WASHINGTON: Depending on your outlook, Republicans have either started hitting below the belt or stopped ignoring the elephant in the room. Either way, the blitz of GOP attack ads launched in key districts Tuesday night -- with the RNC’s stamp of approval –- means an end to the tacit agreement between the parties that the Lewinsky affair would not play a large role in the fall campaign. One commercial features two women discussing whether it’s "OK to lie"; another asks if voters should "reward not telling the truth"; a third uses the video, but not the audio, of the President denying having had sexual relations with "that woman." Although none use "Bill Clinton" in the same sentence as "lying," the implication is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
Who’s responsible for the sudden reversal? Step forward, the usual suspects: Opinion pollsters. Less than a week before the election, the GOP finds itself running neck-and-neck with Democrats in national polls of likely voters; a good, solid wedge issue is required to get out the core right-wing vote. And what issue in America –- save, perhaps, abortion -- is more divisive and inflammatory than the Clinton scandal? Curiously enough, the new campaign comes as a new FEC report shows Republicans outspending Democrats by a hefty $92 million. With all that cash, maybe they’ll be able to afford a sound track next time.