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Off the record, rival campaigns are calling Huckabee’s put-the-Christ-back-in-Christmas ad “brilliant.” (More than one campaign used that exact same word.)

And, it’s true, as an ad, it sells Huck well — and (this is the brilliant part) — makes Mitt Romney look like a Grinch. As a political ad it leaves something to be desired. Namely, politics. (See the NYT’s unintentionally hilarious fact check of it here. The Times has a more intentionally humorous take on the candidate here. Watch out for the flying Huck-a-bees!)

Today, we get Rudy’s Christmas ads. Yup, two of ’em. Guess when you don’t go to church regularly, you have to compensate. They are more political and less Christiany than Huck’s spot (he’s not over compensating, I guess), and not just in their lack of reference to religion.Though they do feature “St. Nick,” Santa Claus. In this one — on the air in New Hampshire — it’s a weirdly vindictive Santa Claus. (Mr. Claus recoils at the notion of wanting all the campaigns to get along… Maybe he’s Satan’s brother.):

And, er, more “humorous” one that’s web-only. (Giuliani seems as serious about giving us all fruitcake as he does our civil liberties. And nothing screams Republican Presidential nominee like a dude in a sweater vest lisping the words “fruit cake!”):

But here’s what bothers me about both of them: Wanting to force your own policies on the entire nation and calling it a “Christmas gift”? Orwell wept. Not only is that selfish, it verges on fascist. Imagine that impulse followed through with on a more traditional wishlist: “Everyone is getting a Wii, damnit! I don’t care what you asked for! Here’s your Wii and you’ll like it. Or I’ll waterboard you. WIIS FOR YOU ALL, BWHAHAHAHAHAHAH!”

(And, er, strictly speaking, shouldn’t “strict constructionist judges” what you get when you’re naughty?)