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
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.
good folks at the Social Security
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
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."