Alas, this is the classic course a smear campaign takes. A group throws up accusations that, when subjected to scrutiny, prove to be full of holes. Supporters of the attack campaign say that, well, those charges may not pan out, but there must be something here. Let's just keep attacking.
smear campaign. Explain to me my transgressions that I can improve. Interact with me so that I can understand your attacks on me. How does isolating me make the company stronger? What are you gaining by your behavior?
scorched earth policy.
Who are you fighting? What will you have when the war is over?
Is it any wonder that Mr. X is ‘fighting’ for his company? The mentality of dishonesty, secrecy, back stabbing, smut and ignorance is typical of the neo-con fascist dysfunctional existence. Why are you fighting? What are you fighting? What ever happened to cooperation, team work, working together?
the Smears are closely related to Scandals.
Palin Smears Obama
LIMBAUGH: Why, it's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America -- white kids are getting beat up on school buses now. I mean, you put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety. But in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, "Yay. Right on, right on, right on, right on." http://mediamatters.org/research/200909160040
Mr McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Palin, was to campaign in California on Saturday. Speaking to supporters in Colorado, she attacked Mr Obama over his link to Bill Ayers, a founder of the militant group Weather Underground, which took credit for a number of bombings in the US in the 1960s. She described Mr Obama as someone who saw the US "as being so imperfect... he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country". Mr Obama, who served on a charity board with Mr Ayers - now a professor at the University of Illinois - several years ago, has denounced his radical activities. Commentators say Mrs Palin's attack forms part of a broader Republican strategy to attack Mr Obama's character. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7652567.stm
Jerome Corsi, the product of a publishing industry that feeds off extremism.
The extreme-right way to make a buck. Jerome Corsi, author of a pitiful new slam on Obama, is the product of a publishing industry that feeds off extremism. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rutten16-2008aug16,0,472577.column
Karl Rove, The Architect of Evil Speaks
Don't Blame Rove
Even his enemies say the GOP would have done worse without him.
November 10, 2006 In the wake of their Tuesday catastrophe, angry conservatives are pointing fingers in every direction. They blame corrupt congressmen, terrible Donald Rumsfeld, the stumbling president, their disaffected rank and file. They blame social conservatives, neoconservatives, moderate conservatives, and big-government conservatives.
But are they blaming "the architect"? I wondered how Karl Rove's reputation withstood the Tuesday thumping. Are Republicans holding their top political strategist responsible for the midterm fiasco?
It turns out there are plenty of reasons to blame Rove if you're of a mind to. Here are a few:
- After the national horror of 9/11, Rove chose to please the president's conservative base rather than seize the historic moment of national unity by pushing a more moderate set of policies. This inevitably alienated independent voters. Rove thought they wouldn't penalize Republicans at the polls. They did.
- It was Rove's idea to push for Social Security reform after the 2004 election. He kept pushing it long after voters had told pollsters they didn't want it. He wildly misread the national mood, woke up the left, and saddled Republicans in Congress with a loser issue. Then, he pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, angering a different portion of the base.
- He and Bush delayed announcing Rumsfeld's departure. Had Rumsfeld left two months ago, you can bet George Allen and Conrad Burns wouldn't be planning their retirement parties.
There are lots of people in Washington whom Rove has intimidated or bullied. Some are Bush allies, and some are his former colleagues. Since he got the credit for Bush's victories, they think it's only fair that he take the blame for the GOP defeat. But when I went looking for what I expected to be a massive orgy of Rove schadenfreude, I actually found that, for the most part, Republicans were defending him.
They started by arguing that the election could have been a lot worse. Conditions really called for a 35- to 45-seat loss in the House. Rove and Ken Mehlman built a ground operation over the last seven years that limited the losses. They knew where to drop all the cash they'd raised and how to micro-target voters. I find this silly. No one praises football coaches for losing by five touchdowns instead of six.
More plausible is the claim that much of what flipped the election was beyond Rove's control. He couldn't reverse the violence on the ground in Iraq. Could he have pushed Bush to drop Rumsfeld earlier? Maybe, if he'd made that case a year ago, but dropping Rumsfeld too close to the election would have looked desperate and would have enraged the Rummy-loving conservatives.
But the most persuasive argument of Rove's defenders is that congressional Republicans deserve the blame for Tuesday's outcome. What sapped the energy and enthusiasm of the base were Congress' ethical lapses (culminating in the Foley fiasco), excessive spending, and addiction to earmarks. Rove allies are quick to point to exit polls showing that people mentioned "corruption" as their top concern when voting (but remember, Jack Abramoff visited the White House, too).
Of course, some Rove defenders are speaking up for self-interested reasons. He's still powerful. He retains his White House office, which will allow him to take care of those politicians who lost (or not take care of them, if the losers don't behave). There are still commissions and ambassadorships and corporate boards that Rove can pack with Tuesday's losers. Even if Rove leaves Washington tomorrow, he'll remain a leading light of the conservative movement for the unapologetic, even brutal, way he fights for conservative ideas.
The GOP has a history of turning defeated luminaries into folk heroes. Though Newt Gingrich was largely to blame for the GOP's poor performance in 1998, he is widely beloved by Republicans. Nixon retained a core group of followers even after resignation. One difference: It took time for Nixon and Gingrich to regain their stature. Rove won't need to wait.
After maintaining a relentless optimism in the face of ominous polls, Karl Rove tells TIME why Republicans wound up taking a bath on Election Night.
At the White House senior staff meeting in the Roosevelt Room at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten thanked Karl Rove for his hard work in the elections, and the group around the big table burst into spontaneous applause. It was a much-needed moment of cheer for Rove, the President's chief strategist, after Republicans lost the House and were headed toward the same fate in the Senate in midterm congressional elections that turned into a blue rip tide of voter ire.
"The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected," Rove tells TIME. "Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard [the disgraced evangelical leader] added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass."
Exit polls showed heavy discontent with the course of the war, and Bush announced the departure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the next day. But Rove took comfort in results of the Connecticut Senate race between the anti-war Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who ran as an independent after losing the Democratic primary over his support for the war. "Iraq mattered," Rove says. "But it was more frustration than it was an explicit call for withdrawal. If this was a get-out-now call for withdrawal, then Lamont would not have been beaten by Lieberman. Iraq does play a role, but not the critical, central role."
And he does not believe his data let him down. "My job is not to be a prognosticator," he said. "My job is not to go out there and wring my hands and say, 'We're going to lose.' I'm looking at the data and seeing if I can figure out, Where can we be? I told the President, 'I don't know where this is going to end up. But I see our way clear to Republican control.' "
Rove, who is Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to the President, had long been warning in speeches that Democrats suffered defeat in 1994 after ossified thinking and an entitlement mentality took over the party: "What I was trying to say was: What happened to them could happen to us," he told TIME.
White House Counselor Dan Bartlett said Bush is "deeply appreciative for the time and effort put in by Karl, and for all the political team's effort." Bartlett pointed to the President's statement at his day-after news conference that as the head of the Republican Party, he shares a large part of the responsibility. "He's not the one that's going to sit there and point fingers at others," Bartlett said.
