Politics from North of the 49th Parallel
Published on August 16, 2004 By IanGillespie In Politics

Crossposted at The BlogsCanada E-Group:

For too long the Democratic Party was utterly inept in responding to this weary Republican onslaught. They bought the American media's favourite script: Democrats who speak out are never strong, always shrill; those who dissent cannot be motivated by patriotism, only by hatred.

Thank God John Kerry didn't fall for that.

During the last two weeks, the Bush-Cheney political apparatus has demonstrated that -- like a wounded animal -- it will rage against the specter of it's impending defeat.

First, suspicions of politically timed terrorism alerts boiled over when it was uncovered that an administration anti-terrorism warning -- that came on the heels of the Democratic convention -- was based on "years old" information.

Then, an Orwellian named group -- Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- came to the aid of the Republican campaign of fear and slander. The group launched what is perhaps the most disgraceful American political ad since Willie Horton.

Each of these stories was then appended by a worthy epilogue. First, the Bush administration redoubled the bungling of it's terrorist panic attack -- blowing the identity of an confindential informant. Now, it's been revealed that the co-author of an anti-Kerry, swift boat attack book is a certifiable nut.

Not to mention, we've got Dick Cheney lying about 'nuances' that four year old could understand.

In short, this election will not be decided by a positive message; it will be decided by a fight to the political death.

Well then, where do we stand?

Right now, just 37% of Americans believe that their country is headed in the 'right direction', but 51% still approve of President Bush's job performance.

Only 32% of Americans think that the war in Iraq was 'worth the cost', yet 48% are still convinced that the United States did 'the right thing' by invading.

There are only two explanations for this disconnect. Either a significant number of Americans do not sufficiently understand the English language to answer simple polling questions, or -- more seriously -- they suffer from an acute case of cognitive dissonance. They cannot reconcile acknowledged facts with their preconceived beliefs.

Even faced with the failure of their government's policies, they cannot admit the failure of their government. To admit the administration's inability to protect them, would be to admit to their own vulnerability.

Such is both the nature and purpose of what Orwell called "permanent war".

The very incompetence of those who have wrought such peril, becomes their saving grace: fear of acknowledging one's defencelessness can actually transcend one's fear of being defenceless.

As Warren Kinsella recently wrote, in politics, fear works.

I won't argue. But there are many breeds of fear.

Fear may overwhelm hope, but one can still hope that fear of the rational will overwhelm fear of the irrational.

I don't know if ordinary citizens be relied upon to make that distinction -- but I guess we're about to find out.

And, after all, as Orwell said, "if there is hope, it lies in the proles."

on Aug 16, 2004
Anyone who condemns Swiftvets is a hypocrite unless they have equal condemnation for moveon.org and other similar left-wing groups.

I think I have a better explanation for the so-called "disconnect" in the polls: they are asking different things. Asking about the country at large is a much broader scope than asking about the President specifically. Realistically, the President doesn't control everything. For instance, some people think that there is a moral decline in America, but they see President Bush as combatting that trend rather than contributing to it. Also, I have heard that the "right track" number always tends to be lower than job approval.

I think the difference in the Iraq questions can be explained by two related things. First, there is a difference between the invasion phase of the war and the occupation phase. Second, it is possible to have a different opinion on whether a policy was good than whether it was implemented well. Much of the cost of the war was payed during the occupation phase, and it was not implemented flawlessly.
on Aug 17, 2004
MoveOn.org has not lied about anything. There is -- therefore -- no comparison between them and the swift boat attack group.

As goes wihout saying, "right direction" does not necessarily mean "everything's great", it means -- just as it says -- "right direction". And course, this is a political poll -- people know that they are being asked about the the action is of their government. If people thought Bush's policies were working -- even if the situation were still horrid -- their answer to this question would still have to be that 'yes, the country is headed in the right direction'.

Furthermore, connection between right direction/wrong track and job approval is that the former is normally a leading indicator for the latter. The failure of Bush's job approval numbers to fall after several years of bad "wrong track" numbers, is highly unusual.

As for the invasion of Iraq, something could not have been the correct option, if it is not worth the cost of choosing that option. They are directly contradictory.

on Aug 17, 2004
Your "suspiciosly timed" rise in the terror alert level was caused by the arrests of terrorists in Pakistan who were caught red handed with documents and computer files planning the bombings of several buildings on American soil, these documents were so detailed that it was concluded that only someone who had been inside these buildings could have gained such knowledge. There was more evidence than was needed to justify a rise in the alert level, but knowing how crazy anti-bush bashers are, I suppose they will believe he arranged the arrest of those terrorists at that particular time for political gain.

Secondly, The "disgraceful" political ad you speak of was not paid for by anyone associated with Bush, but I do find it odd that when people who knew Kerry during the war praise him as a good man, that is fine and dandy, but when people who knew him then but didnt think he was a good man, speak out about him, well thats not freedom of speech thats slander.

Speaking of Slander I noticed you didnt mention anything about Micheal Moore and his truly disgraceful 2 hour political add. He didnt go 3 minutes into the movie without telling a lie. Specifically, he stated that in every recount that was done after Bush became the official president , Gore actually won the election. This is a blatant bold faced lie and the complete opposite is true (the first of several real cases of slander in this movie) Even the liberal newspaper USA Today did a recount and came up with Bush as a clear winner by even more votes than before. The single most liberal newspaper in the country, the New York Times, described the movie as riddled with lies. But hey when Micheal Moore lies its freedom of speech, not slander isn't that right libs?
on Aug 17, 2004

The "disgraceful" political ad you speak of was not paid for by anyone associated with Bush,

what is the source of their funding?  which pr firm is handling their promotion?  how much are they charging the swiftboat vets group for that service?   

on Aug 17, 2004
I dont know King Bee, do you? I suspect that you do not know because if you did know, and could establish a connection back to Bush himself , you would have done that.

