When Republicans attack

At the National College Republican convention, the leader of the GOP tries to paint the Democratic candidates as historical losers.

Published July 13, 2007 4:51PM (EDT)

It may still be early in the presidential campaign cycle, but the Grand Old Party is already at work on fresh lines of attack to undermine the Democratic candidates. Mike Duncan, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, sketched out his plans Friday morning in an address to the 57th biennial College Republican National Convention.

"The Democrats are the old way," he said. "They believe in recycling...They are recycling their candidates." With that as his theme, he was off to the races. Joe Biden, he argued, was a reincarnation of 1968 presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey. "He is a plagiarist," said Duncan. Hillary Clinton, was a reincarnation of John Kerry. "She is always flip-flopping." Barack Obama is Al Gore in disguise. "Remember the guy who invented the Internet?" Duncan asked. "Obama exaggerates everything...He exaggerates and that's because he is a novice."

Then Duncan asked the crowd of overdressed college kids to guess the historical Democrat that John Edwards was aping on the trail. "George McGovern," someone yelled out. "Geraldine Ferraro," suggested another. Nope. The correct answer, which came on the third try, was Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic candidate for president. "Edwards is so much like Dukakis," Duncan went on. "You remember the guy in the tank with the hat, except he doesn't have a tank, and he would never wear a hat to mess up his $400 haircut."

This was a bit like saying George W. Bush is Bozo the clown, except he doesn't wear a big red nose or make people laugh, but the crowd ate it up anyway. "We're going to have a lot of fun this fall," Duncan promised. They will indeed.

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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