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RNC-McCain Ad: Obama’s a Liberal!

If there was one over-arching theme of the final night of the Republican National Convention, it was that liberals cannot be trusted to run things. From former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s condemnation of the “liberal” government in Washington to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s warning against Sen. Barack Obama’s “European ideas,” the message was clear: Obama’s liberal policies will drive this country into the ground — presumably more so than when the GOP controlled both the presidency and Congress, but I digress.

The Republican National Committee and the McCain campaign released a new TV ad that seems to confirm this will be a principal line of attack against the Democratic presidential nominee between now and November.

PRODUCTION NOTES: The ad, titled “Temple,” begins with an image of Obama on the pillared stage at Invesco Field on the final night of the Democratic National Convention as a stadium full of cameras flash. A female announcer says, “Take away the celebrity. The thrilling words. What’s left?” The stadium goes dark. The announcer continues:

Old ideas masquerading as change.

Obama and his liberal allies promise higher taxes on your income, life savings, your electric bill.

They oppose offshore drilling.

It’s not change, it’s more of the same.

Obama and his liberal allies. Not ready to lead.

A series of Obama’s “liberal allies” in the Senate appear on-screen as the announcer speaks, including Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

In case this is too subtle for you, the ad is drilling home the notion that Obama is a LIBERAL! He and his buddies want to raise your taxes — despite a recent Tax Policy Center analysis that found Obama’s tax plan would give larger tax cuts to “low and moderate-income households” than would McCain’s. The report found McCain would grant across-the-board tax cuts that favor high-income taxpayers, while Obama would raise taxes on some high-income households to offset his tax cuts for lower-income Americans — and both candidates would greatly increase the national debt.

But that’s not what’s important here. The McCain campaign is banking that among moderate voters, liberal is as much of a dirty word as it is among hardcore conservatives. By repeating the word over and over, just as the RNC speakers did Thursday, the McCain campaign seeks to link Obama to the stereotypical policies favored by “liberals,” as well as his Democratic colleagues in the unpopular Senate.

By focusing on the Democrats in Congress, McCain is trying to run against the opposition party. He want the voting public to focus on how much it hates Congress, not how much it hates President George W. Bush. Unfortunately for him, the election is shaping up into a referendum on the last eight years, not the last two.

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