Despite this week's repudiation of the GOP, Rove said he believes the party can still achieve a long-term majority. "I see this as much more of a transient, passing thing," he said. "The Republican Party remains at its core a small-government, low-tax, limit-spending, traditional-values, strong-defense party. I see the power of the ideas, even in a tough year." He added that he has "fundamental confidence in the power of the underlying agenda of this President," and cited fighting the war on terror, entitlement reform, energy, tax cuts, immigration reform, No Child Left Behind reauthorization, democracy agenda in the Middle East, reducing trade barriers, spending restraint and legal reform.
Rove is famous for his political statistics, and his team has come up with an array of figures to contend that the Republicans' loss of 29 seats in the House and six in the Senate is not so out of whack with the historic norms. In all sixth year midterms, the President's party has lost an average of 29 House seats and 3 Senate seats, according to these figures. In all sixth-year midterms since World War II, the loss was an average of 31 House and 6 Senate seats. And in all wartime midterms since 1860, the average loss was 32 House and 5 Senate seat.
The Republican get-out-the-vote program Rove helped invent precluded even deeper losses, he says. "People were talking 35, 40 or more and it didn't happen," he said. "There were a number of elections which were supposed to be close and ended up not being close."
The Republican National Committee has been pointing out that a small shift in votes would have made a big difference. A shift of 77,611 votes would have given Republicans control of the House, according to Bush's political team. And a shift of 2,847 votes in Montana, or 7,217 votes in Virginia, or 41,537 votes in Missouri would have given a Republicans control of the Senate. In addition, the party has calculated that the winner received 51 percent or less in 35 contests, and that 23 races were decided by two percentage points or fewer, 18 races were decided by fewer than 5,000 votes, 15 races were decided by fewer than 4,000 votes, 10 races were decided by fewer than 3,000 votes, eight were decided by fewer than 2,000 votes and five races were decided by fewer than 1,000 votes.
Rove is an enthusiastic historian, but even he has trouble coming up with a parallel for this wild week. "We may look back and see this as a unique expression," he said. Republicans can only hope.
Do the math, Turd Blossom
"I see several things," Rove says. "I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races. And after all, this does come down to individual contests between individual candidates."
In addition to polls not generally available to the public, Rove says the Republicans have a huge financial advantage in the home stretch.
Rush Limbaugh, Shameless Master of the Smear
Limbaugh greets Democrats as liberators
On the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed to "feel liberated" by Democratic victories in the House and Senate on November 7 because he is "no longer going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried." Limbaugh added that the Republican Congress has produced "some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs."
From the November 8 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
- LIMBAUGH: Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. And I got, "Boy, Rush, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow. Boy, I wouldn't want to have to do your show. Boy, I'm so glad I'm not you." Well, folks, I love being me. I can't be anybody else, so I'm stuck with it. But the way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat [sic] Party does and liberalism.
- And I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now, I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I just -- I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat [sic] Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.
- I'm not trying to tell you that this is about me. I'm just answering questions that I've had from people about how I feel. But there have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy. I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow don't be -- aren't able to, I'm not under that kind of pressure.
The Swift Boating of Michael J. Fox
October 28, 2006 Rush Limbaugh is not just making an issue of Michael J. Fox's campaign ads for Democratic candidates who support stem-cell research. The conservative talk-radio personality is making it the issue of a fall campaign that gets stranger by the day.
While it may be hard to figure out why anyone with Limbaugh's political pull and national prominence would declare war on the guy who played Alex P. Keaton -- one of television's most outspoken, if eccentric, conservatives -- in the series "Family Ties," there is no denying the intensity of the assault.
For the better part of three hours each day this week, the radio ranter has been "Swift Boating the television and film star for daring to do what Limbaugh -- who freely admits that he is an entertainer -- does every day.
In Limbaugh's warped assessment of the political process, it's fine for him to try and influence the votes of Americans. But woe be it to anyone else who attempts to do so.
Since Fox began speaking up in favor of candidates who support science over superstition, the television and film star who suffers from Parkinson's disease has been accused by Limbaugh of "exaggerating the effects of the disease" in campaign commercials in which he points out that Democratic candidates for the Congress and governorships in the battleground states of Missouri, Maryland, Illinois, Wisconsin and now Iowa favor a serious approach to stem-cell research while their Republican opponents do not. Limbaugh was relentless in his assault on Fox. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act," the conservative commentator says. "This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting." After it was pointed out to Limbaugh be everyone, literally everyone, who knows anything about Parkinson's disease, Limbaugh declared, "Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial. All right then, I stand corrected. . . . So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act."
That should have been the end of it.
But Limbaugh wasn't backing off. His new theme became: "Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democratic politician."
One problem with that line of attack is that Fox was the one who volunteered to cut the ads, with the express purpose of helping voters see beyond the spin and recognize the stark choices that they will be making on November 7. Another problem is that, two years ago, Fox cut an ad supporting a top Republican, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, who supports embryonic stem-cell research. But the biggest problem is with Limbaugh's emphasis on the Fox's physical appearance, as opposed to what the actor is saying in the ads? Why blather on and on about whether Fox, an actor, might be acting?
Because it is easier to criticize the way that Michael J. Fox looks than it is to criticize the content of his message.
Fox's ads are fact-based. They reference the voting records, public statements and policy initiatives of the Democratic and Republican candidates he is talking about.
That being the case, beating up on the "Back to the Future" kid would not seem like a smart political strategy. And it certainly is not going to help Limbaugh soften his image as a partisan hitman who knows a little too much about what it means to be on or off particular medications.
So why are Limbaugh and other readers of Republican talking points continuing to accuse Fox of "acting" sick, and of lying his own disease and about the role that stem-cell research may play in the search for treatments and a cure? Why devote so much time and energy to attacking one ailing actor and one set of commercials? It has a lot to do with the powerful lobby that is opposing serious stem-cell research.
Unspoken in much of the debate over this issue is the real reason why candidates such as U.S. Senator Jim Talent, the embattled Republican incumbent who is the target of Fox's criticism in Missouri, and U.S. Representative Mark Green, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who is mentioned in Fox's ads in Wisconsin, so vehemently oppose embryonic stem-cell research.
It is not because they think the research is unnecessary -- no one who has heard from top scientists and groups advocating on behalf of the sick and suffering, as both Talent and Green have, would take such a stand. Rather, it is because Talent, Green and other politicians who are campaigning not just against their Democratic opponents but against scientific inquiry want to maintain the support of the groups that oppose serious stem-cell research: the powerful and influential anti-choice political action committees that in each election cycle spend millions of dollars in questionable cash to support candidates who are willing to echo their faith-based opposition to research that could identify treatments and perhaps even cures for for life-threatening illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, Type I or Juvenile Diabetes, Duchenne' Dystrophy, and spinal chord injuries.
Groups that oppose reproductive rights are central players in our politics because they have established networks that serve as some of the most effective hidden conduits for special-interest money that is used to pay for crude attack campaigns against mainstream candidates.
They also mobilize voters on behalf of contenders who cynically embrace the ugliest forms of anti-scientific dogma to make the rounds since the evolution deniers ginned up the Scopes trial. For this reason, the antiabortion machine gets what it wants when it wants it.
