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!
The following are some of Lawrence O'Donnell's comments to John O'Neill.
That’s a lie, John O’Neill! Keep lying, it’s all you do!... Lies!... That’s a lie! It’s another lie! That’s a lie! Absolute lie!... You’re just lying...It’s a pack of lies!... He just lied to you! He spews out this filth!... You liar!... You just spew lies!... I just hate the lies of John O’Neill. I hate lies...O’Neill’s a liar, he’s been a liar for 35 years...They lied!... Lies! Just tell me the initials, you liar! Creepy liar!...’
-Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC’s ‘Senior Political Analyst’ to John O’Neill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -on 'Scarborough Country'
Now that's what I call some real political analysis!!!! The one piece of indisputable truth is that Kerry refuses to release his military records.
The Eminem video is available free at MTV's site, mtv.com - look under "hot videos" on the front page.
I prefer the more reasoned approach as well. Yes O'Donnell lost it a bit, but how much of the airing of lies can we take?
The Swiftees not only contradict the record, but they contradict many of their own previous statements. John O'Neil's been trying to bring down Kerry since he worked for Nixon on doing it - if Kerry's record was so suspect, why didn't they go after it then, when those events were still new?
Then there's the Swiftees connections to the Bush campaign, and the disgusting work in the 2000 campaign against John McCain - these people just aren't credible, and they've been given a giant soapbox. I don't blame O'Donnell one bit.
I ask the following seriously: what records of Kerry's are you referring to? I've seen this a couple of times - what is it that he hasn't released?
Why do you not ask with similar suspicion about any further Bush records? There seems to have been new documents from Bush's Guard record released by the White House every other Friday evening, which is odd, since they've claimed many times to have released everything.
Phil: the released records say he got an honorable discharge. Bush supporters claimed that that was all that mattered when it was their guy in question; why is that no longer good enough when it's Kerry?
Thanks for your comments. The Kerry records number over 100 pages that both the Washington Post and the Navy have confirmed exist. Kerry himself acknowledged this the other day when asked about the the comparison of IQ's between he and Bush.
It is interesting to contrast the treatment of Bush's records. As you know CBS went to great lengths to publish fraudulent Bush records without bothering to ask Kerry about his records. Perhaps your comments about O'Niel are correct but there is no question about a number of things the "lying Swiftees" have said which are true.
Kerry wasn't in Cambodia, his first purple heart came from his own fire, his commander at the time rejected his purple heart request, he did consort with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in Paris while he had comrades in prison and he still was a member of the armed forces and his whole chain of command opposes his candidacy. Just to name a few.
"Kerry wasn't in Cambodia..."
As best as anyone can tell, Kerry was near the Cambodian border on Christmas 1968, and *in* Cambodia a few weeks later. At worst, Kerry's recollection is less than perfect.
" ...his first purple heart came from his own fire..."
Say the lying Swifties. There's no question that it was a minor wound, but it hasn't been established that it was from his own weapon. I'm not sure that it matters if it was. Then again, I realize it's of enormous importance to some mouth-breathers (not you, of course, Phil!) that Max Cleland lost three limbs to a grenade dropped by a fellow soldier rather than to the North Vietnamese.
"...he did consort with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in Paris while he had comrades in prison and he still was a member of the armed forces..."
Phil, would you have prosecuted Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger for treason because they sent a message to the South Vietnamese government to hold off on a peace agreement until after the 1968 election?
Kerry's own journal has him acknowledging his first enemy fire nine days after the first purple heart.
God bless Max Cleland but most everybody thought he was running as a wounded in action war hero not a bystander wounded by a tragic accident.
Kerry may have been near Cambodia but he was never in Cambodia on Christmas eve "searing" any memories in his mind and he wasn't dropping off special forces either as his story about his special hat would lead you to believe.I would love to be voting for almost anybody but Bush in this election but this guy is a serial embellishing quisling who has taken every opportunity to further his career to the total exclusion of anything else. He has a remarkable record in the senate in that it is almost totally without accomplishment. I know your going to be holding your nose tomorrow when you pull that lever.
Face it guys, there's no arguing with people who believe the Swift Boat lies. Not the testimony of the men who were in the same boat as Kerry. Not the military record. It's like arguing with a tree or a rock.
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