DAY-BEFORE MISHEGAS. I don't know about you, but I've had enough. I think I finally reached the point a week ago where I realized I will be really, really glad when this is all over. This morning, a few notes and observations as we all get ready for the polls to open tomorrow morning.
- If George Soros could have given his money to the Kerry campaign - or even to the Democratic National Committee - don't you think he would rather have done that instead of writing a check to the likes of MoveOn.org? In today's Boston Globe we have characteristic handwringing from professional scold Fred Wertheimer, who's upset with the Federal Elections Commission for not cracking down on MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and other so-called 527 groups.
No surprise there. We already know that Wertheimer values neat-and-clean political campaigns more highly than he does the First Amendment. For a bit more insight, let's turn to last Wednesday's Washington Post, in which media reporter Howard Kurtz took a look at some of the more outrageous 527 ads. Wrote Kurtz: "The assembled groups are saying things that the candidates dare not say, connecting conspiratorial dots, using more disturbing images and indulging in no-holds-barred ridicule."
Indeed. But the real solution is hinted at by Brown University political scientist Darrell West, who tells Kurtz that the 527s "have run some of the most hard-hitting and misleading ads, because they're not on the ballot.... The candidates have to exercise some restraint. The groups have almost no accountability, so they can say whatever they want."
That's exactly right. If Soros could give as much as he wanted to Kerry, and if the Texas zillionaires funding the lying Swifties could gave as much as they wanted to Bush, then the 527s would wither away - in fact, they never would have come into existence in the first place.
Here is a piece I wrote earlier this year on what's wrong with campaign-finance reform.
- In the North Pole edition of the New York Times that arrives every morning here at Media Log Central, Robert McFadden writes, "But many Catholic pastors emphasized in sermons that abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage, all supported by Mr. Kerry and anathema to the church, were 'nonnegotiable' issues - statements that amounted to endorsements of Mr. Bush." This is, of course, a flat-out error, since Kerry has only said about 10,000 times that he opposes gay marriage.
Online, the same story says, "But many Catholic pastors emphasized in sermons that abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage, issues on which Mr. Kerry differs from Mr. Bush and which are anathema to the church, were 'nonnegotiable' issues - statements that amounted to endorsements of Mr. Bush."
Better late than never, I suppose.
- Also in today's Times, columnist Bob Herbert has something that was new to me, at least: a story about a front group called the Milwaukee Black Voters League that is trying to intimidate African-American voters into staying home on Election Day. Herbert describes a mind-blowing flier that's being circulated:
It asserts that people are not eligible to vote if they have voted in any previous election this year; if they have ever been found guilty of anything, even a traffic violation; or if anyone in their family has ever been found guilty of anything.
"If you violate any of these laws," the flier says, "you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you."
Curious, I started Googling to see what I could find. Here is an image of the flier. And here's a piece by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane in which he writes: "Frankly, I've become so cynical about this campaign, I'm not sure whether this was a laughable attempt by some Republicans to dissuade blacks from voting or an equally silly move by misguided Democrats to ensure a backlash."
Oh, come now, Mr. Kane. Are you really under that much pressure to be "even-handed"?
- Hip-hoppers against Bush: if you've access to the iTunes Music Store, click on "Music Videos" and check out the first two selections - "Son of a Bush," by Public Enemy, and "Mosh," by Eminem. Both are completely over the top. Both are pretty damn righteous. Eminem's is stronger and more focused, which surprises me, but Chuck D and Flavor Flav sound great when they start in with "He's the son of a bad man!"
Looks like if you start Googling, you can find them even without iTunes. So get going!