Observations on the world today.

Monday, March 15, 2004

George Bush's Plan: Pander To The Base? 

Group says Bush ad 'profiles' Arabs
An Arab-American group is calling on President Bush to remove a picture of an unidentified "Middle Eastern-looking" man from a campaign ad that focuses on terrorism.

"It runs counter to everything the president said after [Sept. 11] about not targeting, about not indicting, all Arab Americans," James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said Friday.

The complaint is the second in as many weeks from groups who object to the president's use of images from the war on terrorism in his re-election ads.
Now, I'll admit, I was not one of those who took particular offense at Bush's use of 9/11 imagery in his first ad. I mean, they were news pictures, and they are public domain. If he legitimately feels that he can run on his performance after the WTC disaster, his showing the images is not itself offensive. His performance was, but his using the images to illustrate his point is not.

However, this is a horse of a different color. Showing the eyes of a young man of obvious middle-eastern descent (in this context) is offensive. It smacks of racism. And it was something that any fool should realize was going to be seen as such.

Which brings me to my point. They had to know that this was offensive. They had to. And since they must have known that it would enrage liberals and Arab/Americans, why would they choose to use it? Obviously because they feel that pandering to racism is good strategy. Which either goes to show just how out of touch with America these guys really are, or how spot on they are.

You just know that they tested this ad in front of focus groups, and that afterward, they questioned that group on their reaction. I'm positive that it must have gotten at least some objections. But if they also had those people checked by voice stress monitors or other lie-detector-type sensors, who knows what hidden fears they learned that they were actually tapping into?

So maybe they knew that they were running an objectionable ad, and maybe they just didn't care. Maybe they figured that in the solitude of the voting booth, Americans - or at least the frightened white majority of Americans - really would be just racist enough to vote their bile over both their hearts and their heads.

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