From the people who brought you the Swift Boat veterans campaign against John Kerry in 2004 comes "consultants to orchestrate attacks on AARP" as reported in the New York Times and reprinted online elsewhere.
These anti-AARP efforts are rooted in neoconservative ideology. Charles Jarvis is president USA Next and was deputy secretary for the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. The true motives of these anti-AARP efforts are clear in this quote from him:
They [AARP] are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts. We will be the dynamite that removes them.
AARP calls your attention to these efforts because media coverage is clear about the aggressive tone of the language. We question why neoconservatives would choose these tactics.
And Steve Soto has some fine suggestions about how the Democrats should respond. What would happen if Democrats played the political game like Republicans? (read his whole thing.)
First, if he hasn’t done so already, AARP Chief Executive Officer Bill Novelli needs to call Karl Rove and demand that the White House condemn the ad and the tactics of the USAN. Of course Rove will not do this, and Novelli should tell Rove that failure to do this will be interpreted by the AARP as a sign that the White House supports and was a partner in this smear and in future smears.
Second, the AARP should do a press conference after the call to Rove for two reasons: first, they should show the despicable ad to the media and point out to what lengths Bush’s supporters will go to smear the AARP; secondly Novelli should reveal at the press conference that he has demanded the White House repudiate the ad and the USAN smear campaign, and has received no such repudiation from the White House. As a result, Novelli should tell the media that the AARP will assume the White House supports this smear.
Third, after this press conference, Howard Dean should have a press conference whereby he calls on Ken Mehlman at the RNC to repudiate the ad and the smear of the USAN by the end of the day. Dean can then also say that the DNC will be watching to see if the RNC does in fact repudiate this ad and smear, and if the RNC does not do so, the DNC will assume that the RNC plans to engage in the worst kind of politics to support the privatization of Social Security. Dean can then remind the media that such a smear seems amazing given that it was revealed just last week that the White House and RNC worked to get a gay prostitute past the White House security system into the press pool to participate in a disinformation campaign against the American people.