Phil Singer, who's the latest Hillary Clinton campaign alum to start a blog, smartly notes the stylistic similarities between McCain's (totally dishonest) "Fact Check" ad that features wolves and Reagan's famous "Bear" ad that features (duh) a bear.
But the ads carry diametrically opposite messages. Where Reagan used the "Bear" ad to send the message that only he--and not Walter Mondale--had the strength to stand up to the Soviets, McCain uses the wolves to portray Palin as a helpless victim. The McCain campaign's multiple attempts to play the victim card with Palin is something that has honest conservative writers, like Ramesh Ponnuru, worried:
[T]he Republicans are coming across as whiny grievance-mongers. Don't they realize that this harping on ambiguous slights is what people hate about political correctness? It was bad enough when liberals were trying to destroy Palin. Now Republicans are trashing her brand. They're undermining the basis of her appeal as a different, tougher kind of female politician.
I'm not convinced Ponnuru is right--it seems that much of Palinapalooza is fueled by the feeling that Palin's a woman being wronged--but I certainly hope he is.