Politicians who align themselves with antichoice groups are willing to attack anyone who challenges them -- and for good reason. In states across the country, so-called "Right-to-Life" and "Pro-Life" groups spend freely on behalf of the candidates they back. And much of that spending goes essentially undetected, as the groups often do not give money directly to candidates but instead run "issue ads" and mount independent-expenditure campaigns.
Republican politicians like Talent and Green fully understand that, without the behind-the-scenes work of antiabortion groups -- most of which flies under the radar of the media and campaign-finance regulators -- they could not possibly win. And Limbaugh, whose stated goal is to maintain Republican hegemony, is perhaps even more aware of the fact than the candidates he is working so feverishly to elect. That's why the radio personality is on a personal crusade against Fox. That's also why Limbaugh has been willing to stick to his outlandish claims about the actor, even while acknowledging that he's gotten the facts wrong.
Like the Republican politicians who are scrambling to smear Fox, Limbaugh is doing the bidding of one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes political forces in America -- a force that is essential to Republican prospects. And he is not going to let a little thing like the truth make him back off.
Politics is a cynical game. But, sometimes, the cynicism becomes so extreme that the word "unconscionable" doesn't quite seem to capture the ugliness of it all.
Smears of authors of fictional novels
Writing Dirty Quiz: Match the porn with the politician who wrote it.
Republican Senate candidate George Allen made headlines this week when his campaign released a series of lewd excerpts from novels written by his opponent, Democrat James Webb. The Allen campaign argued that the novels "dehumaniz[e] men, women and even children." (Sample? "A naked boy ran happily toward him from a little plot of dirt. The man grabbed his young son in his arms, turned him upside down, and put the boy's penis in his mouth.") But Jim Webb isn't the only politician who knows how to write a squirm-inducing scene. Can you identify which politician wrote each of the passages below? The Politicians:
- A. Barbara Boxer, senator, D–Calif.
- B. William F. Buckley, former candidate for mayor of New York City
- C. Jimmy Carter, former president
- D. Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney
- E. Winston Churchill, former prime minister of the United Kingdom
- F. William Cohen, former secretary of defense, and Gary Hart, former senator, D–Colo.
- G. Susan Combs, Republican candidate for Texas comptroller
- H. Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, R–Ga.
- I. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney
- J. Joseph Nye, former assistant secretary of defense for international security
- K. Kenneth Starr, former independent counsel
- L. William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts
- M. Jim Webb, Democratic candidate for Virginia Senate seat
The Dirty Bits:
- "Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed."
- "She was overwhelmed with a desire to nurture her husband. She soon bared her breast and held him close against it, and he responded eagerly to this unprecedented intimacy."
- "She romped on top of Simolzak's huge frame, straddling him with her hands on his chest, her back arched and her breasts flailing wildly in the air. Her back was to him and her long hair swung from side to side as if accentuating the abandonment of her screams."
- "I set the edge of my teeth halfway up her breast, just at the point of tension but not, so far as I could tell, of pain. This was the sweetest flesh I had ever tasted, including fish and fowl."
- "After dinner, they went dancing at Charlie's Jazz. Elaine felt detached from herself, floating in Tom's arms. The hell with [CIA director] Trevor, she thought. And when Tom pulled her close to him, she knew that for tonight at least, it would be just plain Tom and Elaine. Later, back at her house, they made love. It was fierce, two rivers of energy rushing together, gloriously, powerfully. No words were needed."
- "The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage—no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were."
- "He held her breasts in his hands. Oddly, he thought, the lower one might be larger. ... One of her breasts now hung loosely in his hand near his face and he knew not how best to touch her."
- "The woman came down the stairs and they met midway. He took both her hands in his and smiled affectionately; she, standing one step above him, bent forward and kissed him. It was an amiable, though formal, salutation."
- "The President fondled and kissed her bare breasts. He touched her genitals, both through her underwear and directly, bringing her to orgasm on two occasions. On one occasion, the President inserted a cigar into her vagina."
- "I kissed her breasts and ran my hand between her thighs. She gripped my shoulders tightly. Unlike the first time I made love to Alexa, when the ecstasy had been eroded by a sense of anxiety and uncertainty, I was sucked into this moment as quickly and completely as if I had placed my feet in quicksand. Memories from years ago blended with intense physical excitement in a driving, pounding torrent of passion."
- "He didn't notice Jane taking her clothes off but suddenly she was naked: long legged, lithe, and bronzed. The sheets were cool, her body warm, her limbs strong and supple, and they meshed with his just as he remembered. 'Oh Greg, dearheart,' she whispered in his ear, 'I've missed you so. Welcome home.' "
- "But this time she led him upstairs into a room he had never laid eyes on, a bedroom with a king-size bed and not less than six oil pictures of Ayn on the walls, one of them showing her bare-breasted, the Ayn of twenty years ago. The shades had been drawn and Nathaniel could savor the scent. Today her lover was being welcomed with synesthetical concern for all the senses, only the music missing. But as he lay and later groaned with writhing and release, he brought the full force of his mind to transmuted, voluptuarian elation in this physical union with the very woman who had created John Galt and Dagny Taggart and Henry Rearden, and had touched down her scepter on him, Nathaniel, igniting his mind, and his own scepter, which paid, now, devoted service."
- "With devastating slowness, his hand cupped her completely before he slowly slid a finger into her warmth. She was burning up. Heat sliced through her. Emily gave herself up to the sweet torment of his hand as her hips rocked against his touch. Clutching his shoulders, her mouth blindly sought his. Desperate for release, she tightened her grip. 'Ross,' she managed, feeling as though she were spinning out of control."
1. H. Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, 1945. (Baen, 1995)
2. C. Jimmy Carter, The Hornet's Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War. (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
3. M. James Webb, Lost Soldiers. (Bantam, 2001)
4. L. William Weld, Stillwater: A Novel. (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
5. F. William Cohen and Gary Hart, The Double Man. (Avon, 1985)
6. D. Lynne Cheney, Sisters. (New American Library, 1981)
7. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., The Apprentice. (Graywolf, 1996)
8. E. Winston Churchill, Savrola (Longmans Green, 1899)
9. K. Kenneth Starr, Starr Report, 1998.
10. J. Joseph Nye, The Power Game: A Washington Novel. (Public Affairs, 2004).
11. A. Barbara Boxer, A Time To Run. (Chronicle, 2005)
12. B. William F. Buckley, Getting It Right. (Regnery Publishing, 2003)
13. G. Susan Combs, A Perfect Match. (Meteor Publishing Company, 1990)
Allen criticizes Webb for scenes depicted in his novels
October 28, 2006 U.S. Sen. George Allen has unleashed an unusual attack against Democratic challenger Jim Webb, spotlighting sexual scenes in Webb's novels that Allen said show "a pattern of disrespectful treatment toward women."
Allen's accusations came as the Republican senator insisted to reporters on Friday that "this campaign ought to be about issues, ideas and a proven record."
Webb responded by citing the critical acclaim given to many of his works and faulting Allen for extracting "a few sentences" for political gain.
