The big news in this sleepy (and in D.C., sunless) August week is the return of gentleman Ari Fleischer at the helm of an astroturf (i.e., fake grassroots) group called Freedom's Watch. Its goal: To spend $15 million (they don't have to tell us where they got it, but probably not from Taking Heat's gross receipts) in TV ads in Republican districts, shoring up support for the Iraq War.
But no one's pointing out that, well, the same thing was tried just last year. Progress for America Voter Fund, the pro-GOP 527 that had run successful ads boosting Bush over Kerry by pointing out that Bush liked to hug children, started a front group called "Midwest Heroes" and ran commercials with brave soldiers and grieving families pleading with Congress to keep the war going. Here was one of them:
This was meant to put Democrats on the spot for their shifting anti-war positions. And then in November Rep. Mark Kennedy—the best or second-best candidate the GOP had recruited for a Senate race—lost by 20 points, and the GOP lost one House seat to an anti-war Democrat, Tim Walz. All of which is to say that actual victory in Iraq or a 180 degree turn against the war are really the only things that could save the GOP.
UPDATE: From Jake Tapper's report:
"There's been a three-year silence from conservatives and others who believe in peace through strength," Fleischer told ABC News. "The cavalry is coming, we're going to help to get that message out," he said.
Yes, a difficult couple of years, what with anti-war pundits being promoted to plum jobs across the media and pro-war Americans shunned from polite society and smeared for "hating the troops."