Politics from North of the 49th Parallel
Published on September 3, 2004 By IanGillespie In Politics

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.

on Sep 03, 2004
I think your views are a bit twisted. The DNC Chairman, on national TV last Spring, accused Bush of going AWOL. The sewage from the left has been astounding. It's pretty amazing how one-sided you see things.

The left, home of Fahrenheit 9/11, and MoveOn.org (I assume you think MoveOn.org is reasonable?) complaining about some veterans with $200k that took out ads? You realize how thin-skinned that sounds?
on Sep 03, 2004
Gillespie's argument sounds fairly reasonable to me.
on Sep 03, 2004
Ah Draginol--Gabriel of the Republican Party; the torch-bearer for the anti-left--I do enjoy your posts! Everything wrtitten against Bush and his gang of thugs receives your standard reply: you can't believe what the left says; no matter how evil you think the Republicans are, the Democrats are more evil (and Michael Moore is their leader)!

I think Gillespie's reasoning is sound and makes an interesting case. I don't necessarily think that the Democrats are refusing to stoop to the low-ball tactics of the Republicans (not their operatives, but the leadership), but they are not as polished at it as Rove and Co. are. The whole "flip-flop" thing is marvelous. Who thought of that? All politicians change their minds- I like a quote from George Bernard Shaw, "A life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." I believe Bush claimed during the 2000 campaign that he wasn't going to be a "nation builder." Hmm. There are others, and I know Draginol wants very specific quotes from approved sources...maybe I'll find a few.
Thanks for the interesting post Gillespie!
on Sep 04, 2004
I don't necessarily think that the Democrats are refusing to stoop to the low-ball tactics of the Republicans (not their operatives, but the leadership), but they are not as polished at it as Rove and Co. are

Here we go again, the whole Wizard of Oz scenario. And JD, you just haven't been reading Drag's articles & replies, or you wouldn't say that. He's been as critical of the right-wing wackos as he has of the lefties. You just differ in your definition of right-wing wacko.

on Sep 04, 2004
Here we go again, the whole Wizard of Oz scenario

I honestly don't know what that means. Please educate me.
I was simply stating that both parties are guilty of distortion of facts, voting records, and intentions--I believe that the Republicans are executing that tactic with better success than the Democrats. Both parties are fully capable of it.

I never called Draginol a "right-wing wacko" I have read his posts and sparred with him on several occasions--I apologize if I have offended him by calling him "the torch-bearer for the anti-left." Will he ever forgive me?
I simply take offense when somebody's opinion is so readily dismissed by an assumption that they were somehow coerced into their beliefs by propogandists ("I think your views are a bit twisted" to quote Draginol--what the hell does that mean?). Gillespie's thoughts were insightful and well-reasoned. Can't we accept that?