By Published on .

Advertiser: Democratic National Committee

Agency: Squier Knapp Ochs, Washington

Rating: 0 stars

All of a sudden, Harry and Louise are looking not so bad.

Back when the insurance cabal and the Republicans in Congress combined to portray the Clinton healthcare proposal as a ticket to Czarist bureaucracy and Marxist medicine, Harry and Louise were the state-of-the-art in deceptive fear-mongering. And the Democrats were the hapless victims.

But now that the Republicans have proposed to stave off the bankruptcy of Medicare by substantially slashing away at previously agreed-to benefit increases, it is the Democrats who are taking the low road.

"As Americans," intones the smarmy voice-over, "there are some things we do simply and solely because they're moral, right and good. Treating our elderly with dignity is one of those things. We created Medicare not because it was cheap or easy, but because it was the right thing to do.

"The Republicans are wrong to want to cut Medicare benefits. And President Clinton is right to protect Medicare, right to defend our decision, as a nation, to do what's moral, good and right by our elderly."

All of this to shots of old people in super-slow motion, looking feeble and dependent, intercut with images of kids and American flags, farmers and American flags, presidents and American flags-as if leaving Medicare growth unchecked were somehow our moral and patriotic duty.

The fact is, of course, that addressing the looming Medicare funding crisis in no way undermines the dignity of the elderly. Rather the opposite.

The indignity is the cheap and sleazy, unconscionable tactic of scaring seniors into thinking their benefits will be cut, when, the fact is, those benefits will continue to increase (albeit at a much lower pace).

While the GOP proposal is severe-maybe even draconian-it is not the cut this ad portrays it to be, and it certainly is not an immoral attack on old people.

What is immoral and gutless is winning political points by terrifying a fearful and vulnerable constituency and wrapping yourself in the flag to do it.

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