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View Diary: The anti-AARP campaign begins (677 comments)

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  •  Who is their audience? (4.00)
    I can't believe that they think that this could work on a mainstream audience.  The Swift Boat ads were different, because they were not implausible on face.  If you knew nothing about John Kerry, the Swift Boat Vets sounded as credible as anyone.  But the anti-AARP ad is just plainly ridiculous.  Certainly, senior citizens, or anyone even close to retirement age, know that the AARP has nothing to do with same-sex marriage or the war in Iraq.  Maybe some people in their 20's and their 30's could be fooled, but I find this hard to believe.  

    My guess is that this is not aimed at convincing a mainstream audience.  I can imagine three other purposes:

    1.) Rallying the base - Notice that this ad appears in the American Spectator, a right-wing rag without even the faux respectability of National Review or the Weekly Standard.  The people who read this magazine will support whatever Bush wants anyway; there's no need to tear down the AARP first.  Maybe the point of advertising in the American Spectator is to raise money through an over-the-top, attention-grabbing ad.  

    2.) Good Cop, Bad Cop - Perhaps the ad is designed as a diversion, to get people outraged while the right-wingers make their actual case against the AARP with more reasonable ads.  The reasonable ads may be perceived as the "centrist" position, in contrast to those crazy right-wingers who think that the AARP hates the troops, and those equally crazy left-wingers who think that the AARP is a mainstream organization with the best interests of seniors in mind.

    3.) Get the AARP on the defensive - Most people have heard the possibly apocryphal story about one of LBJ's early races, in which he considered planting a story that his opponent fornicated with pigs, not to make people believe it, but to "make the sonofabitch deny it."  By making wild accusations, these guys might be able to force the AARP to make a statement that they don't hate the troops and don't lobby for gay marriage.  This will make people wonder if the AARP is a more liberal organization than they previously thought--after all, why would they take such accusations seriously if the accusations were completely crazy?  David Horowitz is attempting this same technique right now with his "Discover the Network" site.  (Link goes to a dKos diary, not the site itself.)  Nobody would believe that Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama are the same as Ayatollah Khomenei and Fidel Castro.  But Horowitz still gains an advantage if he can force people to explain why they aren't the same.

    The best counterattack, I think, is to expose who these people are.  Find out who is funding them.  Find out how they are connected to President Bush and his friends.  Publicize the hell out of these connections.  One problem with our response to the Swift Boat ads is that by drawing attention to them, we created a debate on the issue rather than discrediting them.  We don't even have to "respond" to these anti-AARP ads; they're ridiculous on face.  Forget about "responding"; use these ads as a weapon instead.  Use words and phrases like "desperate," "absurd," "unbalanced," "out of touch with reality," "out of touch with ordinary seniors," "shameless," "arrogant," "an insult to the intelligence of Americans," and "anti-elderly."  And above all, link it to Bush and the ideologues who are pushing him to support social security privitization.  If we do it right, there will be no room for the "good cop" to make the "reasonable" case against the AARP; the whole endeavor will be discredited.

    •  All your suggestions are wonderful! (none)
      Especially  the "don't deny it" and finding who they are and publicizing it but this is what the Democrats never seem to be able to do and who would publicize it? The mainstream media sure won't!

      They'll treat this just like the "swift boat" ads, as if they have merit! They'll all be suggesting that AARP is a far left wing commie cell organization that is trying to take over the government.

      Like it or not, most people still get most of their news from the tv and local newspapers and almost all television and most local papers are solidly conservative. (I've never seen a small town paper or even a medium or large one that wasn't right wing.)

      These are the ones who'll give credence to this kind of ad and this is what people will read and believe. Or at least that is what the Republicans are counting on, I think.

      Personally, I think it is a hoot and I don't know how anyone could believe it.

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