LAUGHING IT OFF….Bob Somerby is upset at the lefty blogosphere’s reaction to the Britney/Paris ad aired by John McCain last week:

Instead of laughing at the ad and saying it showed that McCain is a fly-weight, we did what we most love to do — we started a fight about race, casting ourselves as the high-minded party and squealing, shrieking, complaining and yelping about McCain’s misconduct.

….It was amazingly foolish to scream and yell about that Spears/Hilton ad — except to say that its foolishness shows that the GOP wants to distract you. It was especially dumb to discuss it in terms of race — to discuss its alleged “dog-whistle” — since that’s a claim that will almost surely strike most undecided voters as far-fetched, improbable, odd. It wasn’t smart to react that way — unless we don’t care who wins in November.

I’m no political strategist, so I don’t have a big axe to grind here. But Bob’s post gets at a critical point: one of the lessons that liberals learned from the 2004 election is that laughing it off is never the right reaction. No matter the subject, the right response is to hit back often and hard, and the oftener and harder the better. That, I think, was behind the reaction to the Britney/Paris ad.

Now, there are, obviously, different way of hitting back hard. If complaining about dog whistles was the wrong way, there still might have a tough minded response that would have worked better. But laughing at it? No one on the left is in the mood for that these days.

So today’s question is: Is this the right attitude? Or are there times when something different is called for? And in today’s political environment, is laughing it off ever one of them? Comments are open.