security. What’s President Obama doing? Making plans to bring terrorists from Guantánamo to our country. Ignoring the Constitution, Congress, and the American people,” the narrator darkly warns over dramatic music. “November 4th, Obama’s policies are on the ballot. Vote to keep terrorists off U.S. soil. Vote Republican.”

According to the RNC, the ad will run in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and Virginia — almost every swing state that will decide which party controls the 114th Senate.

The 30-second spot plays like someone spliced footage of a George W. Bush ad from 2004 with a second-tier Michael Bay movie. Substantively, it’s a mess. Republican leadership has explained few substantive policy differences with President Obama on the fight against ISIS, and has tried to vote on none of them. President Obama can hardly be blamed for the Ebola emergency (nor should Republicans, although GOP-backed budget cuts have certainly not helped the response). And the president is certainly capable of confronting these issues while considering options to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, a fatally flawed boondoggle that actual fiscal conservatives should reject on principle.

But for all of those flaws, the ad very well may work. Scaring voters into thinking that the federal government is dangerously incompetent and convincing them that the elections are a pure referendum on President Obama are key weapons for the GOP going into Election Day. If the RNC’s new ad doesn’t insult voters’ intelligence too badly, it could be just what Republican candidates need.

Screenshot: GOP/YouTube

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  • Dominick Vila

    The only claim that is conspicuous by its absence, when it comes to national security an the threat of terrorism, is 9/11, and who controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress when that tragedy took place. Oops, I forgot, we are not supposed to blame Bush or Republicans in Congress. After all, 8 months was not enough time for W to put our national security and law enforcement agencies agencies on high alert based on the daily national security briefings that he neglected to attend and, besides, we all know that an important factor for our inability to do everything possible to limit the probability of an attack on U.S. soil was influenced by bad intelligence. Hopefully, everyone knows by now that the latter was true, although not exactly in the way the GOP would like us to believe.

  • dunniteowl

    It reminds me of the lead up advertising for a Christmas show in the movie “Scrooged.” Acid rain, terrorism, lawlessness, etc.
    I maintain the ‘terrorists’ are already here and a vote for ANY Republican only allows them another term in office. Before any supposedly Conservative bashes this as liberal ad hominem, let’s compare:
    ISIS, Al Qaeda and (not so long ago) the PLO do this: No negotiations, hostage taking and hostage killing to prove they’re serious, strong, authoritarian ideology based on religious conviction or moral conviction that cannot be questioned.
    The Republican Party does this: No negotiations (remember the government shutdown?), hostage taking and hostage killing (figuratively, Grover Norquist, inceptor of the No Taxes Pledge, wants to “drown government in the bathtub”) vis a vis the desire to end: Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and ACA or else (once again, remember the government shutdown?) They have a strong, authoritarian ideology based on religious or moral conviction that cannot be questioned. This is so true that their Speaker of the House was replaced, because he had the temerity to attempt to negotiate even a little bit with the “enemy.”
    Democrats and Republicans should never be enemies. At worst they should consider themselves ideologically different on issues, though not opposed to a solutions oriented approach that allows for negotiation and compromise. Republicans in the House and Senate do not display any desire or willingness to do this. In fact, there is more talk of another government shutdown.
    The last hostage crisis in the form of a shutdown cost this country something on the order of 60 MILLION dollars a day in lost productivity, wages and revenue gains. It cost even more jobs in a struggling to recover economy. Can any right side leaning conservative explain how that is ever good for the country?
    Okay, now those who consider themselves offended that I should even call out Republicans on their bullshit may feel free to attack me.

  • sigrid28

    There should be a law against torture via the media. In the 18th century, the unluckiest prisoner was flogged last, so his own imagination would, traitor-like, augment his suffering. He was forced to hear the screams of the two that went before as well as the sound of their flesh ripping. Is it going too far to say that these commercials and their constant repetition seem like something out of the Dark Ages?

    Our Republican torturers bray daily about the Constitution, written by our Forefathers during the same period, oddly called the Enlightenment. It was a document intended to establish a system of justice that would, eventually, put an end to cruel and unusual punishment. To block out these despicable ads, we can go to less trouble via the judicial use of the mute button–and the ballot box.

    Maybe the ridiculous excesses of the GOP will backfire on them. Ads like this remind us that we, too, live in a period of growing inequality and blatant social injustice–and whose fault is that?

  • charleo1

    While I agree with the article, that Republican campaigning is dishonest, and offers nothing new. But is a continuation of their seemingly endless list of what is wrong in the government, wrong in the Country, and wrong in the World. While going to ridiculous lengths to tie each real, perceived, or just some made up crisis, to the President. Like the Ebola infected ISSL terrorists, that are supposedly pouring across a Southern Border, Obama refuses to secure. Proving to their base anyway, what they’ve always said about Obama. That he is here to help the Muslim Jihadist kill us all! Advantage, GOP. Seeing as how a President is hobbled to dealing with reality, and fact, and they are not. And, another fact that’s being mentioned fewer, and fewer times the closer to election day gets. Is that this election is being fought largely on Republican ground, in Republican strongholds. And is not a clear reflection of President Obama’s policies, or popularity, or rather the general lack of it. Who could have guessed, that Republicans don’t like/hate/despise with a passion, this President? That they don’t like the President, even when he is right. Even when the economy improves, or the growth in Federal debt falls, or when he is on track to deport more illegal entrants back to their respective Countries, than any other President in American History. Republicans also continue with their unending list of things they oppose. Gay Rights, abortion, welfare, minimum wage, healthcare, public schools, regulation, and or, taxes on corporations, and profits, paid to the wealthy as capital gains. Thus pandering to their two almost diametrical opposites that make up a great deal of their base. The rural poor Whites, who have been convinced to hold Democrat’s inclusive policies toward minorities responsible for their loss of their own financial security. And of course, the freeloading, corporate kleptocracy, that funds their never ending political careers.

  • ScotDog

    Isis is at the border waiting to enter and kill Americans. Ebola is a national health crisis. Taking a closer look I see the GOP as the greatest threat to Americans and the world at large. Cuts to CDC has hampered real research into the Ebola virus and other health issues, cuts to military personnel spending means those returning are not taken care of, cuts to social safety nets cause people to steal for basic necessities. Republicans tried to privatize the military with their cronies creating Blackwater that only set US relations back 50 years, sanctioned torture creating a cottage industry of beheading videos. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s a good thing republicans will take over. Then the next election they will go the way of the Dodo, truly fitting.