Believe it or not liberals, people exist out there that really dislike Kerry because they dislike him, not because Bush is paying them money to! You dont see conservatives running around claiming that fahrenheit 911 was secretly funded by John Kerry do you?
on Aug 17, 2004

I suspect that you do not know because if you did know, and could establish a connection back to Bush himself , you would have done that.

i do know.  i was hoping to inspire you to do a little checking into your own unsubstantiated incorrect assertion.  but since you insist on being proven wrong:

robert j. perry, paid $100,000 to the swiftboatvets this year, or about two-thirds of the money in its accounts as of june 30.  perry  worked with white house political director karl rove and has contributed large amounts to past bush campaigns.

harlan crow, who donated $25,000 to fund swiftboat vets, served on the board of trustees of the american enterprise institute for public policy research with dick cheney. he has been and is currently a bush campaign contributor/participant.

in an online article by joe conason at salon.com,  marge spaeth is identified as one of a group three who are driving swift boat veterans for truth (the other 2 being john o'neill and roy hoffman, rear adm, ret-us navy).

john oneill is a longtime activist/occasional journalist who once claimed to have been on kerry's boat even though he didnt arrive in vietnam until after kerry was gone.   retired admiral roy hoffman has been quoted as saying he doesnt have first-hand knowlege to discredit kerry because he didnt really know kerry personally.

a number of those who were there at the same time as kerry seem to have revised earlier positive appraisals or observations as well as public statements they made prior to 2004  (including larry thurlow who claims kerry's boat wasnt being fired upon during the rassman rescue--in direct contradiction to the official after-action report which was also the basis for thurlow's bronze star).

according to conason, o'neill approached spaeth last winter to discuss his "concerns about Sen. Kerry."

"Spaeth heard O'Neill out, but told him, she says, that he "sounded like a crazed extremist" and should "button his lip" and avoid speaking with the press. But since Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination, Spaeth has changed her mind and decided to donate her public relations services on a "pro bono" basis to O'Neill's latest anti-Kerry effort. "About three weeks ago, four weeks ago," she said, the group's leaders "met in my office for about 12 hours" to prepare for their Washington debut. "
 incidentally, in 2000, a group calling itself  "Republicans for Clean Air" produced television ads falsely attacking the environmental record of john mccain in california, new york and ohio.  it turned out those "independent" ads were funded by sam and charles wyly who were both bush "pioneer' contributors.   when reporters uncovered the wyly connection, marge spaeth was assigned to assure the press there was no illegal coordination between them "and the bush campaign...an experience she described as 'horrible' and 'awful' according conason's article.


on Aug 17, 2004
john oneill is a longtime activist/occasional journalist who once claimed to have been on kerry's boat

I think O'Neill took over the command of the boat Kerry had commanded after Kerry left.

What are the lies in the Swiftvets ad?

on Aug 17, 2004
Ok kingbee, your big connection back to Bush is that people who used to work for people that work in the Whitehouse contributed money to the ad? I rest my case, the bush bashing libs have completley lost it! Anybody in this country can donate money to the Bush campaign if they would like, obviously the people behind this ad do not like Kerry and it is not surprising that they would be donating money to his opponent, but to say Bush is behind this because someone who donated money to his campaign also helped fund this ad is laughable. I wonder if Micheal Moore has donated any money to the Kerry campaign, hmmm I smell a conspiracy!
on Aug 17, 2004
Not that kingbee needs help but here is the distinction between a contribution and the swift boats commercials. The commercial, if put out by the Bush campaign would be instantly discredited because it would signify the President's sponsorship. But the way it was done the White House can say "We trust in Kerry's War Record" thus staying out of the fray even though the commercials are obviously in support of Mr. Bush. Any person can give to any campaign. No one argues that. But to support by asserting the other candidate is guilty of everything but treason is a low blow. Don't take my word, that's the assertion of John McCain.
on Aug 17, 2004
CrispE, you are still inferring that Bush is behind this ad, but that he surreptitiously made it look like he wasnt involved to avoid the fallout and give himself Plausible deniability, but there is no more evidence to support this than there is evidence to support that Kerry was behind the movie Fahrenheit 911. How can you justify Fahrenheit 911 and condemn this ad? they are EXACTLY the same with the only difference being that Fahrenheit 911 was bashing Bush, and the Ad Bashes Kerry, The accuracy of the content of both of these examples are under intense scrutiny - so why do you consider one of these examples a shameful and stealthy attempt (by Bush) to spread lies about Kerry, and damage his credibilty, but the other example (and a much worse example in my opinion given the fact that even liberal publications are forced to admit that it is riddled with falsehoods) is a non issue?

The problem is that you are not looking at this through objective eyes, your hatred for Bush has convinced you that he must be responsible for this ad without even a shred of evidence, but it probably never even occurred to you to think this way about Kerry and the movie, ask yourself why? It is ok to hate Bush and it is ok to hate Kerry, but opinions are not supposed to get in the way of rational and objective thinking, both sides deserve the same scrutiny and deserved to be judged with the same criteria.
on Aug 20, 2004
Anyone who condemns Swiftvets is a hypocrite unless they have equal condemnation for moveon.org and other similar left-wing groups

People don't have the freedom to pick and choose, eh? If you don't condemn one you can't condemn the other? Limiting freedom is costly and clumsy, particularly when apples and oranges are involved.