Debra J. Saunders

And he calls that thoughtful. If the Kerry gaffe is being a tad overplayed, at least this brouhaha has forced the geniuses at the Republican National Committee to depart from sleazoid mudslinging at Democrats -- the stuff that was plastered all over cable news before Kerry's tripping of the tongue. As in, "Harold, call me" -- the RNC spot that features a blonde bimbo talking about meeting Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., who is running for the Senate, at a Playboy party. Ditto Virginia Sen. George Allen's release of weird quasi-sexual excerpts from rival James Webb's novels.

As GOP consultant Ed Rollins noted over the phone, a candidate is in trouble "when the only thing you can make for your case is the guy wrote some pornographic stuff."'

And, "The thing about negative advertising is, it has to be effective." To be effective, negative ads ought focus on policy issues, such as taxes.

Like many Republicans, I am furious with the recent GOP leadership -- for pork-barrel spending, for jet-setting on convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dime and for showing more interest in retaining power than serving the interests of the American people.

Still, I see no remedy in replacing good and bad Republicans with Democrats who want to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Democrats argue that a timetable will put pressure on the Iraqi government to perform. I know some voters want to believe that is true. But the one sure result will be to confirm to the followers of Osama bin Laden that bin Laden was right to dismiss America as a "paper tiger" that "after a few blows" runs in defeat.

The 2006 races have featured candidates who compete over who is the biggest victim, but I don't think Americans want to win the "biggest loser" title in the war against terrorists.

Debra J. Saunders

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