Let's face it, black-and-white photographs in politics never mean good news. They're used for one reason: to portray the subject as dark and sinister. Take the new Democratic National Committee hit job on Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld. The "Fear and Smear Tour," the party's creative way to chart speeches and appearances by the war duo, uses a press release that shows a black-and-white collage with two recent photos of Cheney and Rumsfeld and another of the two from when they toiled in the Ford White House. That's history, like 30-plus years of it.
"Four decades of attack and distract politics," says the copy in white reverse on black background. The words are even worse, as the DNC calls Cheney-Rummy "Washington's power couple" and a "cabal" driven to slam opponents. Over at the White House, they actually didn't choke on the release. In fact, some gave the gang at the DNC credit for being creative.
If you folks at the DNC ever print up Fear and Smear T-shirts, I know a few at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. who would love to have one. But even so, Bushies yesterday said that the Fear and Smear campaign staff should pick their shots better. The slap at Cheney's speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association wasn't a great idea since that group ate out of his hand and because he peppered his address at the Capital Hilton on the state of domestic and foreign affairs with jokes like his opener: "And those of you, of course, who know the layout in Washington realize this hotel is very close to the White House. In fact, it's an easy five-minute walk, but in honor of America's auto dealers, we drove this morning."