Dick Cheney and others have resorted to branding John Kerry as al-Qaeda's candidate, a tactic the New York Times has called "un-American" and "despicable" -- even though Bush has proven to be al-Qaeda's most effective recruiter.
Republican operatives opposed to everything that Ralph Nader stands for have worked hard in key battleground states to get Nader on the ballot solely to siphon votes away from Kerry.
Outright lies have attempted, with partial success, to discredit John Kerry's service in Vietnam. White House spokesman Scott McClellan blatantly lied in saying the Bush campaign wasn't involved in those ads "in any way, shape, or form", a lie exposed almost instantly when Bush campaign staffers had to resign because of their involvement.
Kerry has gotten tougher in his response to these classic Bush tactics, but he still has not hit back in a way that resonates with voters, in the way he is being attacked. That Bush still has even a hope in hell of winning re-election demonstrates how ineffective Democrats have been in exposing his true character and true intentions to an American public that doesn't necessarily understand the issues and accepts baseless innuendo and manipulative lies without question.
Here are a few ads of that type I'd like to see the Kerry campaign use in response to Bush's tactics. The first four are on the overriding issue of combatting terrorism. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, a wide majority of Americans polled believe Bush can protect them against terrorism, a belief that must be disabused.
The first ad emphasizes that Bush has historically had ties to terrorists while Kerry was effective in shutting them down:
Fade in: Dramatic typing, one letter at a time, filling up the screen: B - C - C - I
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "BCCI. Its Pakistani founder used it 'to fight the evil influence of the West' and to finance terrorists and nuclear proliferation."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "Manuel Noriega and the Medellin cartel used it to launder drug money. Also among its clients were Saddam Hussein and Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "In 1987, a BCCI subsidiary loaned George W. Bush's Harken Energy Corporation $25 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, there was a 'mosaic of BCCI connections surrounding Harken since George W. Bush came on board.'"
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "In 1991, John Kerry led the fight against BCCI, 'one of the biggest criminal enterprises in world history.'"
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "One candidate profited from bin Laden's bank of choice. The other candidate shut it down. Who do you want fighting the war on terrorism for you?"
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "George W. Bush says John Kerry doesn't know the enemy. John Kerry not only knows the enemy, he knows how to bust them. Yet another thing George Bush is wrong about."
The next ad was conceived in response to the Bush ad showing John Kerry windsurfing, an ad that Kerry did not do nearly enough to counter. The simple message of that ad that resonates with the electorate even though it is false in claiming that Kerry will go whichever way the wind blows:
Fade in: Smoke billowing from World Trade Center.
Narrator: "Mr. President, do you know which way the wind blows?"
Dissolve to: Bush reading My Pet Goat.
Bush sound bite: "On my watch"
Smoke rising from bombed US army vehicle in Iraq, dissolving back into video of Bush sitting in the My Pet Goat classroom, jump/zoom one step in.
Bush sound bite: "On my watch"
Mushroom cloud with headline superimposed about fear of a North Korea nuclear test, dissolving back into video of Bush sitting in the My Pet Goat classroom, jump/zoom another step in.
Bush sound bite: "On my watch"
Steam rising from cooling towers of nuclear power play with headline superimposed about lax homeland security, dissolving back into video of Bush sitting in the My Pet Goat classroom, jump/zoom another step in and freeze.
Narrator: "Can we afford to trust our watch to someone who does not even know which way the wind blows?"
The third ad on the subject of terrorism paints Bush as ineffective to the point of confusion on capturing Osama bin Laden, and shows how the number of Most-Wanted Terrorists has grown rather than shrunk on his watch:
Fade in: Wild West-style poster of "Osama bin Laden, Wanted Dead or Alive".
Dissolve to George Bush saying at 9/17/2001 press conference: "There's an old poster out West that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"
Dissolve back to bin Laden poster, with Bush V.O. from 9/17/2001 press conference: "I don't know whether we're going to get him tomorrow or a month from now or a year from now."
Dissolve back to Bush at 9/17/2001 press conference: "I don't really know."
Dissolve to video of bin Laden, with Bush V.O. from 9/17/2001 press conference: "Gosh, if he's not gotten by this certain moment, then I'll be disappointed."
Cut to Colin Powell saying on 9/10/2004: "I don't know where he is. I believe he is still alive."
Cut back to Bush saying at 9/17/2001 press conference: "You know, Osama bin Laden is just one person.''
