- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
The new superPAC AmericanLP is launching the following ad in Iowa and New Hampshire this week:
The ad is brilliant in an evil genius sort of way. Romney, speaking in French in 2002, mouths some platitudes about the upcoming Salt Lake City Winter Olympics while the English subtitles consist of previously stated left-of-center-seeming positions from the Republican.
One might assume that the ad is the handiwork of one of Romney’s more conservative opponents since France-bashing is a time-honored tactic to use against effete-seeming liberals. But in fact, AmericanLP founder T.J. Walker is a self-described liberal democrat who says the ad is "payback time for the Republicans and the conservatives who mocked Kerry and even produced ads mocking Kerry, showing Kerry speaking French”:
He said the goal of the ad is to influence conservatives in this cycle to turn against Romney, whom he called the “only sane, rational candidate.” Walker also said that “The mere fact that we can show him speaking French fluently, we believe, is going to irritate primary voters."
In a follow-up video, Walker says that Fox News has declined to run the ad on the grounds that it’s misleading. (For what it’s worth, judging by the comments on YouTube, not everyone seems to get that the subtitles are a joke.)
The ad does seem like a bit of a cheap shot. Then again, given Romney’s habit of referring to any Democratic policies he doesn’t agree with as "European, " he may have been asking for it.