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527 Watch: Ghostbusters Edition

In Ghostbusters 2, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd discover a river of slime coursing through subterranean New York. This sticky, pink bile turns out to be a physical manifestation of New Yorkers' accumulated rage, hatreds, and resentments--a substance potent enough that the film's villain tries to harness its power to take over the city.

With GOP mega-donors out of commission, one independent ad group--the National Republican Trust PAC--is tapping a similar source to sustain itself. The group spent at least 56% of its early October outlays (around $500,000) on provocative mailings to a huge number of conservative direct-mail lists, book clubs, and websites--the same red-meat consuming grassroots network that powered the rise of books like Jerome Corsi's Obama Nation and the Clinton conspiracy books of the 1990s.

The mailings serve a dual purpose. First, they rile up the base, breathing fire about Obama's alleged links with terrorism, Reverend Wright, Farrakhan, and everything unholy besides. Then, having created demand for their own product, they request "emergency donations" of up to $5,000 for a "shock and awe" ad campaign against Obama. (This promise has become a $2.5 million ad buy in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, featuring the Jeremiah Wright spot below. The group has also run these two ads, which say Obama will give drivers licenses to terrorists.)

It's an incredibly inefficient way of raising money, akin to hosting a telethon to get cash for TV ads. ("But if you can't do the full amount," the ads plead, "even $2,500 or $1,000 or $500--any amount you can afford will help.") However, it does allow the organization--which is run by Moonies, 9/11 conspiracy pushers, and a conservative bio-defense expert--to send the message they want to send without relying on John McCain, Wall Street bankers, or Jewish zillionaires. Indeed, the PAC can legitimately claim it's tapping in to grassroots sentiment--these ads have become "sizzlers" in part because they're such an accurate reflection of the current conservative Id.

--Barron YoungSmith