"They go after character assassinations," Webb said of the Allen camp. "They try to drive wedges among people on various emotional issues."
The mixture of literature and politics is the latest twist in a hotly contested race that has remained fixed on questions about the candidates' sensitivities to race, gender and ethnicity.
Allen, a Republican, declined to say Friday whether he's read any of Webb's six novels.
"I'm busy in the midst of a campaign," he said during a stop in Harrisonburg. "I've been reading initiatives and ideas and I'm trying to motivate people and inspire people."
Allen added: "From those excerpts I have read, they are certainly demeaning to women.... The people of Virginia can judge those writings, and he should explain his writings."
Robert Holsworth, a political scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University, said Allen's attack of the books is a "high-risk" strategy.
"It may have the political effect of motivating his social-conservative base to turn out at the polls, but it also has the potential of turning off a lot of people who say, 'Hey, these are works of art,' " Holsworth said.
Allen's campaign on Thursday released the excerpts and a statement to two conservative media outlets: the Fox News Channel, and The Drudge Report, an Internet site that posted the releases online. It's not clear if any other organizations were sent the releases.
"Webb's novels portray women as servile, subordinate and promiscuous - and assign his female characters base, negative characteristics," said a statement attributed to Chris LaCivita, a senior Allen consultant.
Allen's release, according to The Drudge Report, had one-paragraph book excerpts of eight sexual scenes or descriptions of women, one scene involving two men and another involving a father and son. They were taken from five novels written by Webb since 1978.
The first excerpt cited was a scene from the 2001 book "Lost Soldiers" in which a poor Vietnamese man, on a slum path, puts his son's genitals in his mouth.
Webb, during a radio interview Friday morning on WTOP in Washington, defended the brief scene.
"It was not a sexual act," he said. "It was an observation that I actually saw when I was a journalist in a slum in Bangkok where an individual picked up his child and did that in front of 100 people. The duty of a novelist is to portray the world as it is, and, to me, it was an example of illuminating a surrounding that had nothing to do with sex."
Kristian Denny Todd, a spokesman for Webb, said later that Webb never heard an explanation for the act but believes, because no one else who saw it regarded it as unusual, that it is a part of some cultures.
The Allen campaign has been studying Webb's books for some time. In late August, the campaign compiled a 47-page report that listed all literary mentions Webb had made about sex, women, blacks, Jews, Catholics, the media and veterans. The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, also contained grids dissecting the major characters in most of the novels.
In defending his criticisms of Webb, Allen said: "He can explain why he wrote these passages or created these passages. It's up to the people of Virginia to judge my record. I'm very proud of my record, and I've always said this campaign ought to be based on issues, ideas and a proven record of performance."
The Allen campaign sought to underscore one of its constant charges this fall: that Webb is insensitive to women. In commercials and at news conferences, Allen has repeatedly cited a 1979 magazine article by Webb in which he rued the admission of women into the U.S. Naval Academy. Webb wrote that the women were incapable of leading men in combat and had turned a Navy dormitory into "a horny woman's dream."
Webb apologized for the tone of the article this fall and said he is now comfortable with the role of women in the military.
Allen has been hurt this summer and fall by stories that he leveled an ethic slur at Webb campaign worker of Indian descent, denied his Jewish heritage and may have frequently used an epithet to refer to black people in the early 1970s - a charge he denies.
LaCivita, in explaining the examination of the novels, wrote, "It seems Sen. Allen, regardless of the validity of an allegation, is held to a different standard - a standard that with just a little scrutiny, Jim Webb can't pass."
Webb said the argument is preposterous.
"Literature is literature," he said. "... Some of it involves places where people have never been that I've been. If you want to show them how the world lives, you have to step forward."
Webb's novels generally deal with war and international intrigue. Several of his books have received glowing reviews and are taught in universities.
"Lost Soldiers" contains a dust-jacket rave written by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who called it, "a novel of revenge and redemption that tells us much about where Vietnam is headed and where it has been."
John Casey, a novelist and professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia, said authors should not be confused with their characters.
"If a character slaps his girlfriend, it doesn't mean that the author slapped his girlfriend," said Casey, who won a National Book Award in 1989 for his novel "Spartina."
George Allen Has Not Earned the Right to Question Jim Webb’s Recollections of War – So Just Shut Up!
Hillary Bashing (and Bill)
Falwell Says Faithful Fear Clinton More Than Devil
The evangelical leader tells a conference that the New York senator will mobilize his base like no one else if she runs for president.
September 24, 2006 WASHINGTON — Nothing will motivate conservative evangelical Christians to vote Republican in the 2008 presidential election more than a Democratic nominee named Hillary Rodham Clinton — not even a run by the devil himself.
That was the sentiment expressed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the longtime evangelical icon and founder of the once-powerful Moral Majority, during private remarks Friday to church pastors and activists as part of the Values Voter Summit hosted this weekend by the country's leading Christian conservatives.
A recording of Falwell's comments was obtained by The Times, and his remarks were confirmed by eyewitnesses.
"I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate," Falwell said, according to the recording. "She has $300 million so far. But I hope she's the candidate. Because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton."
Cheers and laughter filled the room as Falwell continued: "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."
At that moment in the recording, Falwell's voice is drowned out by hoots of approval. But two in attendance, including a Falwell staff member, confirmed that Falwell said that even Lucifer, the fallen angel synonymous with Satan in Christian theology, would not mobilize his followers as much as the New York senator and former first lady would.
One critic who has been observing the conference said Saturday that Falwell's words offered a rare glimpse into how religious conservative leaders were planning to inflame opposition to the Democrats with below-the-radar messages that are often more scorching than the ones showing up in public.
"He was calling Hillary Clinton a demonic figure and openly arguing that God is a Republican," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "It's hard to know whether people thought he was joking or serious, but once you start using religious imagery and invoking a politician in this way, it's not funny. A lot of people who listen to him do think that she's a dark force of evil in America."
Such controversy is nothing new for Falwell, who once described Islam's prophet Muhammad as a terrorist and said that abortion providers, feminists, gays and lesbians were to blame for the 9/11 attacks.
An aide to Falwell said Saturday that the Lucifer reference was an "off the cuff" comment and that Falwell "had no intentions of demonizing her."
Smears of liberals
Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox
October 25, 2006 Possibly worse than making fun of someone's disability is saying that it's imaginary. That is not to mock someone's body, but to challenge a person's guts, integrity, sanity.
To Rush Limbaugh on Monday, Michael J. Fox looked like a faker. The actor, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has done a series of political ads supporting candidates who favor stem cell research, including Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, who is running against Republican Michael Steele for the Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes.
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
Limbaugh, whose syndicated radio program has a weekly audience of about 10 million, was reacting to Fox's appearance in another one of the spots, for Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, running against Republican Sen. James M. Talent.
But the Cardin ad is similar. It is hard to watch, unless, for some reason, you don't believe it. As he speaks, Fox's restless torso weaves and writhes in a private dance. His head bobs from side to side, almost leaving the video frame.
"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself."
Later Monday, still on the air, Limbaugh would apologize, but reaction to his statements from Parkinson's experts and Fox's supporters was swift and angry.
