Let the games begin! With Howard Dean poised to steal the Democratic nomination, the rest of the country is preparing for the onrushing Dean Machine. Grocery stores are stocking boxes of tinfoil hats for Dean supporters. Fast-food chains have ordered Hitler-to-Bush transformers for Deaniac tots. For Dean's Christian target audience, there's the WWJDABP (What Would Jesus Do About Bike Paths?) wristband. For his Southern audience, there's the metrosexual gun rack -- "Tote Your Shotgun In Style!" (available in lavender for a limited time only).
The Dean voter is a new breed. He/she/both/none of the above combines the leftism of Lisa Simpson with the paranoia of Elliot Carlin. The Dean supporter mixes the pacifism of Jeannette Rankin with the smoldering hatred of Ted Kaczynski.
Don't believe me? Check out the folks at MoveOn.org. This ultra-liberal Web site sponsored an ad contest. The location: Bushin30seconds.org. The goal: create a 30-second ad making the case against George W. Bush. The judges: Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo, Jack Black, James Carville, Donna Brazile, Margaret Cho, Al Franken, Jessica Lange, Michael Mann, Gus Van Sant and Eddie Vedder, among others. The prize: The winning ad will be shown the week of President Bush's 2004 State of the Union address. The result: priceless.
Forget the highly publicized Bush/Hitler ads likening our president to the Nazi monster. Let's take the MoveOn.org officials at their word and assume that a screening error took place. Instead, look at the finalists chosen by MoveOn.org voters. A few are clever. Several are obnoxious. Most are hilarious.
Many of the ad-makers demonize President Bush by stating that Bush's policies victimize children. Charlie Fisher's "Child's Pay" depicts young children as janitors, manual laborers, sanitation workers and grocery clerks. "Guess who's going to pay off president Bush's $1 trillion deficit?" the graphic asks. Apparently, street urchins breaking child labor laws.
Different ad, same message for Fred Surr, Ted Page and Janet Tashjian. A series of children stand behind a podium. The sign on the podium reads: "The Next President." "As president, I'll lie about weapons of mass destruction as a pretext to invade another country," one boy tells the audience. "I promise to keep you in a state of fear and anxiety, so you never question what we're doing," a girl says. The final graphic: "What are we teaching our children?" Here's a solution liberals can handle: abort the children. End of problem.
Several ads focus on President Bush's "jobless recovery." Only one problem: The recovery is no longer jobless. Jobless claims are currently at their lowest level since the start of the Clinton recession. It's no wonder, then, that the MoveOn.org finalists can't get their facts straight. Nathania Vishnevsky claims in "Hood Robbin'" that 3.3 million jobs have vanished. According to Lisa M. Rowe's "Wake Up America," 3 million jobs have been lost. Adam Klugman and Dave Adams' "Bankrupt" states that 2.4 million jobs have disappeared. MoveOn.org itself says that 3.3 million jobs have been lost -- and cites statistics from way back in August to prove it.
Three million, 2.4 million, 3.3 million, whatever. The fibbing justifies the ends. After all, Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction, right? Brian Wilkinson's "Human Cost of War" thinks so: "Lies. The real weapons of mass destruction," his ad reads. "He Lied. They Died," concurs Mike Cuenca's "Bring 'Em On." Shockingly -- shockingly! -- these ads simply rip quotes from President Bush out of context. Not one word quoted from Bush in either ad is false.
I've saved two of the best for last. One of my favorites is Eric Martin's "Bush's Repair Shop." President Bush and Vice President Cheney are portrayed as mechanics, destroying a car they are charged with fixing. The car is beaten to smithereens, symbolizing America's destruction at the hands of this diabolical duo. At least when Republicans destroy a car, they don't do it by going off a bridge and leaving a woman in the back seat.
Here's my choice for best ad: Mark Vicente's "Imagine." It's pure genius. A series of talking heads morphing into one another deliver the following message: "Imagine a world where corporations choose leaders, put them in power, and have them rewrite laws to increase profit. Imagine a world where corporations start wars to create an increased demand for their product. Imagine a world where the news media, owned by these corporations, only tells the public what they want them to know. Imagine a president who sells out his people and their environment to boost the wealth of a few. Unbelievable? It should be." "THINK," the graphic concludes.
"THINK" is right. Think about how much fun this election cycle is going to be.