By now, everyone has probably heard about this particular controversial advertisement. There is a growing bru ha ha over its use. Most of the conservative media is un in arms over John McCain's demand that it be taken down. First, let's take a look at some of the commentary from the right. Here is one view from Michelle Malkin.
What is the big freaking’ deal? The RNC and John McCain are spanking the North Carolina GOP for running an ad against the state’s Democrat gubernatorial candidates titled “Extreme.” It points out Barack Obama’s longtime association with America-basher Jeremiah Wright, notes that both Dem candidates have endorsed Obama, and deems them too radical for voters.
Republicans in North Carolina are not happy with John McCain’s politically correct decision not to mention Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and they’re rejecting his call to cancel their advertisement: NOTE TO RNC - Stay Out of Our Business!
Here’s the ad, and I have to agree with the NC people. I have no idea what John McCain thinks he’s going to achieve by refusing to use Rev. Wright in GOP ads; it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize Obama for his connections to this racist lunatic. Does McCain actually want to win the election?
That is essentially the view from most of the conservative media. The ad is legitimate and McCain should keep his nose where it doesn't belong.
I see several huge problems with this ad and unfortunately they taint McCain and thus it is his business. First, if we are to treat this ad straight, we would believe the two gubernatorial candidates, Bev Perdue and Richard Moore, are themselves extremists because they support Barack Obama. One would come to this conclusion because Barack Obama is himself an extremist because of his long term relationship with his extremist pastor. Of course, this is plain nonsense. This would take reaching and guilt by association way too far. If the only evidence you have of an individual's extremism is who they endorse for President, that isn't much evidence at all. Of course, this ad shouldn't be taken straight. The only reason this ad is up is an excuse to run more of Wright's most incendiary comments in a loop. The placement of the two gubernatorial candidates, each mentioned once and forgotten, is nothing more than a red herring. This is all an excuse to pound Obama with Wright again. The voters are not stupid and this opportunism will be sniffed out.
The second problem has to do with this simple bit of political wisdom
don't try and kill your opponent when they are committing suicide
Wright is doing plenty of damage on his own to Barack Obama. McCain and the Republicans need to stay away from him as far as possible. Instead, the NC GOP inserted themselves in the middle of him. Wright will have a significant interview aired tonight and has several upcoming appearances. In order for Obama to be most damaged, the media must focus maximum attention on him. Instead, some of the media oxygen has been diverted to this ad. All this really does is blunt some of the natural negativity of Wright onto Obama, and turn it into politicking.
Finally, this ad spells of the problems of partisanship. I was on a blogger conference call with McCain today and most of the questions were politely asking
Why the he&& can't we have this ad
Most of the partisan conservatives just don't see that the rest of the country doesn't have their venom toward Obama. While this all seems like perfectly appropriate to bitter opponents, the independents will squirm watching this ad and naturally draw sympathy toward Obama. Again, just like the other two problems, this ad becomes counter productive on this level.
Wright is causing more than enough damage to Obama without the Reps forcing it on people and saturating the issue. Instead of letting the story run its course naturally they are force feeding it to the public when it gets more than enough couverage on its own. This is again, not only not necessary, but ultimately counter productive. This ad is not only in terrible taste but done with a total political tone deafness.