Bush’s new campaign video, “Kerry’s Coalition of the Wild-eyed,” will certainly inspire his base. It’s a miscalculation nonetheless.
The video opens with Gore asking how we can possibly drag the good name of America through Saddam’s torture prison. This keeps the Abu Ghraib scandal prominent. That’s not so good for Bush; it doesn’t poll well at all. Then you get the cheesy Nazi images which won’t hurt Bush, although their use here implies that Abu Ghraib wasn’t so bad — which, again, people will disagree with.
Next, Howard Dean says he wants his country back. This may be the most effective moment for Bush; the Dean = anger meme is still around. It’s immediately followed by the segment of Michael Moore’s Academy Award speech in which he says that we went to war for fictitious reasons. Hey, if Bush wants to remind a disenchanted public that they may agree with Moore, that’s fine by me.
Then Gephardt calls Bush a miserable failure. 54% of Americans polled by USA Today think that sending troops to Iraq was a mistake. Whoops. More Nazi images in left-wing political ads follow — again, this’ll be pretty effective — and then Gore calls out that Bush has betrayed this country. You know, it’s easier to smear Gore as an out of control maniac when you don’t show him speaking with honest passion.
Finally, Bush kindly presents Kerry’s soundbite about all the people who are unemployed because of Bush’s policies. Ouch.
So yeah — this is going to make anyone who was already going to vote for Bush very happy. But it is not going to persuade fence-sitters. It simply exposes the undecided to 20 seconds of Bush criticism without any response from the Bush campaign other than “wow, aren’t they angry and cynical?” Problem is, it’s a cynicism and anger which is shared by many voters.