|I'm On A Swift Boat Straight To Hell
||[Aug. 23rd, 2004|03:58 pm]
The state of play seems to be this: Swift Boat Veterans For Truth -- even though they've been essentially pre-discredited -- are all people are talking about right now with respect to the election. Democrats fume about the President refusing to denouce the commercials. Republicans say they want to prohibit ALL the third party election ads from 527 corporations. The Republicans blame Kerry for making a big deal out of his military service.|
It seems to me that the Republicans are wholly disingenuous on this subject. They say ALL 527 corporations should stop airing ads, that it's a loophole in the campaign finance law, that they've become the new sink for all the soft money donations, and that the work they do is somehow antithetical to the election process. But:
1. I think there's a qualitative difference between the ads put out by progressive groups, and the ads put out by the right. The progressive ads have been very critical of the President, but they're not based on falsehoods, and they're not character assasination.
2. They want it both ways. The Republicans have always defended campaign contributions on first amendment grounds. They fought McCain-Feingold bitterly because they didn't want any campaign finance reform. Now that some progressives have been effective raising funds and airing ads, they want them stopped. Either they were being insincere with their first-amendment arguments, or they're being inconsistent now.
Independent advertising to influence elections is perfectly OK by me. Both sides should do as much advertising as they want, and let their ideas be judged on their merits. The problem is that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Ads are patently false and scurrilous. I defend their right to be false and scurrilous, but the President should denounce them as such. Instead, he's letting them do his dirty work, and saying essentially the 527 Corporation ads by progressives are just as bad. Kerry denounced some anti-Bush ads that were over the top.