"It's a shameless statement," John Rogers said yesterday. Rogers, Fox's political adviser, who also serves on the board of the Parkinson's Action Network, added: "It's insulting. It's appallingly sad, at best."
"Anyone who knows the disease well would regard his movement as classic severe Parkinson's disease," said Elaine Richman, a neuroscientist in Baltimore who co-wrote "Parkinson's Disease and the Family." "Any other interpretation is misinformed."
Fox was campaigning yesterday for Tammy Duckworth, a congressional candidate, outside Chicago, when he alluded to Limbaugh's remarks. "It's ironic, given some of the things that have been said in the last couple of days, that my pills are working really well right now," he said, according to a report on the CBS2 Web site.
After his apology, Limbaugh shifted his ground and renewed his attack on Fox.
"Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial," Limbaugh said, according to a transcript on his Web site. "All right then, I stand corrected. . . . So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act."
Then Limbaugh pivoted to a different critique: "Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democratic politician."
Limbaugh's shock at Fox's appearance is a measure of the disease's devastation, advocates say. Contrary to the charge that Fox might not take his medicine to enhance his symptoms, the medicine produces some of the uncontrolled body movements.
"Stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," Fox says in the Cardin ad. "But George Bush and Michael Steele would put limits on the most promising stem cell research."
Fox has appeared in ABC's "Boston Legal" this season. In his scenes, taped over the summer, Fox does not shake or loll his head as he does in the Cardin commercial, but does appear to be restraining himself, appearing almost rigid at times.
A source with direct knowledge of Fox's illness who viewed the Cardin ad said Fox is not acting to exaggerate the effects of the disease. The source said Fox's scenes in "Boston Legal" had to be taped around his illness, as he worked to control the tremors associated with Parkinson's for limited periods of time.
In a Free Society, Campaigns Matter: The GOP Must Give Voters a Clear Choice
by Newt Gingrich Posted Oct 16, 2006 The elite media are giddy with anti-Republican euphoria. Their coverage has not been this biased against Republicans in three decades.
The Democrats are excited and convinced they will win a big victory.
Republicans are worried, demoralized and confused. I have been in eight states recently and the mood is similar everywhere.
Yet, an election is a choice between two futures. By simply comparing the positions of each party based upon historic facts, the choice of the desired future will become clear to the majority of the American people. And that choice is neither one in which Democrats celebrate nor Republicans concede.
Here is the choice for 2006.
A Vital Moment for America: Who Is Historically Right, and Who Is Historically Wrong?
Republicans should enter these closing weeks of the election with clarity, conviction and confidence. The GOP owes it to the American people to give them an inspiring choice. When you are right, you have confidence.
The theme is simple: We can't go back to the failed policies of the past.
- Republicans are right on defeating terrorism, and the left is wrong in wanting to run and hide from danger and take up the disastrous policies of appeasement and weakness that defined the Carter Administration. Americans should never again face a 444-day hostage crisis in Iran or an energy policy which leads to gasoline rationing. If every American understood the consequences of losing to the terrorists, the Democrats would lose seats this November.
- Republicans are right on cutting taxes and growing a better economy, and the left is wrong in their desire to raise taxes, enlarge command-and-control bureaucracies and return to their failed economic policies, which during the Carter Administration pushed America into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. It was a Democrat Congress and a Democrat administration that presided over interest rates of 22 percent and inflation at 13 percent, and it was a Democrat President who gave a speech in which he lectured the American people to expect less and to lower their standards. If every American knew that Congressman Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), the Democrat choice to head the Ways and Means Committee, had promised to raise their taxes, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.
- Republicans are right to favor traditional American conservative social values, and the left is completely wrong to put San Francisco left-wing values third in line to be President by electing Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to speaker of the House. If every American knew the Pelosi voting record, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.
Republicans can turn this around, but they must make the case.
Newt Gingrich's "traditional American conservative social values":
Newt Gingrich argued yesterday that Republicans should remind the electorate that "Republicans are right to favor traditional American conservative social values, and the left is completely wrong to put San Francisco left-wing values third in line to be President by electing Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to speaker of the House."
Nancy Pelosi's "San Francisco left-wing values":
- "Upon graduation in 1962, she married Georgetown University graduate Paul Pelosi." "Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and Alexandra, and five grandchildren."
Newt Gingrich's "traditional American conservative social values":
- In 1981, Newt dumped his first wife, Jackie Battley, for Marianne, wife number 2, while Jackie was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment. Marianne and Newt divorced in December, 1999 after Marianne found out about Newt's long-running affair with Callista Bisek, his one-time congressional aide. Gingrich asked Marianne for the divorce by phoning her on Mother's Day, 1999. [Source: New York Post, July 18, 2000, Newt's Ex Wife Aiming to Pen Book by Bill Sanderson, available on lexis]. Newt (57) and Callista (34) were married in a private ceremony in a hotel courtyard in Alexandria, Va. in August, 2000. . . .
- "He famously visited Jackie in the hospital where she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer to discuss details of the divorce. He later resisted paying alimony and child support for his two daughters, causing a church to take up a collection. For all of his talk of religious faith and the importance of God, Gingrich left his congregation over the pastor's criticism of his divorce."
The consistency in reasoning is at least impressive. Those who evaded military service during wars they cheered on are brave, courageous, resolute warriors. Those who fought for their country in combat are cowards and appeasers.
Those who repeatedly dump their wives for new and better versions, and run around engaging in the sleaziest and most unrestrained sexual behavior, are stalwart defenders of traditional American and Christian values. Those who stay married to their original spouse for their entire lives and raise a family together are godless, radical heathens who represent "San Francisco values" and seek to undermine the country's moral fiber and Christian traditions.
How the Myth of Spat on Vets Holds Back the Anti-War Movement
Q: In the recent days the British general responsible for British troops in Iraq has make remarkably strong calls for British troops to be removed from Iraq. So it’s pretty timely to have a discussion like this, since I’m finding that there are quite a few students who are opposed to the US occupation of Iraq, but are afraid to "go against" the soldiers, many of whom are friends or relatives. First thing, though, is, for the sake of those who haven’t read your book The Spitting Image, maybe you could give a quick intro to the key arguments of the book.
Lembcke: I got interested in this topic in the runup to the Persian Gulf War in 90–91. There were students who were opposed to the war, but afraid to speak out because of what they had heard about the antiwar movement and veterans during the Vietnam War era. These stories of "spat upon" vets were beginning to circulate in the news and students on campuses were picking up on these stories. I had never heard these stories before. So I got interested in where they were coming from, how long they had been told, who was telling them and so forth.
One thing led to another and I kept looking back in the historical records, when people were actually coming home from Vietnam and I found out that no, there was no record. Not only was there no record of people spat on, but none of anyone claiming that they were spat on. So then I got interested in the stories as a form of myth and found out that in other times and other places, especially Germany after WWI, soldiers came home and told stories of feeling rejected by people and particularly stories of being spat on.
Like with the case of the Vietnam stories many of the "spitters" were young girls and knowing that these things happened at another time and place supposedly, I found out about a Freudian psychologist who wrote about male fantasies and treated these stories as fantasies, expressions of the subconscious, men who felt they’d lost manhood in the war. When I told a psychologist friend of mine in women's studies, she asked me who the spitters were…she too thought it was likely a myth since the spitters were women, an expression of loss of manhood.
