Both the Bush and Kerry campaigns will pull their campaign ads on Friday, the day of Reagan's funeral, in a goodwill gesture meant to muzzle partisan politicking for 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign has pulled a particularly misleading ad that distorts Kerry's position on the Patriot Act, and, according to the Times, replaced it with a commercial more in keeping with the mood of the week, one that labels Bush an optimist (dare we say, Reaganesque?) and charges Kerry with being a pessimist, a trait that "never created a job." The Bush-Cheney campaign said the ad is more appropriate because it is less "blistering," according to the Times.
Both campaigns insist it would be wrong to seek political gain from the Reagan funeral -- and, we'd like to note, the Republicans would be wise to refrain from exploiting it after they crowed about the tone of the Paul Wellstone memorial service. But if the GOP isn't actively seeking a political boost from Reagan nostalgia, why, then, have we received two emails from Marc Racicot, the chairman of Bush-Cheney '04, pointing us to the president's official re-election campaign Web site, which has morphed into a "living memorial" to Reagan? If you go to www.GeorgeWBush.com, you can no longer find on the home page the typical selection of Bush speeches, ads or even the John Kerry Travel Tracker and John Kerry Gas Tax Calculator. You can get there eventually, but not without first confronting a page that looks as if it's been hacked by Marlin Fitzwater.
Why not direct visitors to an independent site? Why not just use the RNC's Web site, which already has a pretty well established Reagan memorial? There is nothing wrong, of course, with establishing a living memorial Web page for Reagan. But why not just make one, then?
Meanwhile, in Florida, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Johnnie Byrd, seems to be the first candidate using Ronald Reagan in campaign ads. The transcript of what the campaign is calling a "radio tribute" to Reagan is here.