- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

We’re not sure which is more comment-worthy: the exploitativeness or the incoherence of the Democrats’ new Internet video, “America Needs a New Direction.” Two things are clear: To judge by this video, Democrats don’t think much of their audience, and they don’t have a message beyond, “Vote for us, we’re the un-Bushes.”

Republicans went on the offensive this week over the images, which feature approximately a dozen coffins, presumably in transit from Iraq, followed by a helmet atop a machine gun, suggestive of a service member’s death. They are interspersed with photos of a burning car in Iraq, a gas pump, flooded roads in the aftermath of Katrina and other supposed Republican failures, plus images of Jack Abramoff and a Photoshopped mug shot of Rep. Tom DeLay bearing a made-up and somewhat cryptic tag of “091108GOP.” The Democratic half of the video is happy time: Photos of laborers hard at work, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, a smiling Asian infant on a swing and a triumphant Bill Clinton. Cheery music plays. “It’s time to do your part,” a caption reads. The message: Republicans are bad oil-mongering soldier-killers, Democrats are good multiculturalists.

“Regardless of what your views on the war may be, this crosses the line,” said Tom Reynolds, New York Republican and chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. “Rahm Emanuel owes our troops, their families and the families of the fallen an apology.” Mr. Reynolds is right to be critical. War dead are never to be used for political gain, much less in an ongoing conflict. Reasonable people should be able to agree on that.

But why even show coffins in the first place? To hide the lack of any real message except anti-Bushism. As National Review’s Jim Geraghty put it colorfully: “[T]he ad says jack squat about what Democratic legislators would do differently in Iraq, probably because they couldn’t get a consensus in their caucus if their political lives depended on it.” His conclusion: “Democrats are aiming to turn this year’s election into a referendum, not a choice between two options — up or down on Bush, not ‘yes, I prefer the Democratic agenda.’” Of course not. There is no such agenda.

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