Indigo Insights

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Democrats Lead By Miles In 2004 'Smear' Campaign
From Roll Call
By Morton Kondracke, Op/Ed
March 1, 2004

It's conventional wisdom now that this may be one of the nastiest presidential campaigns ever. But those keeping score should observe that, right now, the muddy epithets thrown at President Bush outweigh those thrown at Democrats by tons.

That's not the way things are being reported, though. The media seem to be uncritically accepting the Democratic charge that any criticism of Sen. John Kerry's (Mass.) public record is "sliming" or "smearing."

But for months now, Democrats have accused Bush of being a "liar" who "misled" or "deceived" the nation into the Iraq war; a "usurper" who "stole" the 2000 election in Florida; "a right-wing extremist" on tax, social and foreign policy; and a "menace to the nation's basic liberties," owing to his employment of Attorney General John Ashcroft. …

Democrats claim that Republicans either have questioned or will question their patriotism in this campaign, but actually the only accusations of lacking patriotism have come from Democrats. ...

[T]he Bush campaign has every right to raise doubts about Kerry's record and programs, including on defense issues. And the media ought to cry foul when the Kerry campaign tries to put such discussion off limits.

Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter … said about criticism of Kerry's defense record: "These attacks and smears against us are just one more example of the fundamental need to change the direction of the nation from Bush's extreme agenda." …

[T]he Bush campaign and the GOP have acknowledged time and again that Kerry was a war hero and is due honor for his service, but that his record on defense and foreign policy is open to criticism.

Indeed, it is. Kerry is on record as opposing the MX missile, the B-1 bomber, the Tomahawk missile, the Apache helicopter, the Patriot missile, the Harrier jet and the F-15 fighter aircraft and has called for deep cuts in the intelligence budget.

After Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie recited that list in a press conference last week, Kerry's campaign manager … sent out an e-mail charging that "today, RNC chair Ed Gillespie made another desperate attack on the patriotism of John Kerry." It was no such thing. …

Kerry has claimed that the Bush campaign's upcoming advertising campaign is code-named "Operation Carpet Bombing" and has charged this is somehow a slur on his Vietnam service.

In the first place, Bush ad guru Mark McKinnon denies ever hearing that term. In the second, the Bush campaign estimates that of the $6.7 million Kerry has spent on advertising during the primaries, 73 percent has been devoted to attacking Bush. Certainly, Kerry hasn't attacked other Democrats and they haven't attacked him, either. …

[N]o Republican of any stature has yet thrown what could even remotely be described as a low blow. If that changes, I'll scream. But so far, if anyone's "sliming," it's Democrats. And the media should call them on it.

Thanks to Kevin McGehee for linking this.

I dreamed I had died and gone to Heaven. I looked about and knew where I was — green fields, fleecy clouds, perfumed air, and the distant, ravishing sound of the heavenly choir. And there was the recording angel smiling broadly in greeting.

I said, in wonder, "Is this Heaven?"

The recording angel said, "It is."

I said [and on waking and remembering, I was proud of my integrity], "But there must be some mistake. I don't belong here. I'm an atheist."

"No mistake," said the recording angel.

"But as an atheist how can I qualify?"

The recording angel said sternly, "We decide who qualifies. Not you."