Liberal! Liberal! Liberal!

Having looked (via Greg Sargent) at Mitt Romney’s latest campaign ad, I’m feeling a strong sense of deja vu. To be more precise, I’m feeling very 1986, the year no Republican political communication was complete without the “L word,” uttered as an epithet: “Liberal!” The new ad features (twice) a photo of Barack Obama all snuggled up with Nancy Pelosi, as the voice-over talks about “the liberals” raising middle-class taxes to pay for “government-run health care” even as Mitt ‘n’ Paul (and other “common-sense conservatives”) grimly fight to cut middle-class taxes and eliminate loopholes benefitting the rich.

It’s generally assumed that ads launched just before a presidential debate probably indicate the intended messaging of the candidate’s debate appearance. If so, it looks like Romney is going to stare into the cameras as often as possible and utter big, dumb lies aimed at low-information voters while reinforcing the more primitive of conservative “base” beliefs. The Obamacare-increased-your-taxes meme is useful because it take a lot of ‘splainin to rebut, as does the convoluted Romney claim that middle-class folks will do better than the wealthy under his own tax proposals.

I don’t know if this is what conservatives gabbers had in mind when they urged Mitt to “go large” in the stretch run. “My liberal opponent and his liberal friends want to raise your taxes and let government run your lives” is a “big” theme in the sense that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is “big” entertainment aimed at putting a big stupid grin on your face. I suppose the message in the new Romney ad could be dumbed down even more–the black man and the wicked witch want to take away your money and I want to give you more money–but presumably they want to save the hard sale for the final week or two of the campaign.

All in all, tomorrow night could be the longest 90 minutes in the history of political television.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.