GOP politics in a nutshell

A new House Republican ad warns that we'll all be slaughtered, and soon, by bad dark people, unless we give the government all the new unchecked powers it's demanding.

Published February 21, 2008 7:33PM (EST)

(updated below)

The House Republicans have produced a new dramatic ad (below) complaining about expiration of The Protect America Act and demanding immediate passage of the Cheney/Rockefeller Senate bill -- thus vesting in the government the power to spy on us with no warrants and vesting in the telecom industry license to break the law with no consequences -- as the only way for us to avoid imminent, violent death (h/t Kathryn Jean Lopez). The ad -- entitled "America at Risk" -- should immediately be mounted on a museum wall under a plaque that reads: "The Republican Party in the U.S., 2001-2008 (and counting)."

Impressively, the ad dramatically packs every component of GOP politics into one minute: There are dark, primitively omnipotent Arab Terrorists lurking darkly and menacingly, planning to slaughter you and your whole entire family right now. You have only a few seconds to live, literally or metaphorically. The clock on your life is counting down right now. You are in severe danger.

We want more unchecked government power. You better give it to us, or else the Terrorists will kill you all. Give up more power to us, do what we say, and you can lay your head down on your pillow at night without a care in the world, knowing that we love you and are keeping you Safe and Protected -- Keeping America Protected -- like a baby snugly embraced in the womb. You want that, don't you? We want to give it to you. The House Democrats want you dead.

The ad uses the typing-in-progress computer font and a Heritage-like stopwatch counting the seconds before we're all dead, as popularized by 24 and scary Terrorist movies. It stars Admiral Mike McConnell, the telecom industry's personal cabinet member and a completely apolitical, trustworthy government official, even though he was appointed by and reports to George W. Bush and has been caught lying in the past about our intelligence programs and hysterically hyping Terrorist threats for base political gain. But when he speaks, on Fox, that is Objective Authority warning us that we will all be dead -- and soon -- unless we give in to every one of the Leader's demands.

The ad also features a convincing cameo by Democrat Jay Rockefeller, in the role normally played by Dick Cheney, warning in stern, Serious, forehead-scrunched, paternal tones that we're all going to die soon without his bill. The whole thing is set to blood-pumping, They're-coming!! music. It's very uplifting, very exciting, and not at all manipulative or exploitive. We just need to be safe. That's all that matters. Please, anything for that. Spy on us with no warrants. Give everything to the telecom industry that they demand. Just please protect us in your strong and loving arms.

Just by the way, the whole premise of the ad is that we're all about to be slaughtered because the Protect America Act expired. It expired because George Bush threatened to veto any extensions and House Republicans unanimously voted against any extension. Our blood, to be gushing shortly like a volcanic eruption, will be on their loving, protective hands.

UPDATE: The House Republicans should be sued for copyright infringement, for pilfering this Season 7 trailer for 24. The whole thing is identical in tone and style. As but one example: from the 24 ad:

From the House GOP ad:

Also, compare Sen. Rockefeller from the House GOP video to the Senator in the 24 video who questions Jack Bauer about all the Americans he saved by Torturing the Terrorists:

It takes a pretty barren and desperate political party so brazenly to copy entertainment shows like this, all in order to scare Americans into believing they're about to die -- seconds away! 3, 2, 1 . . . Needless to say, all of the Serious people (by definition) agree with the message of this ad: support warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty or prepare for certain death.

By Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

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