Politicians Cast Opponents as Villains. No, Really.

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Yes, that’s right, at least according to AP. Republican candidates “are eager to drop names like Pelosi, Clinton and Kerry [Each of these things is not like the others. Discuss.] in an attempt to associate their opponents with liberals and raise fears about what would happen if Democrats took control of Congress.” Other boogeymen include Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, and, yes, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, described in a recent RNC briefing as “a partisan nutroot who turned his hate-filled blog Daily Kos into a leadership post in the Democrat Party.” (The blog can be way grating, true; but he’s always struck me as a smart, thoughtful type unafraid to call BS on lame Democrats, which is an odd way of being “partisan.”)

Democrats aren’t above using boogeymen in their turn, as in a recent ad “showing a montage of GOP Senate candidates and Bush, followed by images of men sneaking across the border sandwiched between shots of bazooka-toting terrorists, bin Laden and the North Korean president.” (Huh?) The ad was quickly withdrawn when Hispanic leaders complained. All of which explains, for the umpteenth time, why politicians are held in such widespread contempt–both because this kind of denigration by association can work and because the puerility and lameness of the strategy is so self-evident.

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