Crossposted at The Blogs Canada E-Group:
Are American movement conservatives as intellectually dishonest as they seem? Are their tactics truly -- qualitatively -- different than those of the left?
Every once in a while I like to check myself; to test my own intellectual honesty.
When I begin to doubt my preconceptions, I imagine what Democrats might do if they chose to employ the same unscrupulous methods. How might bizarro world progressives out do the Machiavellian Rove?
Consider how they might respond to Bush's Swift boat veterans:
Bizarro World MoveOn.org, 30 Second Ad
VOICE OVER: George Bush has been attacked for dodging the Vietnam draft. For refusing to fight.
VOICE OVER: For being grounded after refusing to take a flight physical and drug test. And for refusing to deny that it was because he was taking cocaine.
VOICE OVER: George Bush has even been called a "deserter".
VOICE OVER: John Kerry has repeatedly condemned these attacks, but now, George Bush refuses to do the same.
John Kerry in Vietnam, LA Times headline, "Kerry Condemns Anti-Bush Ad".
VOICE OVER: When George Bush is attacked, he calls it a smear. But when his opponent is smeared, George Bush does nothing.
VOICE OVER: We can do better.
CHYRON: We Can Do Better
Under the guise of exposing President Bush's hypocrisy, such an ad would, in fact, give a very public platform to the most sensational accusations surrounding Bush's service in the Air National Guard. So far, it seems as though there are simply no Democrats willing to engage in this brand of politics.
But perhaps I'm being unfair; perhaps the Swift boat veterans are just an aberration -- men willing to employ a unique disregard for the truth.
Sure, sometimes Republicans say things -- more often than not, spuriously. Occasionally, their deceitfulness is truly breathtaking. But maybe Democrats would do the same if they could.
Or, maybe not.
Consider Dick Cheney. When John Kerry said that the United States should be more "sensitive" to the views of its allies, Cheney attacked Kerry for advocating more sensitivity toward terrorists.
Now, consider something else. During the run up to war, Dick Cheney claimed that Saddam Hussein had, "in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." Not weapons programs, weapons. Unlike Cheney, Democrats passed up the chance to ridicule the Veep for making such an outlandish accusation.
The same goes for the now famed $87 billion for troops in Iraq. John Kerry voted for one version of the bill and against another. President Bush signed one version of the bill, but threatened to veto another. Yet, of course, it was Republicans, not Democrats, that ran an ad accusing their opponent of voting against higher combat pay, health care for reservists and body armour for American troops in Iraq.
Likewise, Democrats opposed one version of the 2002 Homeland Security Bill, while Bush threatened to veto another. Bush said that Democrats were "not interested in the security of the American people"; I guess Democrats just never thought of that line.
Again and again, in virtually identical situations, Democrats simply refuse to stoop to the level of distortion and dishonesty that has become standard operating procedure for the Republican Party.
John Kerry says that, when ambushed, he learned to turn his boat into an attack. It's long past time that Kerry and the Democrats turned into this one.