Ari Fleischer's big failure

The Bush flack's much-hyped Freedom's Watch is going belly up.

By Joan Walsh

Published November 24, 2008 11:42PM (EST)

Given the state of the economy, it's hard to cheer when any organization shuts down, but I enjoyed a Nevada newspaper's report that funder Sheldon Adelson is set to pull the plug on Ari Fleischer's silly Freedom's Watch.

Fleischer launched the conservative advocacy group, set up to support pro-war GOP candidates, with self-aggrandizing bravado, announcing, "For people who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming." Describing pampered Beltway lobbyists and fat cats as "cavalry" in a time of war was bad, but it was worse when Fleischer used real disabled soldiers in his Freedom's Watch ads, but couldn't remember their names.

On Monday the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that after spending $30 million in the last election cycle, Freedom's Watch was winding down. The group's spokesman refused to give the Review Journal a list of the races where it was active, although in Las Vegas itself it ran goofy, ineffectual ads against Democrat Dina Titus, who won.

In the anti-meritocracy that is the GOP, Fleischer is sure to be rewarded with another cushy post, but let's celebrate small victories.


Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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