Rep. Steve Pearce all but called Rep. Tom Udall a hippie in a campaign ad that's so over the top it could pass for a spoof of a campaign ad. It took up a full page of the Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 6, and the paper also ran a " news story" in which Pearce defends the ad at length, further painting a picture of himself as a defender of 'Merican values against hippie terrorists.
In the ad, two smiling granolas (one wearing a comically large peace symbol necklace and both flashing peace signs) stand under fake protest signs reading "Raise Taxes," "No Drilling," "Save the Minnow: Don't Drink the Water" and "High Gas Prices Save Trees." Sneaking into the bottom of the frame is a Tom Udall campaign sign.
The Journal quotes Pearce as saying, "This picture is a picture from my past," but he must be speaking figuratively, because bloggers point out the hippies are actually cut and pasted from the cover of a compilation album called Spirit of the ' 60s.
The ad copy reads like something written by The Man straight out of another decade. Udall responded by calling Pearce's energy policies "out of touch," and the same could be said about the ad rallying squares. What's next on the Pearce campaign agenda? Convincing us to build bomb shelters to protect us from Cuban missiles?
Pearce told a tale—and the Journal reported it—about how he stood on the wall of an administration building at New Mexico State University to prevent hippie extremists from burning it down.
"Tom Udall and his hysterical left-wing environmental allies are bad for New Mexico families," sums up the ad. Yeah, because all environmentalists are hippies, and hippies are dangerous, therefore environmentalism is dangerous.
Environmental issues are among the saddest casualties of red and blue polarization. It shouldn't just be the left wing that cares about the environment. All people, regardless of political persuasion, will be choking on poisoned air and extracting drinking water from their own urine if we ignore environmental issues long enough.
But Pearce's outdated, below-the-belt, hysteria-inducing strategy creates an "us. vs. them" mentality—and is exactly the kind of thing that wins Republicans elections. While the Democrats are taking whatever they perceive to be the high road, Pearce and company are calling up oversimplified Vietnam-era rifts to do the dirty work against those damn tree-huggers, who probably do "The Acid."