Looking a little further, I found that French soldiers returning from Indochina after defeat at Dien Bien Phu also told stories of being treated badly, rejected by women, attacked by women on the streets, having to take their uniforms off before going in public, being ashamed of their military service. These were very similar to stories circulating in the 1980’s in the US. The time gap between the end of the Vietnam War and when the stories began to be told is also a sign that there is something of an element of myth or legend. That’s the key part of the book, not whether or not such things, since it’s hard to refute what isn’t documented, ever happened, as much as the mythical element.
And of course we see how the rise of the myth had an effect on support for the war in Iraq.
Q: And what is the link that you see?
Lembcke: In a nutshell, most people remember there was pretty widespread opposition to the US going into Iraq with huge demos in February and March of 2003. And then there were a good number of "support the troops" rallies that tapped into the popular sentiment that something bad happened to the troops when they returned from Vietnam. The very slogan "support the troops" with the yellow ribbons and all that sort of presumes that someone doesn’t support the troops and that presumption is based on that sentiment, belief that when people came home from Vietnam they were treated badly and we don’t want to do that again this time.
By having these rallies in 2003, the people who supported the war use support the troops as a way to support the war. A lot of these rallies told stories of Vietnam vets who had been spat on. I got calls from people in Florida, North Carolina, Vermont,…news reporters who had been at these rallies and asking me, "What about these stories?" Sometimes they would even have men who said they were vets or family members who claimed they remembered someone being spat on. The myth was used to drum up emotional support for the troops, or better said, to dampen down opposition to the war. Again, the same way it worked during the Persian Gulf War, some were afraid of being outspoken against the war lest they be accused of being "against the troops."
I teach at Holy Cross College and just the other day in one of my classes, in the context of talking about the context of the Bush administration’s strategy of being very accusatory toward critics of the war policy as being "cut and run" Democrats, "soft on terrorism..." With no more context than that, one of my students said she was "undecided about the war, but as long as the troops were fighting it was really important to "support the troops and we have to support the mission…" Now is not the time to be critical of the war, it was, in her mind…all mixed together.
That’s the way it works on people’s emotions. It throws them off-target. The target is the war itself and what we need to be doing is opposing the war itself. Often emotions get kind of confused with this stuff about "supporting the troops." It creates just enough space for the administration to push on ahead.
Concert rocks the Bush vote
04 August, 2006 CHULA VISTA – The Sean Hannity Freedom Concert filled Coors Amphitheatre on Wednesday night with country music, patriotic appeals and political commentary that covered the entire spectrum.
Everything from the right to the far right.
“The liberals don't hold rallies like this, do they?” one of the featured guests, radio talk show host Mark Levin, asked the audience of 13,000. “We raise the flag. They burn the flag.”
Welcome to the conservative Woodstock. Since 2003, Hannity, a Fox News Channel and radio commentator, has hosted an annual “Freedom Concert” in New Jersey. The format is a tried-and-true blend of country performers (Hank Williams Jr., Lee Greenwood) and red-state celebrities (Oliver North, Ann Coulter, Tom DeLay).
Mt. Soledad Cross Case
Judge in cross case praised by colleagues, Liberal and activist labels called unfair
In a May 10 letter to President Bush asking for help to preserve the cross, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, took a broad swipe at “liberal judges” who have ruled on the case over the years.
Without naming names, Hunter lamented that “liberal judges have continued to rely on their interpretation of the California State Constitution to justify the removal of this historic memorial.”
Thompson has also become a target of the invective that litters blogs and Web sites discussing the case.
“A liberal activist judge has ordered the city of San Diego to remove a cross from Mt. Soledad or be fined $5,000 a day,” blared a May 5 posting from the conservative American Family Association.
Thompson is many things, but those who know him – former law clerks, lawyers who have been in his courtroom, former colleagues – say there are two things he most certainly is not: liberal or activist.
Instead they describe the judge – now 76 and on senior status with the court – as a rock-ribbed, serious-minded jurist with a reputation for handing down tough sentences in criminal cases.
Thompson was nominated to the bench in June 1970 by President Nixon, hardly a noted liberal.
It's a memorial for those who can pay
We need to put our efforts and money into improving the memorial. The private association receives no government funding, depending instead on membership donations and the purchase of plaques. Corporations will not donate if they think their money will go to legal costs so construction budgets have been tight for years.
The park needs more hand railings, parklike landscaping and flood lighting for night-time hours "so the veterans will be in perpetual light, shining on their service to their country" a docent told me. It also needs an on-site weatherproof, vandal-proof system for locating a veteran's plaque.
There are also plans to install additional walls to honor even more veterans, but that's impossible to do if the cross' future is in legal limbo.
And let's pass the hat for another commemorative statue that represents all our veterans' service to our country.
The plaques will last 300 years. Litigation shouldn't.
Pelosi’ll gitcha if you don’t watch out!
September 20, 2006 TERRE HAUTE — Despite what I understand about the sausage-making nature of politics (you don’t want to watch what goes on in the process), it is weird to see a woman I actually know portrayed as the antichrist and a city in which I lived for three decades as the gateway to hell.
But those nightmare visions are the theme of a Republican ad campaign that takes aim at U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her city.
“San Francisco values don’t belong in Indiana,” says an anti-Brad Ellsworth mailer with the Golden Gate Bridge in the middle of a Hoosier farm. “…a vote for the Democrats is a vote to give San Francisco more power,” says the Indiana Republican Party chair.
The last time I talked to Pelosi was this past spring in the basement of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in San Francisco. The House minority leader and her husband were among several hundred people who’d gathered for a fund-raising dinner for a homeless charity organization that was founded a few years ago by film director Francis Ford Coppola.
Paul Pelosi was eyeing a candy-apple red Vespa that would be auctioned off for the charity. Nancy, dressed like all the guests in casual clothes, kiddingly reminded him he already has one of the classic Italian scooters.
She had given up trying to finish her pasta dinner as a steady parade of visitors — most of them friends — plunked down next to her to talk about San Francisco, Washington, their families, the homeless, the economy, Iraq and politics. As in my short catch-up with her, she asked more questions about each visitor’s welfare than she offered about her own work and worries.
Spending just a little “real time” with her reminded me what a remarkable human being Pelosi is. Born into a political family in Baltimore, she nevertheless served as a stay-at-home mother until her five children were old enough to allow Mom to pursue outside interests. Late start notwithstanding, she made her way from mere campaign worker to the first female member of Congress to be selected as her party’s house leader.
She and Paul have been married for 43 years and have grandchildren, yet there is a definite electricity between them that conveys “still best friends and lovers — after all these years.”
The encounter also reconnected me to a reality with which most of us lose touch, whatever our party affiliation: Our political leaders are people, not laminated cardboard cut-outs nor incarnations of Satan or Jesus.
McCain Primary Election
Bob J. Perry
Hooley campaign fighting 'swift boat' group ads
October 18, 2006 The Oregon Democrat says the California-based Economic Freedom Fund is bankrolled by the Texas homebuilder who backed the "Swift Boat" ads against Democrat John Kerry in 2004.
