Busy as I was today I thought I could wait till this evening to note the latest bit of Republican Social Security campaign hooliganism. I was wrong.
Republicans often argue that Social Security is a bad deal for African-Americans. It's a specious argument based on looking at some statistics and not others. But it's no more mendacious than a bunch of other tendentious uses of statistics that are the common coin of political debate today.
This week though, GOPAC -- a hard-charging political action committee that was once the engine of Newt Gingrich's rise to power -- decided to turn the volume on this canard way, way up. All the way to eleven, you might say, using the argot of Spinal Tap devotees. The GOPAC ad running on black radio stations in Kansas City called Social Security a form of "reverse reparations" which blacks paid to whites.
Here are a few choice clips from the ad ...
You've heard about reparations, you know, where whites compensate blacks for enslaving us. Well guess what we've got now. Reverse reparations ... So the next time some Democrat says he won't touch Social Security, ask why he thinks blacks owe reparations to whites.The good folks at the Social Security Information Project at Campaign for America's Future found out about this, put out the word, and by this afternoon GOPAC had pulled the ad.
In cases of low-rent sleaze like these it's hard to know whether to fix on to the dishonesty, the crassness, the ugly caricature of gullible blacks the ad is intended to appeal to, or just the pitiful dorks themselves who hatched the idea.
You can just imagine the brainstorming session with the CSE-baseball-cap-clad goofball 'wingers who came up with the ad. "Hey, you know how blacks are all into reparations? Well, Social Security is terrible for blacks. We'll say it's like reverse reparations! You're giving your money to the white man! They'll eat that stuff up. By the way, you hear about how that fat rapper killed Tupac Shakur? Dangit!"
Ahhhh ... an idea is born.
It's pretty clear GOPAC was working in concert with the local Republican candidate, Adam Taff. The AP story says Taff's campaign recently hired Joe Gaylord as a campaign strategist. The article identifies Gaylord as a one-time GOPAC 'consultant', though in fact that phrase greatly understates his role in the organization.
The one bright spot to this ugly episode is some comedic value provided by GOPAC's efforts at damage control. GOPAC spokesman Mike Tuffin said that they'd subcontracted the ads to an outfit called Access Communications which mistakenly gave the ad to the radio station. It seems the ad, surprising as it may seem, was one of those ads a political pressure group produces without intending to run. You know, one of those private campaign ads. "We disavow it and have seen to it that it was immediately pulled," Tuffin said. "We did not know it was going to be run and never intended it to be run."
And so it goes.
More disturbingly, it seems Republican incumbent Shelley Moore Capito's silly word play and lies have actually produced some results. You'll recall Capito picked up the NRCC line and claimed that Democrats' use of the word 'privatization' was a egregious lie and slander, even though it's the word Republicans themselves only recently embraced. Four local stations have now apparently refused to run the ads.
It's amazing what one can accomplish in politics if you're willing to lie brazenly and repeatedly and the press refuses to call you on it.
Meanwhile, says the same AP story, Republican lawyers are threatening to file a lawsuit against Democrats in Minnesota for an ad claiming that Republican candidate John Kline would "end Social Security as we know it."