Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mississippi Attack Ad Shows Obama's Difficulties and Liabilities

Via Memeorandum, Ben Smith reports that Mississippi GOP congressional candidate Greg Davis is running campaign spots tying his Democratic opponent, Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers, to Barack Obama (on YouTube):

Here's Smith's commentary:

The Republican candidate in a special election to fill an unexpectedly contested seat in a conservative Mississippi congressional district is using recent controversies surrounding Senator Barack Obama to tar his Democratic rival.

A television ad from Southaven Mayor
Greg Davis tells viewers that his Democratic rival, Travis Childers, a realtor and Prentiss County official, has accepted the endorsement of "liberal Barack Obama."

Then, with Childers' face beside footage of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it says, "When Obama's pastor cursed America, blaming us for 9/11, Childers said nothing."

Then: "When Obama ridiculed rural folks for clinging to guns and religion, Childers said nothing."
"He took Obama's endorsement over our conservative values. Conservatives just can't trust Travis Childers," the ad concludes.

Unlike a much-reported North Carolina Republican ad attacking Obama, the Mississippi spot is actually airing on television.

The spot marks Obama's rapid ascent in conservative demonology, to a place in an attack ad in a contested race that -- until several weeks ago -- would have been lent to Teddy Kennedy or Hillary Clinton.
A National Republican Congressional Committee spot airing in the same district seeks to link Childers to Obama, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi.

The ads are a mark of how difficult, with the nomination apparently within his grasp, Obama will find it to stay above or outside the traditional, bitter partisan divisions he so often deplores.

Meanwhile, as the ad airs, McCain's rhetorical stance seems also to be working:
in a column the editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal deplores Davis's ad, and gives McCain credit for denouncing such spots.
Of course McCain's principled stance is working. He's stayed away from any hint of attack politics all year.

But note again Smith's clarification of Obama's predicament: The Illinois Senator's long portrayed himself as the post-partisan alternative this year, but his own inexperience and campaign failings are opening him up his vulnerabilities to the real hardball world of GOP electoral competition.

What's interesting too is how Hillary Clinton predicted earlier that
she'd be better prepared to battle the Republican Party in the gloves-off arena.

With the GOP preparing to
attack Obama up and down the ticket this year, Clinton's going to have even more firepower in taking the Democratic nomination to the convention - recall yesterday that Michael Barone showed that Clinton now leads Obama in the popular voting throughout the primaries.

Things are getting really interesting!