This Desperate GOP Attack Ad Just Backfired Spectacularly by Trying to Smear a Decorated Veteran as Being Against the Troops

This Desperate GOP Attack Ad Just Backfired Spectacularly by Trying to Smear a Decorated Veteran as Being Against the Troops

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) thought they had a perfect attack ad against Dan Feehan, the Democrat running in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District: attack him as unpatriotic for his support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's right to take a knee during the national anthem.


"Millions have paid the ultimate price defending the values our flag represents," says the narrator over a backdrop of soldiers' headstones. "Land of the free. Home of the brave. And they never took a knee. But liberal Dan Feehan celebrated Colin Kaepernick's protests of our national anthem, even said Kaepernick's kneeling 'matches the patriotism of our military'. Tell Dan Feehan: real patriots stand together."

But there's a rather obvious flaw in the ad: Feehan is in fact a decorated Army captain who did two tours of duty in Iraq, and then served as acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.

And even viewers of the NRCC's ad ought to have a clue about this, because in both tweets the ad displays onscreen, the hashtag "#veteransforKaepernick" can clearly be seen. Oops!

Shortly after posting the ad on Twitter, the NRCC faced a barrage of criticism and mockery for their tone-deafness in saying a veteran is not a "real patriot":

The national anthem protests Kaepernick triggered, in which NFL players have taken a knee during the anthem to protest the killing of unarmed people of color by police, have become a staple of Republican grievance politics. President Donald Trump has led the charge, blasting the protests as anti-flag and anti-military, even though they have nothing to do with either the flag or the military.

Feehan is running for Congress on a platform that includes expanding Medicare eligibility, reforming Pentagon spending, and promoting agricultural development.

Minnesota's 1st District, which covers the rural southern parts of the state, was vacated by Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, who is now running for governor against Republican Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. It is one of the most conservative Democratic-held seats; Walz first picked it up in the wave election of 2006, and held onto it even as the district voted for Trump by 15 points. Now that it is open, it is one of the few districts that Republicans are favored to pick up from Democrats in a year that otherwise portends strong Democratic gains.

But if the GOP wants to land a win here, attacking a veteran as unpatriotic is a clumsy way to do it.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.