GOP Fear-Mongering Kicks into High Gear (with VIDEO)
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Last month, we inaugurated the Fear-mongering Hall of Shame, enshrining the Alarmist All-Stars of the Bush administration, and making the no-brainer prediction that "as Election Day races ever-closer, you can be sure the GOP fear-mongers will be swinging for the fences -- in speeches, in press releases, in campaign ads, and in direct mail come-ons."
Sure enough, with just two weeks to go and the polls heavily skewing Democratic, the administration's panic-button pushers have brought out the big guns, including an ad featuring Osama Bin Laden saying that 9/11 was "nothing compared to what you will see next," the specter of colossal tax raises, Dick Cheney repeatedly mentioning the possibility of "mass death in the United States," and even that old race-baiting favorite, the fear of black men lusting after southern white women.
It's beginning to look a lot like November.
By now, you've all seen or heard about the despicable Republican National Committee ad featuring Osama, his right hand man Ayman al-Zawahri, a ticking clock, a nuclear explosion and the tag line: "These are the stakes. Vote November 7th". What a piece of work. Check out the spot-on eviscerations of it done by Keith Olbermann and Bob Cesca.
Here's a taste of Olbermann:
The dictionary definition of the word "terrorize" is simple and not open to misinterpretation: "To fill or overpower with terror; terrify. To coerce by intimidation or fear."... By this definition, the leading terrorist group in this world right now is al Qaeda. But the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party. Eleven presidents ago, a chief executive reassured us that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." His distant successor has wasted his administration insisting that there is nothing we can have but fear itself.
What this advertisement says to me, and hopefully many others, is that the Republican government has utterly failed to capture these murderers and thus the King of All Jihadists remains a threat to America five-plus years after 9/11. This ad tells me that Bin Laden and his chief deputy are still at large due to the incompetent Bush administration and the congressional Republicans who have allowed them to get away with this colossal failure.
Not content with scaring the bejesus out of voters with the equivalent of a GOP-financed al-Qaeda recruitment video, the RNC has also produced an ad that makes the unfounded claim, "If Democrats take over Congress, they will raise taxes by 2.4 trillion dollars to keep up with their reckless spending." Excuse me? "Their reckless spending"? Did I miss something? Have Democrats been the ones controlling the Congressional purse strings since 1994? Upon hearing that this over-the-top, hold-on-to-your-wallets ad was directed by David Zucker, the guy who brought us "Airplane," "Naked Gun," and the last two "Scary Movie" films, my first thought was that this had to be some kind of goof. But it's no joke; just another GOP-funded attempt to scare voters.
Dick Cheney has been working overtime to achieve the same goal, repeatedly giving speeches over the last five weeks in which he warns and warns and warns and warns that terrorists "have declared an intention to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries, and to cause mass death in the United States."
As for the blast-from-the-Jim-Crow-past use of race-based fear, David Corn details a slimy RNC ad that accuses Harold Ford, threatening to take a Republican Senate seat in Tennessee, of accepting donations from pornographers and features a scantily-clad blonde who claims to have met Ford at a Playboy party winking and saying "Harold, call me." It's a mudslinging twofer: at once sleazy and laced with racist overtones.
But even this avalanche of pre-election GOP fear-mongering is not enough for Dick Morris who, just after the Osama ad started running, called on Republicans "to sound a note of alarm and fill the airwaves with specifics of exactly what will happen if the Democrats triumph... The GOP needs to focus on the concrete ways in which a Democratic victory would threaten our safety."
Apparently Osama raining death and destruction down on America is too timid for Morris. He wants Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove to take off the gloves and really get serious about bringing the fear-mongering thunder.
Buckle your seatbelts and take three deep breaths. It's going to be a very interesting -- and terror-packed -- two weeks.
P.S. Watch my freeSpeech takedown of the GOP's fear-mongering that aired Tuesday night on the CBS Evening News at the top of this page.