Last night, on Hardball, Chris Matthews had on
Chris Charlie Jarvis of USA Next, the group that made the stupid attack ad on AARP; the following little bit of dialogue ensued, as if out of an absurdist play:
JARVIS: That was a tiny little ad on one Web site.
MATTHEWS: Who approved it? Did you?
MATTHEWS: Why did you approve it?
JARVIS: Because I wanted to test to see how long it would take for the liberal blogs in this country to go berserk over a single image.
Since the idea of a right-wing group making an attack ad that's false in order to see if the left reacts is so laughable, I went to my trusty computer afterward to see if anyone else was commenting on it. Kevin Drum had a bit from CNN's Inside politics, in which Jarvis said almost the same thing:
JARVIS: We were testing to see whether left liberal groups would overreact. And they did. The hypothesis was that they would focus on one single tiny image on one Web site.
And Kevin added:
POSTSCRIPT: By the way, Jarvis claims the ad is a legitimate attack on ARRP because "they do not take a position on veterans and combat veterans health" and because they opposed the Ohio gay marriage ban. The first charge is ridiculous and the second is mendacious. AARP clearly stated that they opposed the Ohio law — and only the Ohio law — because it was so broadly and vaguely written that they were afraid it could affect things like power of attorney for unmarried older couples both straight and gay.
And that got me thinking. If you can take one position by one group on one state referendum, and infer a generalized position from that; and if you can take the fact that the same group hasn't taken a position on a different issue and generalize from that; and you think this is ad is fair:
then you must also think this ad is fair:
My photoshop skills aren't great, so apologies for that. If someone can do better, let me know. And to give credit where it's due, this was Heather's idea.
The point should be clear. By Mr. Jarvis's standards, this ad is fair. President Bush opposes children being educated because he has underfunded (in consecutive budgets) his own "No Child Left Behind" program, to the tune of $27 billion. So if AARP's opposition to a gay marriage amendment in Ohio for reasons unrelated to gay marriage itself is a sign of their support of gay marriage itself, than surely Mr. Bush's withholding money from the states for an education program is a sign of his opposition to education in general.
As for the second image, as far as I know, Mr. Bush has taken no position on whether he likes mushroom clouds or not. And we if can infer that AARP's lack of a position on veterans's benefits means they oppose them, surely we can infer that Mr. Bush's lack of a position on whether he likes mushroom clouds or not is a sign that he favors them.
Wow, I bet you didn't know that President Bush hates the military and is in favor of gay marriage. But I'm sure Mr. Jarvis would agree with me that Bush is both; given that the President wants to cut benefits and education opportunities from veterans in his current budget, he must be anti-military.
Some conservative groups expressed dismay Tuesday over President Bush's tolerance of state-sanctioned civil unions between gay people — laws that would grant same-sex partners most or all the rights available to married couples.
"I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so," Bush said in an interview aired Tuesday on ABC. Bush acknowledged that his position put him at odds with the Republican platform, which opposes civil unions.
And given that President Bush also said, when asked in 2000 by Larry King, "If a state were voting on gay marriage, you would suggest to that state not to approve it?" that "The state can do what they want to do," I think we can easily infer that Bush supports gay marrage. So that ad is also accurate.
How about this one:
That may seem confusing, but it's really not, if you're using Mr. Jarvis's standards. As we said above, we can clearly infer from Mr. Bush's statements above that supports gay marriage. But we can clearly infer from other Bush statements that he opposes gay marriage:
I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or the other.
So you should thank me for making everything clear. Now you know the real Bush agenda. President Bush opposes gay marriage. But he wants to force gay marriage on this country. Right, Mr. Jarvis?