Tracking this campaign season’s presidential ads is a time consuming and anger-making exercise. And, if you live in a place like traditionally uncontested Democratic New York, you may not ever see one of these electronic screeds unless you go looking.
But once in a while a little gem pops out, this time courtesy of MSNBC. Check out Marco Rubio’s new TV spot that opens with Ted Cruz’s head in a Canadian maple leaf. What makes it great is that it takes you in a totally different direction than you think– namely, a focus on Cruz’s proposal for a value-added tax, rather than piling on about his alleged ineligibility for the White House because of his Canadian birth.
While making the point that Canada and a list of other “socialist” countries rely on the value-added tax, the whole time you are thinking about his Canadian roots. Rubio elevates the attack even while he demurs. Dog whistle politics at its best.
Of course, there is a delicious irony in having Cruz, the Tea Party’s leading light, brought up on charges of being an immigrant, as if it’s an inherently negative thing. Like Cruz, Rubio is the child of immigrants as was, surprisingly, Trump, whose mother is from Scotland. Shamelessly attacking immigrants and immigration when you essentially are one requires some deeper psychological analysis to probe their self-loathing.