Rick Perry drops one, titled “President Zero”:
It’s the rare campaign that goes negative in its first public offering. Perry’s is also the first experiment with this type of ad, post-Tim Pawlenty, and outside of Sarah Palin’s odd “remember-that-I-still-exist” variants. What I’m getting at is, this is an affirmatively new way to campaign, and one that attracted nothing but negative attention in its last, limited engagement. The lesson I would draw is that the country doesn’t respond to true negative ads, which is what this is, aside from a few dog whistles to the radical right (“who doesn’t apologize for America…”).
Early negativity also feels “off” for a primary election: Republicans are entitled to bet, at the general phase, that voters want “anyone but Obama.” But since the Republican candidate will be, by his* very definition, not Obama, I would expect the players to attempt to state a positive case explaining their ideas for the country — not try to simply distinguish themselves from the President in as strident and offensive a manner as possible.
But, then again, expecting anything but the absolute worst from Republicans really is what got us into this mess in the first place.