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That's a tricky game even in the often-mindless circus of American politics.  It can backfire quite easily if the attacks are seen to be way over the line, especially in a general election.  The Republicans launched vicious, xenophobic, racist attack ads on the Dems' views of immigration last year, especially in the Deep South, Midwest and Southwest -- the thought apparently being that Mexicans would trump the war, for some reason.  They backfired.  (Funny story: Turns out -- as I've been telling my fellow political junkies here in the states for years it would -- that Americans love to gripe about illegal immigration, but that, at the end of the day, they really don't give a shit.)  The Republicans looked like exactly what they are: vicious, xenophobic and racist, in addition to incompetent (already a given by that point).

Strategically, even if Royal could launch a massive attack, it would be highly risky to say that Sarko is dangerous -- the risk being that she would make it impossible for voters to take her seriously if they didn't perceive Sarko to be truly dangerous.  If you're going to call a candidate dangerous, you'd better have a reason, or you'd better make one up very quickly.  There had better be some serious evidence that he is either preparing to try to take over the world or having sex with his dog or something.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 07:58:45 PM EST
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I agree with you: a negative strategy is doomed to fail (see my comments above).

There had better be some serious evidence that he is either preparing to try to take over the world or having sex with his dog or something

If he was preparing to take over the world, he would be elected with an overwhelming majority: the French still love Bonaparte... For the dog, it's his private life and we don't care...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 09:32:05 PM EST
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Drew, don't know where you live but where I do -- Nevada -- xenophobic attacks on "illegal immigrants" work just fine.

An entirely misleading ad implying that our candidate favored drivers' licenses for "illegal immigrants" sunk the progressive campaign I worked on last year, by taking away a lot of moderate to conservative Democratic voters -- even though they knew the conservative republican would be terrible (as he's turned out to be). Even a lot of people who ended up voting for us didn't understand why she wanted to "give extra rights to illegal immigrants."

And its the gift that keeps on giving -- once established that public services go to "illegal immigrants," it allows republicans to challenge otherwise highly popular programs such as college tuition assistance, publicly subsidized health care or even additional funding for kindergarten.

To keep this on topic, the line that it would only make him look idiotic is what everyone said about LePen in the 70s and 80s.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 10:58:32 PM EST
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