The Super PAC supporting Rick Perry is airing a new ad bashing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in familiar terms. But it does so through a whimsical, old-timey newsreel device which I assume is meant to make the message feel less nasty. The Perry camp is probably mindful of the double-edged sword of going negative–namely that attack ads tend to hurt their targets, but can also inflict collateral damage on their originator. Whether a light touch actually mitigates that risk, I don’t know.
I do know that the ad says something rather strange about Gingrich–namely that he “joined with Nancy Pelosi to support global warming.” Read those last three words again. It’s obvious what this actually refers to–Newt and Nancy cut an ad for a nonprofit group urging (unspecified) solutions to prevent global warming. The Perry team, which perhaps considers the whole concept of global warming to be a fantasy, has condensed this to mean the opposite. The literal implication now is that Gingrich plotted a supervillain-style plan to bake the earth, perhaps by means of those space mirrors he’s mused about. Why Pelosi would be along for this nefarious ride is even harder to explain, unless of course Michael Crichton was right to imagine that environmentalists would actually try to manipulate the weather for political and economic gain. How all this would play with hard-core Iowa caucus voters is anyone’s guess.