Ad Wars: Housegate

Yes everyone’s favorite scandal suffix now applies to John McCain’s blunder in counting his houses, and the gaffe has made its way into new ads from Barack Obama and the Democratic party. This is the newest, titled “Out of Touch“:

This comes on the heels of a similar ad, “Seven,” with the same premise. The Democratic National Committee also released a spot mocking McCain, called “How Many?” with man-on-the-street interviews asking people if they’ve ever forgotten how many houses they own. There have also been commercials mocking McCain’s answer from the Saddleback Forum, where he said that the qualifying income to be considered rich is a $5 million a year salary. Yet for the amount of resources the candidate and the party have dedicated to these ads and campaign stops going after McCain, I still don’t think the Democrats have done enough when compared to earlier Republican attacks.

Could you imagine if Barack Obama had said that rich was $5 million a year, or if he forgot how many houses he owned? The story wouldn’t just be in ads, it’d be all over Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Hannity, and getting much more play than this story has seen. Democrats can take a holier than thou approach ad say they won’t make it as huge an issue and Republicans would, but if they really want to win this election, they would have gone after McCain much more than they have. Republicans have won past elections by framing the debate (thank you, George Lakoff), and they’re doing it very well this time around (for instance, they’ve taken the question from “should we be in Iraq?” to “is the surge working?”). If the Democrats were more able to do that – frame the debate by painting their opponent as one thing or another – and if they found the guts to go after McCain for this gaffe the way the Republicans would Obama, they would make this election a lot easier on themselves.


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