T Nation

Bush's New Ads


How is it that Bush's new ads started airing THIS morning, yet the lead story on most news programs today was that some ( meaning one) families of 9/11 victims are upset by the content? Did these (this) families have a premonition of what the ads would contain, and then contact the media ahead of the actually airing to complain about what their psychic abilities had told them the ads would contain? Holy hell, I hate the media.


They, actually started airing yesterday in some parts of the country (the areas where Bush's poll numbers are slipping). the Firefighters union is angry about the commercials, also.


Reaction of conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg, on which I could not improve (other than to note that maybe we should question the media's use of 9/11 footage in its various promos?):

THE BUSH ADS [Jonah Goldberg]

I'm sorry, but while I have a great deal of sympathy for the families of 9/11 victims, I think these complaints are nonsense squared. A lot more people died during Vietnam than on 9/11 and John Kerry has been running ads with footage from there for months. These families may have a unique relationship to 9/11 but they do not have ownership of that day, politically, culturally or otherwise and it would be absurd if this administration caved on this point, even though I'm sure the media will be delighted to exploit the personal tragedies of these families.


I saw them and I thought they were fine since, they didn't show President Bush with his bullhorn, even though for many people, he became President on that moment.

Also, the news promos often use 9-11 footage.


"...even though I'm sure the media will be delighted to exploit the personal tragedies of these families."

As opposed to the way this administration is exploiting it for it's own political gains.


okay. i was there during the attacks. i was a block away, going to highschool, flirting with some dumb blond trying to bang her out when the planes hit, one after the other. i saw confusion, i saw firefighters covered in white dust and blood, crying. the problem that i have with that whole things is that the bush administration is promoting those ads as if if it wasnt for them, the whole country would be in ruin. they are showing it to further their political agenda, trying to distract america from a failing economy and the war in iraq, and that is fucked up. 3000 people died that day and many more sufferd, and its messed up that someone would use them as a means to be elected.


I honestly don't think the ads go far enough to emphasize the amazing job Bush did to help the country recover after September 11. I think reminding Americans (and the world) that he doesn't take shit is very important.
I'm a grown man and I felt better seeing him standing on that pile of rubble with the bullhorn, letting the world know we were going to strike back. From that moment on it was just a matter of waiting for the bombs to start falling. There was no worrying about what our reaction would be.
I think he needs to contrast his response to terrorist attacks on American interests with the Democrats past responses to the 93 WTC attack, the embassy bombings, and the USS Cole attack.


He shouldn't use the 911 events, and the Democrats should not talk about WMD, and nobody should talk about any previous war, or economics for that matter.

Seriously Bush has been attacked repeatedly about his actions in response to 911. Yet "people" (i.e. specific prepared employees, and supporters of the Democrats) suddenly say it cannot be discussed. Just like any mention of Bush's military history is fair game, but Kerry's is blatant out of line attack.

There is political manipulation going on, but just be sure you recognize all of it. Anyone who says that Bush is not allowed to bring up an event that occurred under his presidency is ignorant. His presidency is defined forever by 911, and nobody can change that.

It is also Bush's biggest positive in his poll numbers, so naturally it is believed that to destroy that one part of his image is the way to win the presidency.

Here is the secret to dealing with political ads. Think for yourself. Don't jump on a bandwagon just because you are told to. Realize that all political parties and politicians are going to do whatever they can to get their party elected.

Listening to the political party ads is like getting all your nutritional information from PETA.


Wall Street Journal Editorial 3/5/04

Is 9/11 an Issue?

September 11, 2001, marked the worst foreign attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor -- the bloodiest ever on the American mainland. It's certainly been the defining event of George W. Bush's Presidency. But according to Democrats and their media echo chamber, it now shouldn't be a campaign issue.

Yes, that was the message being peddled in yesterday's papers by reporters provided with outrage-laden quotes from a single fire-fighters' union and activist relatives of victims of the World Trade Center attacks. With a series of new campaign ads featuring fleeting images of Ground Zero, they charge, Mr. Bush is "exploiting" the tragedy.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised that the President would try to trade on the heroism of those fire fighters in the September 11 attacks," said International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, who happens to have endorsed John Kerry way back in September. "It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," said outspoken victims' family activist and litigant Monica Gabrielle. The theme was quickly picked up by television talkers.

Please. We write this from offices that are 200 yards from Ground Zero and were rendered uninhabitable for almost a year by the attack. (The photo nearby was the view from our windows.) The threat of another such assault, and how to prevent it, has dominated our politics for three years. From tax cuts designed to save the economy from the double-whammy of terrorism and recession, to the Patriot Act, to regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of Mr. Bush's "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East," just about every recent major policy is inextricably linked to the event so mildly depicted in these Bush ads. Isn't an election supposed to be about such things?

Even Democrats know that it is, so they are manufacturing this outrage for a political purpose: President Bush still polls extremely well on his handling of the war on terror, and Democrats are trying to define the debate in a way that keeps him from playing to his strengths. The polls also show that Mr. Bush scores well as a "leader," so Democrats are also trying to stop him from reinforcing that image.

But what is Mr. Bush supposed to do, stop being President? Incumbency clearly has its large (and sometimes unfair) advantages. Yet try as we might, we can't seem to recall similar outrage about Bill Clinton's use of incumbency when he was running for re-election -- at least not outrage that got any media traction.

Where, for example, was the tut-tutting about the former President "exploiting" the Oklahoma City bombing by giving an election-year speech there in April 1996? We'd also take the current handwringing a bit more seriously if we heard any similar worries about John Kerry "exploiting" his service in Vietnam.

One of the oddest things about the hullabaloo over the Bush ads is that these are precisely the kind of campaign spots the self-appointed media referees always say they like: positive, and focused on the candidate's message and record, not on tearing down the other guy. Despite Mr. Kerry's crocodile tears about the Republican "attack machine" and "smear" campaign, neither the President nor any other high-ranking Republican has so far taken a serious jab at either Mr. Kerry's character or his record.

Yet in case they eventually do, Democrats are also busy trying to take that off the table. When Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss recently talked about Mr. Kerry's Senate votes against most U.S. weapons systems, he was assailed for attacking Mr. Kerry's "patriotism." This is an extension of the Max Cleland-as-martyr myth, asserting that it was somehow unfair for Republicans to attack the former Georgia Senator and Vietnam vet in the 2002 elections for his vote against the Homeland Security department.

So the Bush campaign is being presented with something of a Catch-22: Any attempt to talk about the President's own record will be branded "exploitative," while any talk about Mr. Kerry's will be called an attack on his "patriotism." Our advice to Mr. Bush is to choose his message and ignore the whining.

As for Democrats, they'd be wise to get over the idea that Mr. Kerry's Vietnam biography will cover them on the defense issue. For most Americans, 9/11 was the defining event of a generation, and they'll want to hear a serious debate about which candidate has the best policies to keep them safer in the years ahead. The more Democrats complain about Mr. Bush running on national security, the more voters may suspect that Democrats don't have any serious anti-terror ideas of their own.

Updated March 5, 2004


The Wall St. Journal article certainly hit the nail right on the head. I wouldn't take the media blurbs of outrage too seriously. First of all as a New Yorker you come to realize that we complain about everything, often loudly. No issue is too small not to whine about. Second although the firefighters union may not agree with the ad, the local TV stations ran plenty of stories about individual firefighters who supported them. This included one firefighter who lost a cousin and a brother.