Six years ago, Saxby Chambliss authorized the most vilified political campaign ad of the past decade, one that questioned the courage of then-Sen Max Cleland a triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran by showing pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
Well, prepare for deja vu. Last week, a new attack ad debuted on local TV channels, this one aimed at Chambliss' runoff opponent, Jim Martin, and incoming president Barack Obama. This time, instead of using the magic of video to link the Democrats to bin Laden, they've chosen Mohamed Atta, leader of the 9/11 hijackings, to serve as the bogeyman.
On the left is Atta's familiar FBI mug shot, taken from his Florida driver's license photo:
and on the right is a screenshot from about 10 seconds into the new anti-Martin ad; Atta's mug shot is top center:
Not wearing your glasses? Here's an enlarged detail:
The ad itself is your typically scurrilous GOP attempt to scare uninformed white voters shitless by using inflammatory, hyperbolic and even nonsensical claims. Here's the full text:
Barrack Obamas just one Senate vote away from total control.
Hell give 12 million illegal aliens citizenship, Social Security, even drivers licenses.
Dont believe it? Just ask him.
[Obama video clip:] We need to offer those who are willing to make amends a pathway to citizenship.
And hell pay for it by crushing new taxes.
A vote for Jim Martin is a vote for Obamas radical agenda.
Say no to Jim Martin and stop Barrack Obama.
The National Republican Trust PAC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.
I don't get the part about "even drivers licenses." You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to legally obtain a drivers license in this country now, so having Obama as president won't change anything on that count. I suspect that line is in the ad to confuse xenophobes who are ignorant of current law or simply to have an excuse to slip Atta's mug shot into the video.
I'm also struck by the breath-taking irony of trying to worry voters about our next president by invoking a terrorist who successfully carried out a devastating attack on this country under the watch of our current president. What's the message here: Pres. Obama might be as big a fuck-up as Pres. Bush?
But, of course, an ad like this isn't intended to stand up to logical scrutiny. It's intended to stoke people's unreasoning fears through carefully chosen phrases "crushing new taxes," "radical agenda" etc. and, of course, scary images that have an almost subliminal effect.
Now, I realize this isn't an official Saxby ad. The National Republican Trust PAC is a group behind some of the most despicable TV ads of the recent election season, most of them aimed at Obama. In fact, it played the Atta card before in a pre-election ad that asked, "Did you know that Mohamed Atta, the 9/11 ring leader, had a valid Florida drivers license?" and then claimed Obama wanted to hand out drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
Never mind that Atta wasn't here illegally he had a valid U.S. visa or that he didn't need a drivers license to buy his fateful plane ticket. Or even that drivers licenses are issued by states, not the federal government
But there I go again, applying logic to an illogical message. The real message that I get from the PAC's latest ad supporting Saxby is: "It worked before; maybe it'll work again."
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