John Kerry's Silent Spring

A few weeks ago, the Bush campaign launched a negative television ad that many Democratic consultants thought was pretty clever. It featured ancient, goofy Keystone Kops footage and suggested, not too subtly, that John Kerry was pretty goofy too: he supported a 50¢-a-gal. gas tax. Leave aside the fact that this was not quite accurate--Kerry's support for the tax was fleeting, theoretical and a decade past--the ad was sharp, different-looking, sort of humorous. The consultants assumed it would cut through the info- smog of political-message mongering, that it would make Kerry seem laughably out of touch.

Did it? Perhaps a...

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