… before the truth can even get its pants on. I have mixed feelings about the parody ad copy someone is circulating and is being taken as real Brady Campaign copy. I won’t help to spread it or promote it by showing it here, but I’ll probably surprise some people by saying under the right circumstances, something similar to this could be an extremely effective tactic. Maybe because it was obvious to me when I first saw it that it was parody,Â I actually don’t think such a tactic is necessarily damaging to the cause.
Nonetheless, even as parodies go pretty outrageous rather than something that tickles the funny bone. There’s enough grain of truth to it that makes people wonder if maybe it is real, and it plays on a lot of our beliefs about the other side. Comments made during the debate over gun control in Colorado only make it seem more likely it’s real. Think about the factors:
- It’s outrageous, so it spreads.
- Even for people who recognize it’s parody, it turns the issue around and makes people think about it from our point of view.
- For people who don’t get its parody, it engages them with the issue. They may find it’s false, but then why did they believe it?
- The media can debunk it, but by doing that they just draw attention to our own message.
I’m not saying this is great, and Â there ought to be more of this. Because we’re currently doing well in the debate, I think the straight and narrow is the best path forward; we just don’t need to use deception to win. I’m concerned, though, that we think about tactics in terms of their effectiveness, and not be too concerned about whether a tactic is fair to the other side. That we took the ethical high ground will be of little comfort when the knock comes at the door.
We’re faced with opponents who have no qualms at all about using deception to advance their cause. I think we need to be committed to winning above most other considerations. I agree with Miguel that we don’t need to be using tactics like this in the current environment, but I’ll take a dirty win over a clean loss.