The infamous "soldiers with guns in our streets" Liberal attack ad is attracting both outrage and derision.
The first reaction is to be expected whenever attack ads are aired. Usually, the greater the outrage expressed by the target, the more likely the ads have touched on an uncomfortable truth or weakness.
Usually. But not in this case, where the target has turned out not to be Stephen Harper but our servicemen, who rightly take great offence at the suggestion that they would willingly turn their guns on the people they serve.
Perhaps the bright boys and girls in the Toronto ad agency that cooked up this ad have never actually known any servicemen, or learned anything about the military except fashionably progressive anti-military cliches about baby killers and armed goons in Iraq and Vietnam.. Nothing else could explain how otherwise well-trained advertising people could have come up with such an offensive message and let it go as far as it did.
The second reaction will probably prove much more deadly to these ads, and to the Liberals' hopes on which they were pinned, than all the denunciations by the military lobby and Tory MPs combined.
The style and tone of the ads, especially the "soldiers with guns" ad, lent themselves to easy parody, from the choppy incomplete sentences with pregnant pauses in between to the ominous martial snare drum and timpani rolls, right down to the killer "We did not make this up" line (which suggests that maybe, just maybe, the whole thing is, to quote Susan Murray, bullshit.)
The sting has been taken out of the whole negative ad campaign because of the fast and wide spread of parodies in the press and online. Get people mad or scared and they might listen. Get people laughing at you and you've lost them.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for the Liberals: it's buried Red Book V under a pile of one-liners.
And that, quite frankly, is beyond parody.