The group accuses Hooley of "playing politics with the lives of our soldiers" in TV ads running across her Salem-based Fifth Congressional District.
Hooley campaign spokesman Matthew Schumaker calls the military ad, quote, "a total distortion that just doesn't ring true."
He says Hooley has made support for veterans and the National Guard a core campaign issue. And now she's calling on her Republican opponent, Mike Erickson, to ask for the ad to be removed.
Rove associate backs group sponsoring ad attacking Lamont
October 16, 2006 A new television commercial that targets Democr tic Senate candidate Ned Lamont as a "tax-hiking liberal" is being aired by a tax-exempt advocacy group funded by a major Repub ican donor from Texas who worked with White House politica guru Karl Rove.
That funder, Bob J. Perry, also was the chief financial backer of Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth, another tax-exempt organization that attacked the reputation of U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts in the 2004 presidential election.
Perry, a homebuilder in Houston, contributed a total of $1 million last week to the Washington, D.C.-based group that is sponsoring the ad attacking Lamont, the Free Enterprise Fund, according to Political MoneyLine, an Internet-based subscriber service started by two former Federal Election Commission officials and now owned by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly.
The Free Enterprise Fund subsequently reported spending $59,562 and $124,330, respectively, on "electioneering communications" related to Lamont's challenge to U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in Connecticut and the election bid of another Democratic senate candidate, Jon Tester, in Montana.
Perry worked with Rove in Texas as early as the 1986 gubernatorial campaign, when Perry was the Republican candidate's campaign treasurer and Rove his consultant and fundraiser. Rove later "carefully cultivated" Perry and other big Republican donors in the ad.
President Bush and the chairman of the National Republican Committee, Ken Mehlman, have declined to endorse the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger. That has most analysts to conclude that Lieberman, who after losing the Democratic primary to Lamont is now running as an independent candidate, is the White House's preferred candidate.
Lamont's campaign spokeswoman, Liz Dupont Diehl, said Friday that the connections between Perry, Rove, and the Swift Boat group, "really show whose Joe Lieberman's friends are.
"Here is proof positive that Lieberman is more likely to side with George Bush and Dick Cheney than people of Connecticut," she said. "And these are the very same people behind the swift boat campaign, one of the most disgraceful incidents in American political campaigning, which defined new lows, and they are choosing to focus on Connecticut and to focus on Joe Lieberman."
Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth, which collected more than $2 million from Perry in 2004, criticized Kerry's service in Vietnam and questioned his wartime commendations.
Lieberman's spokeswoman, Tammy Sun, adamantly denied any connection between the incumbent's campaign and the Free Enterprise Fund ad, noting that would be illegal.
"The increasingly desperate Lamont campaign knows full well that we had no role or involvement of any kind in these ads," she said. "Much like Lamont's false attacks last week to scare seniors into believing that Joe Lieberman supports privatizing Social Security when he does not, Ned is distorting facts to mislead voters into believing something that is not true.
"Is Ned Lamont now accusing us of breaking the law by coordinating with a 527?" she added, referring to federal tax code under which the Free Enterprise Fund is organized. "We're still hearing no new ideas, only negative and false attacks."
The 30-second spot that is expected to run for a week charges that Lamont is "wrong about why jobs are leaving" Connecticut and blames the problem on the state's "highest taxes in the nation."
It also advises people to complain to Lamont and displays the telephone number of the cable company executive's business office.
Todd Schorle, a spokesman for the Free Enterprise Fund, said Friday that the spot was "an issue ad in which we wanted to let the voters know Ned Lamont's status on taxes in the state."
The spokesman also said he did not know how much the ad cost the group.
The organization said in a statement issued when the commercial began running Wednesday that it was part of its campaign "to educate the American people about liberal attempts to undermine the free market agenda."
The Free Enterprise Fund was organized last year after what the New York Times described as "a rift among the handful of millionaires behind the Club for Growth, a conservative fundraising powerhouse."
It has reportedly pursued "take action" campaigns to counter the national liberal organization MoveOn.org., repeal the state tax, change the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that required changes in corporate accounting and reporting, and reform Social Security.
It is chaired by New York businessman Mallory Factor. Jack Kemp, a former professional football player and Republican congressman from New York who is backing Lieberman, was one of the group's "honorary co-chairs" until Kemp's resignation earlier this year.
As a "527" committee, the group is permitted to raise money for political activities, including issue advocacy.
'527' political groups raise cash, ready negative ads
October 15, 2006 WASHINGTON -- A previously unknown group led by a Republican political consultant in Houston is financing TV advertisements against nine Democratic House candidates from North Carolina to Arizona.
Americans for Honesty on Issues is spending more than $1 million on the ads, which accuse Democratic candidates of carpetbagging, coddling illegal immigrants, being soft on crime and advocating cutting off money for troops in Iraq. The TV spots appear to be the bow wave of a boatload of negative political advertising that will appear in the final weeks before the Nov. 7 election.
Many ads will be produced by independent organizations known as 527 groups, after the part in the tax code that allows them to spend virtually unlimited sums on political activity as long as it is not formally coordinated with parties or candidates. The 527 groups had raised nearly $200 million as of June 30. The total raised and spent by the groups on this election could surpass $300 million, eclipsing the $258 million spent in the last midterm election, in 2002.
The leader of Americans for Honesty on Issues is Sue Walden, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader who left Congress amid questions on ethics and fundraising. Walden also has raised money for President Bush. She referred a call seeking comment to Glenn M. Willard, a lawyer with Patton Boggs in Washington. Willard confirmed that Walden was the nominal head of the committee, but he declined to identify the group's donors or say how much it planned to spend.
Emily's List, which supports Democratic candidates, reported spending nearly $2 million from July to September.
Among the most active Republican 527 groups is the Economic Freedom Fund, which received a $5 million contribution from Bob J. Perry, a major Bush donor and underwriter of the Swift boat veterans group in 2004.
Swiftboat Veterans Against Truth
Kerry takes on 'Swift Boat' challenge. The senator accepts a Texas oilman's offer to pay $1 million for each statement from the veterans group that can be proven false. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-kerry17nov17,0,5368587.story?coll=la-home-center
It came during a campaign rally for California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. Kerry opened his speech at Pasadena City College with several one-liners, saying at one point that Bush had lived in Texas but now "lives in a state of denial."
He then said: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
That, Kerry said, was meant as a reference to Bush, not troops. Kerry said it is the president who owes U.S. soldiers an apology -- for "a Katrina foreign policy" that misled the country into war in Iraq, failed to adequately study and plan for the aftermath, has not properly equipped troops and has expanded the terrorist threat.
The Massachusetts Democrat called the White House attack "a classic GOP textbook Republican campaign tactic" that reveals Republicans' "willingness to reduce anything in America to raw politics."
"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes," he said. "It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did."
Unsubstantiated allegations about Kerry's Vietnam War heroism from a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth figured prominently in the 2004 Kerry-Bush race. Even Kerry has blamed his slow and uncertain response to the group's claims for helping to doom his White House chances, and Democrats viewed today's fracas as a test of that lesson.
