The Democratic National Committee released a notably aggressive web ad on Tuesday evening, accusing the Republican Party of being taken over by an angry mob of "birther" conspiracy theorists and disgruntled partisans.
The spot, titled "Enough of the Mob," is as engaged as the Democratic Party has been to date with what its own leadership has deemed a fringe element of the GOP. But, with boisterous protests routinely interrupting Democratic town hall events and dominating news coverage, one DNC official put it succinctly: "We aren't going to back down from this shit."
The spot is a minute long. And the DNC official didn't rule it being paired down to air on television. It includes a veritable greatest hits list of conservative attacks on Obama, looping it all together to make the case that "the right wing extremist Republican base" has overrun the GOP.
"They lost the election. They lost on the Recovery Act, the budget and children's health care," the script reads. "They've lost the confidence of the American people after eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of jobs."
"Now, desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs - just like they did during the election. Their goal? Destroy President Obama and stop the change Americans voted for overwhelmingly in November."
The spot reflects the strategy employed by Democrats in the wake of recent disruptions at local town halls: to conflate multiple fringe elements and issues of the Republican Party with conservative opposition to the president's health care reform agenda. Though, in the case of the DNC ad, health care is hardly mentioned.
Perhaps more telling is how quickly the DNC and the Obama White House have moved to turn the anger of the crowds into a rallying point for proponents of reform. Throughout the afternoon on Tuesday, the DNC was alerting reporters to particularly outrageous moments at various town hall gatherings; notably protesters who made jokes at an event in Connecticut about Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) newly diagnosed prostate cancer.
There is, of course, a template for this. During the late stages of the 2008 election, the Obama campaign effectively used the most inflammatory moments at rallies for Sen. John McCain, (R-Arizona) and Sarah Palin to define the Republican ticket.
Ah, yest the public mob, a very powerful weapon IF you know how to use it, but beware they have a tendency to bite back and get out of control...