Dissolve to FBI wanted poster of al-Zarqawi, with news V.O. about his voice on execution video.
Dissolve to FBI wanted poster of al-Zawahiri, with news V.O. about his voice on al-Qaeda video.
Cut back to Bush at 9/17/2001 press conference, repeating: "I don't know whether we're going to get him. I don't really know."
The fourth ad on the subject of terrorism is not as laced with irony as the rest -- at least not with humorous irony. Instead, it addresses the dead serious irony of how many people directly involved with terrorism and first-response have abandoned Bush in favor of Kerry:
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "Will the homeland really be safer in the hands of President Bush?"
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "His top expert on terrorism, Richard Clarke, resigned his post because of Bush's lack of attention to al-Qaeda before 9/11 and his obsession with Iraq instead of al-Qaeda afterwards."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "Kristen Breitweister, a registered Republican who voted for President Bush in 2000, and four other 9/11 widows have endorsed John Kerry for president because they say Bush and Cheney 'haven't done enough' to make our country safer."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "The International Association of Firefighters withdrew its post-9/11 support for President Bush and endorses John Kerry for president because Bush 'opposes programs to hire new fire fighters to improve public safety', while Kerry successfully co-sponsored legislation to 'increase fire-fighting equipment for homeland security.'"
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "The International Brotherhood of Police Officers withdrew its support from President Bush and now endorses John Kerry for president, as does the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents 2,000 police associations across the nation."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "Americans on the front lines of homeland security know that George Bush has failed to protect our country. You should too."
The fifth ad is a long overdue response to the ceaseless and baseless Bush attacks painting Kerry's stance on the $87 billion Iraq funding bill as anti-troops and flip-floppy, when the truth is that Bush was anti-troop in his zeal to provide pork for Halliburton:
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "John Kerry was in favor of appropriating $87 billion for our troops in Iraq."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "President Bush threatened to veto the bill unless it awarded more than $20 billion in pork to his friends, cronies like Halliburton."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "John Kerry voted to fund the bill with a temporary suspension of tax breaks for incomes over $400,000 and to make sure there was no conflict of interest funding companies that still to this day pay salary to certain administration officials."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "President Bush through his Republican supporters struck these provisions down, along with others meant to protect middle class taxpayers from subsidizing his friends, cronies like Halliburton."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "John Kerry voted for safety equipment for our troops, for extended medical care for our National Guardsmen, for funds to help troops under fire secure and destroy RPGs and shoulder-launched missiles."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "President Bush was opposed to the medical care provision, and through his Republican supporters struck down other provisions intended to save lives."
Narrator (over relevant imagery): "Why? Because it would divert pork meant for his friends, cronies like Halliburton."
Narrator (over image of Bush smirking): "President Bush jokes about John Kerry's stance favoring our troops over the profiteers at Halliburton."
Narrator (over image of troops dodging RPGs): "They're not laughing in Iraq."
The final advertisement utilizes excerpts from the 2000 debates between Bush and Gore to demonstrate how Bush has misled the public:
Narrator: "In the 2000 debates, George W. Bush proved he would say anything to be elected."
Bush: "I want everybody who pays taxes to have their tax rates cut."
Narrator (over unflattering freeze frame of Bush): "But not equally -- the richest 1% of Americans got more tax relief than the 60% of Americans who make up the middle class -- combined!"
Bush: "A family in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I campaigned with them the other day. They make $51,000 combined income, they pay about $3500 in taxes. Under my plan, they get $1800 of tax relief."
Narrator (over unflattering freeze frame of Bush): "It will take four years for that middle class family to get that much tax relief from Bush while a family in the richest 1% will get $35,000. In ten years, that middle class family will get $8,000 in relief, a family in the richest 1% will get $340,000."
Bush: "Less dependency upon foreign sources of crude is good for consumers. It's an issue I know a lot about. I was a small oil person for a while in west Texas."
Narrator (over unflattering freeze frame of Bush): "US oil production has declined steadily since 2000 while imports have increased. Oil and gasoline prices have reached all-time highs under Bush."
Bush: "Peace in the Middle East is in our nation's interests. Strong relations in Europe is in our nation's interest."
Narrator (over unflattering freeze frame of Bush): "Four years later, we are at war in the Middle East, our relations in Europe in tatters, and our nation's interest held hostage by fugitive terrorists who have not been captured."
Bush: "That's not the role of a president to decide right and wrong."
Narrator (over unflattering freeze frame of Bush): "Not for a president who has been nothing but wrong."