Man, where's a shrink when you need one? First, this article in the NYTimes:
President Bush's campaign plans to use the normally quiet month of August for a vigorous drive to undercut John Kerry by turning attention away from his record in Vietnam to what the campaign described as an undistinguished and left-leaning record in the Senate.Josh Marshall has already weighed in on this, to wit:
Mr. Bush's advisers plan to cap the month at the Republican convention in New York, which they said would feature Mr. Kerry as an object of humor and calculated derision.
The more discussion-worthy point, however, is the use of humor as a political weapon -- mockery, derision, diminishment.But it's not as clear to me that this is going to be particularly effective this year. Remember when Bush Senior tried to mock Clinton/Gore, calling them 'far-out, man' and 'Ozone-man' and other epithets? The actual result was to make the Elder Bush look like an out-of-touch patrician who can't even master the argot.
Republicans are very good at this. And it can be a tool that is deceptively difficult to respond to or combat. Effective mockery is 'sticky', hard to shake off, hard to parry. And it appeals to people's appetite for fun and humor.
And it's a sign of a totally out-of-touch campaign not to realize how easy it is to return mock for mock. I mean, this is a candidate that one website features in side-by-side pictures of chimps. You really don't launch an attack with a pellet gun against an enemy with howitzers...
This isn't the pot calling the kettle black - this is the pot calling the cereal bowl black.