"Enough is enough. We're not going to stand for this," Kerry said. "We are going to stay in their face with the truth."
NOT-SO-SMART COLLEGE BOYS
By Suzanne Fields
John Kerry's insult of the troops in Iraq actually offered a little insight. His "advice" to students at Pasadena City Community College in California would have been conventional wisdom on almost any "elite" campus, particularly in the Ivy League, where almost anyone is eager to tell you that only chumps go to Iraq -- or anywhere within the sound of the guns.
When President Nixon ended the draft of an earlier generation the principled protests against the Vietnam War vanished overnight. Most of the Ivy League schools continue to bar the ROTC from campus. Harvard booted ROTC in 1969 and banished it again in 1993, presumably because the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy violated campus ideals. The crimson cadets train now at MIT, funded by an alumni trust.
One of the most unpopular views of Lawrence Summers, who served briefly as president of Harvard, was his support for the military. He was the first Harvard president to talk at an ROTC commissioning ceremony after it was exiled from campus. He told his students to honor patriotism by understanding the requirements of national defense after 9/11: "Not the soft understanding that glides over questions of right and wrong, but the hard-won comprehension that the threat before us demands." He was soon exiled himself.
An honest embrace of diversity and multiculturalism would require inclusion of the military. But in the Ivy League not all diverse cultures are equal. Faculty and students share John Kerry's contempt for the military man and woman.
But the senator's inadvertentinsight hasn't received the notice it deserves: A college education doesn't necessarilymake someone smart. In "Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education," Harry R. Lewis, dean of Harvard College, describes what Harvard students don't learn even when they study. "In the absence of any pronouncement that anything is more important than anything else for Harvard students to know, Harvard is declaring that one can be an educated person in the 21st century without knowing anything about genomes, chromosomes, or Shakespeare."
Derek Bok, Harvard's current president, echoes and extends this criticism in "Our Underachieving Colleges," where students can't write, can't reason, can't speak or read a foreign language, and lack the ability to think critically. "Most," he writes, "have never taken a course in quantitative reasoning or acquired the knowledge needed to be a reasonably informed citizen in a democracy." Worse, they don't know what they don't know. Surveys show these naive relativists, destructive deconstructionists and superficial sophomore philosophers, incapable of analyzing and dissecting even their own ideas, to be immensely pleased with their educations. Maybe it's just as well they don't serve in the military.
But problems emerge when the schism mentality expressed by John Kerry fuses contempt for military service with a sense of superiority for not serving. In "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How it Hurts Our Country," Kathryn Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer expose the core of such elitism: "When those who benefit most from living in a country contribute the least to its defense, and those who benefit least are asked to pay the ultimate price, something happens to the soul of that country."
A prejudice against the military, coupled with grade inflation and lack of intellectual discipline, combine to create spoiled and pampered students who lack the will to defend their country from those who would destroy it. It was not always thus. In World War I, a draft was established in part to prevent the nation's most privileged young men from volunteering, compelled though they were by a sense of honor and a desire to serve. They were needed more, so it was argued, for civilian jobs and leadership at home.
Fewer than a third of the current members of Congress have worn the uniform, down from three-quarters in 1971. Congressmen of the future are even less likely to be veterans and some of the veterans in Congress today are like John Kerry, infatuated with the politics of protest. Our wars, says a curmudgeon of my acquaintance, "are started by men educated at Harvard and Yale and fought by young men educated at Central High School and Oklahoma State and Colorado Christian and North Carolina A&T."
First Lt. Vincent J. Tuohey, Class of '01, is one of the Harvard exceptions. He graduated to serve in Iraq and learned more in the military than he ever did on the banks of the Charles. "Decisiveness, discipline, and focus were not skills that I honed in college," he tells the Harvard Crimson. "Understandably, Harvard did not prepare me for the stresses of combat or the skills needed to fight an insurgency. The Army did."
Murtha Smear Campain
Ohio's not-so-mean Jean Schmidt
The congresswoman who called Jack Murtha a coward runs for her life against her own dragon-lady image.
Schmidt charged, "Send Congressman Murtha a message: Cowards cut and run. Marines never do." Small wonder that there was a weariness and wariness in Schmidt's tone as she responded to my predictable questions about the incident. "I would have changed the words," she said. "I would have been more artful. But never the message, because we can't pull out."
When I persisted, she protested, "I don't want to go down that road. I've been down it too often. But if you check the mood, it was the straw that broke the camel's back." Those last words were somewhat cryptic. In the context of the conversation, they seemed to refer both to Schmidt's reputed ignorance of Murtha's Marine background and the lasting damage that one-minute speech did to Schmidt's political reputation.
Martha Alito fled weeping: Senate's Democrats smeared
Steve Schmidt displayed his uncanny political talent -- the ability to launch "rapid response" -- when Martha Alito fled weeping after senators cast her husband, Judge Samuel Alito, as a closet racist during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Working the phones, the lawmakers and the media, Schmidt, the administration's point man on Alito's confirmation, lamented that she had been pushed to the limit by the Senate's Democrats.
"The American people who saw this hearing today are going to be troubled by some of the tactics of the Democrats, who I think didn't focus on law, didn't want to have an uplifting debate -- but made a decision to try to attack Judge Alito and tear him down in the most unfair way, Schmidt, 35, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in one live interview.
Republicans -- even some frustrated Democratic opponents -- shook their heads in admiration. Thanks to Schmidt's smear, the incident ballooned into front page headlines and photos sympathetic to the judge.
Governor's team adds former Rove protege, Political 'artillery shell' Steve Schmidt joins re-election effort
"I love California, Schmidt said. "It's a great privilege to be able to come back and work for a visionary governor who has restored both opportunity and a sense of direction to the state.
AP continued to mislead on purported Abramoff-Reid link Summary: Two days after an Associated Press report ignored crucial details that undermine a link between Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a follow-up AP article misrepresented new evidence, which the AP suggested provides further confirmation of such a link but, in fact, casts additional doubt on whether such a link exists.
Bush bashing by teacher spurs threats
Bennish said he invites opposing views, as long as students can back up their arguments.
He said no parents -- including the family of the student who recorded the lecture -- have complained to him, and all the students' parents had seen his syllabus and that school officials had approved it.
"I think what I've learned is the level of polarization that America is facing right now," he said. "There seems to be a growing intolerance for anybody that would dare to articulate (contrary) ideas to what is ... mainstream. It's very discouraging and as a society and as a country, we need to grapple with these issues.
"I certainly think this is a very scary precedent and this is something that could inhibit teachers from actively discussing these types of issues for fear they will be the next person to be broadcast" in the media.
Bennish has weathered the criticism well for a teacher in the profession for just six years, said his mother, Jan, who teaches at Harlan Elementary.
"I'm absolutely amazed at how well he's able to handle this," she said. "I think Jay's always been very mature."
Jay Bennish's lawyer, David Lane, said he expects the school district to make a decision on his client's future on Thursday.
"Aside from right-wing talk radio, he's got a lot of support," Lane said. "He's got some of the highest student evaluations of any teacher."