In a Swing State Near You: Attack Ads and Energy Policy

The recent run of negative ads out of the McCain campaign has certainly gained attention for their deceitful, dishonest, and petty attacks. The "Celeb" ad, on the heels of the clearly false claim about the Obama camp canceling the visit to Landstuhl because they couldn’t have media present, seemed to serve as a tipping point for catching the ire of mainstream journalists and even a former McCain advisor. These false claims, on top of ads using imagery clearly designed to scare people about Obama by calling him presumptuous (read: uppity), have lead to the McCain campaign looking, as NDN President Simon Rosenberg wrote this morning, bitter, spiteful, jealous, and angry. Certainly not Presidential.

Meanwhile, substance has gone straight out the window – or has it? As a backdrop to these attacks and counter attacks, energy policy has stayed at the fore of the campaign. But, like in the primary, energy policy is being used to attribute character traits.

In case you somehow haven’t seen it, "Celeb:"

The ad, of course, makes a lot of odd choices (Britney, Paris) that have been discussed ad nauseum. It also chooses to claim that Obama wants to raise taxes on electricity and keep America dependent on foreign oil. The foreign oil claim would be defensible if one somehow bought the claim that lifting the offshore drilling ban would do anything meaningful, but at least the argument follows. It’s the raising electricity tax claim that is so absurd – the only Obama proposal that would raise the price of electricity is Cap and Trade legislation, which McCain supposedly favors as well.

So why make the claim? Well, if Democrats, allegedly, are two things, it’s that they care more about what foreigners think than "real" Americans and want to take your money. So, if the theme is energy, then McCain needed to find two issues to fit the go-to template.

This sort of campaigning is ok though, because, from’s Ben Smith, McCain is proud:

"All I can say is we’re proud of that commercial," McCain said. "We think Americans need to know that I believe that we should base this campaign on what we can do for Americans at home and how we can make Americans safe and prosperous and that’s the theme of our campaign."

"I respect and admire sen Obama, but we have stark differences," McCain said. "And those differences need to be drawn."

"These campaigns are tough," he said, "But I'm proud of the campaign we've run."

Obama’s response, "Low Road:"

Independent groups have also chosen to engage on the issue with six-figure buys. From the Sierra Club, airing in Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio and Washington, D.C. "Full-Nelson:"

And from MoveOn, "Gimmick:"

On the off chance that you're tired of the negative ads, NDN will be hosting a speech from Assistant U.S. Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin on the Green Economic Opportunity tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. at the Phoenix Park hotel in Washington, D.C. The address will be followed by a panel on "Energy and the American Way of Life." For more information, and to RSVP, click here.