How far is too far?

Published February 23, 2005 2:49PM (EST)

As we noted yesterday, the conservative political lobbying group USA Next has hired some of the brainpower behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to create advertisements smearing the AARP, which USA Next sees as a "roadblock" in the way of George W. Bush's plans for Social Security.

The first ad went up on the internet this week -- and just like that it's down again. The two-photo spot alleged that "The Real AARP Agenda" involves opposing U.S. troops and supporting men in tuxedos who happen to be kissing each other. It's gone from the American Spectator site, where USA Next placed it, but the blogger Digby has it up for your viewing pleasure.

USA Next tells the New York Times that the ad was just a test, whatever that means, and that it will be back soon with more anti-AARP advertising. But could it be that over-reaching is over-reaching, and that there are better ways to debate Social Security than by questioning your opponents' patriotism and smearing others with your own homophobia? Just asking.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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