What I learned from the Ricketts/Jeremiah Wright story

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by David Safier

Am I surprised some billionaire wants to revive the Jeremiah Wright story this campaign? Not at all. Nor am I surprised his team put together a long "campaign playbook" that goes far beyond the video they planned to use to launch the assault. That's what Republican operatives do much better than Democrats. They plan three steps ahead, or four steps, of fourteen steps.

So, they think to themselves, we're going to put out an ad reinforcing the link between Obama and Jeremiah Wright. The Democrats are certainly going to label us racists. How do we turn that to our advantage?

We have an "extremely literate conservative African-American" waiting in the wings to be our spokesman defending us against the charge. He's Obama in conservative garb. "How can you call us racists when this very intelligent [African American, but we don't have to say that] man agrees with us?"

Oh, and while we have him out there defending us, let's use him for the next phase of our attack. Let's label Obama as a "metrosexual." Remember how we used that against Kerry and Edwards? And now that Obama is nearly gay with his gay marriage stance, the [wink-wink, nudge-nudge] insinuation might work even better.

Next, let's see if we can belittle Obama by saying he's trying to pose as a "black Abe Lincoln.” Put the two together, "metrosexual" and "black Abe Lincoln,” and Obama is some kind of effeminate clown who thinks gays are the new slaves. Throw in Jeremiah Wright, and he's using all this to promote a black power "God damn America" agenda.

I remember watching in awe, and enraged admiration, as the Swiftboat assault was rolled out against Kerry. As soon as one part of their story was debunked, they pulled out a new charge setting off another round of media coverage. When that was found lacking, along comes charge number three, then four, then five. These charges weren't created on the fly. They were part of an assault laid out by political generals who know you have to predict how the enemy is going to respond, then have a counter assault ready, followed by another counter assault and another and another. No good chess player makes a move without thinking half a dozen moves ahead. The Republicans understand that. I'm not sure Democrats do.