Let me follow up

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Let me follow up on last night’s post on the surreal shamelessness of the president’s new TV ad.

As we noted, the new ad uses a very strained argument to allege that Kerry opposed an increase in military combat pay when in fact the White House was caught red-handed and quite publicly trying to cut combat pay for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq only a few months ago.

I mean, how do you top that?

One could speculate about some weird sort of projection. A more likely possibility is that they’re accusing Kerry first of that which they were in fact first guilty as a way of innoculating themselves.

All intriguing theories. But I suspect the reality is more banal. They just don’t care. It’s a handy attack. They’ve got funds to run the ads. And they figure people’s memories are short and the press is too lazy or stupid to call them on it.

Clearly, the Kerry campaign should highlight the inaccuracy of the charge. But I think they should be focusing their fire on the shamelessness, the disrespect for the intelligence of the public and the press.

They simply can’t stop lying.

That point should be hit again and again and again. And not simply — or even primarily — on the narrow point of dishonesty but on the broader issue of disrespect for the people they’re communicating with.

‘Disrespect’ doesn’t quite convey the intended message. But it comes close. It may be closer to ‘contempt’ though I think the attitude is somehow breezier than that. They don’t think any rules apply to them.

They want to say up is down. And they’re sure they can get away with it because they think the people who are listening are either chumps or that their trust can be exploited endlessly.

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