« Edsall: Dems Look to New Coalition for '12 Victory | Main | Political Strategy Notes »

ShareThis

DNC Gets Medieval on Mitt: Too Early or Right on Time?

It's good to see the DNC is playing hardball in its new political ads, most notably "Mitt v. Mitt: The Story of Two Men Trapped in One Body." The ad below is tough and creative, and it should get lots of play. We can be sure that the Romney campaign is dithering about how to respond to it.

I gather the strategy behind the ad is that Mitt Romney is the GOP's most formidable opponent for President Obama, and weakening him now could help one of the more vulnerable Republican candidates get the GOP nod, thereby improving Obama's reelection prospects. The strategy is a bit risky in any case. The GOP has other candidates who are electable in a declining economy, despite the clown show of recent months.

No doubt some would argue that its a little early for Dems to be spending money attacking a GOP presidential nominee, especially one who seems stuck in the low twenties in polls of the GOP presidential field. Of course it's a bit of a crap shoot, since no one can predict the twists and turns in the race ahead.

But the Republican attack ads against President Obama are already rolling and they should be answered, and not with defensive whining along the lines of "they distorted my record," which is always a loser. Dems have to launch attack ads now, and Romney is the obvious individual target. If the ads help Romney's opponents and lead to further internecine polarization in the GOP, that's a plus for Dems.

Yet, congressional Republicans are now at an historic low in approval ratings. Dems should also craft some equally-clever ads that target the GOP as the institutional guardian of extreme wealth at the expense of the middle class. Occupy Wall St. has helped make economic injustice a front page issue for the first time, but the MSM is still mired in false equivalence in assigning blame for economic decline. A strong Democratic ad campaign to correct the false equivalence meme can only help.

There's no evidence that ads are the pivotal element in political campaigns. Any number of other factors, like economic trends, candidate debates and GOTV can be much more important in determining political outcomes. But ads are a significant messaging tool, and Dems have an important message to amplify -- that only one political party has the interests of working people at heart, while the other seems wholly dedicated toward protecting the rich from paying a fair share of taxes.