By now everyone has heard low-life Limbaugh's little commentary about Michael J. Fox's appearance in the ad for Claire McCaskill. [For those not in the know, the famous, and fat, pill-popper accused Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson symptoms for effect.]
Others, like Ezzie, have no issue with Fox, per say. Instead, Ezzie asks if the Democrats exploited the actor by delaying the filming of the ad until Fox's symptoms were especially bad. Ezzie also points out the ad mischarecterizes the opposition's record. He closes by saying that it's very "sad" that the Democrats "have twisted the debate from what it should be about."
Forgive me, but what a load of sanctimonious rot. Look, I'll happily stipulate that Fox was acting. I'll even agree that the Democrats exploited him. And I'll further agree with Ezzie's central complaint: The Democrats most certainly DID "twist the debate from what it should be about." And do you know why? Because it's a political attack ad!
Since at least 1800 politicians and their lackeys have been lying about their opponent's records and "twisting the debate from what it should be about." Remember "Ma, ma, where's my pa? Gone to the White House ha ha ha?" Or "Blaine, Blaine James G. Blaine. Continental liar from the state of Maine?" The Fox ad comes from the same genre which gave us those delightful ditties, as well as the Horton ads and Swift Boating. Didn't those twist the debate, while also lying? In fact if you turn on the radio right now, I'll bet you'll soon hear an ad "twist the debate from what it should be about." This morning alone, I heard Tom Kean Jr. accuse Bob Menendez of being best buddies with a cocaine dealer. Is that what the debate should be about in the NJ senatorial election? Whether or not Menendez pals around with a cocaine dealer?
If anything is sad, it's the suggestion that the Fox ad is somehow unusual, or uniquely Democrat. Ads just like it run in every market, during every election. There's no reason to gasp or to tut-tut it.
Note: Yesterday I pointed to a singularly awful ad produced by Republicans seeking to elect someone in Maryland. There was, however, no gasping. Nor did I tut-tutt. I didn't express mock horror that someone had dared to defile the sanctity of an American election by producing a nasty and dishonest political ad. Rather, I expressed my hope that Democrats never sink that low. And if they do, I assure you I will call foul.