The USA Next group intends to combine the two ruthless success stories of the Bush re-election: the Swiftian tactic of amplifying its vicious and dishonest attacks through the media, and the Rovian tactic of hanging gay marriage like an anvil around the neck of a foe.
It began with an almost comically hyperbolic Internet ad that briefly ran on The American Spectator's Web site, painting AARP as pro-gay sex - even though it's tough to think of AARP and steamy lust in the same hot breath - and anti-soldier. It showed a soldier with a red X across him, and two gay men kissing at their nuptuals, with the headline "The REAL AARP Agenda."
Mr. Jarvis defended his ad by saying that he was simply trying to provoke liberal bloggers, and that he succeeded. In fact, part of the sinister beauty of the Swift Boat method is its viral quality: it slips into a host body - "Inside Politics," say - and hijacks it. An ad it showed briefly on the Internet has now been replicated free, all over the world, and, yes, it is now being transmitted through the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.
It's all a matter of perception, isn't it? But control of perceptions is not an exclusive province. Is Mr. Jarvis being disengenuous, or serious? Is it wheels within wheels? Or did even he realize this ad was "ridiculous;" but that all options were on the table?