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This is only tangentially related to this post, but did that mind-bogglingly stupid Move On ad in the NYT just fully screw over Congressional Democrats? It seems that it took whatever little momentum they had prior to the testimony and put them on the defensive, and gave Republicans from my local school district races to the presidential race ammunition for the next 14 months. They have been and will be forced ot defend (not likely) or run from this ad constantly, while proving what Americans already know about them: they’re wimps on national defense.

The only thing keeping the Republicans from being the most incompetent party ever formed are the Democrats. (Which leads to another question: will the GOP be smart enough to capitalize on this for the 2008 elections? Bettin’ not, but I can always dream...)

Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
There was, IMO, never any doubt that there would be enough support to continue this into early 2008. April is going to be the decision month. The Administration will have to decide if it wants to keep large forces in Iraq, knowing that might undercut GOP electoral chances (or the administration might even be in the awkward position of having the GOP candidate oppose its policies), or if it wants to decide that ’we’ve done all we can and now it’s up to the Iraqis.’ If so, then they have to decide how to leave.

So yeah, it’ll be March and April before this issue hits decision crunch time. The Democrats know it, and are trying to keep pressure on the administration, as well as satisfying public opinion. The GOP knows it has some ’political time’ before they have to make real tough calls.

So, as if in slow motion, we go into the winter watching, waiting and wondering how the Iraqis will deal with issues which, as Ambassador Crocker noted, ultimately THEY have to decide, not us.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Warrior: Democrats can easily condemn the moveon.org ad and join Republicans in saying it was out of place. They don’t need to defend it; moreover, the ad is tangential and probably will be forgotten within days. Ironically, the GOP has hyped the ad and made it far more well known than it would have been if they had let it pass without comment. Are they complicate in spreading personal attacks (not that they have any principled opposition to personal attacks, if democrats are the target)?

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Warrior: Democrats can easily condemn the moveon.org ad and join Republicans in saying it was out of place. They don’t need to defend it; moreover, the ad is tangential and probably will be forgotten within days. Ironically, the GOP has hyped the ad and made it far more well known than it would have been if they had let it pass without comment. Are they complicate in spreading personal attacks (not that they have any principled opposition to personal attacks, if democrats are the target)?
don’t be ridiculous. If this where an add by, say, a former veteran’s group attacking the military credentials of a former/current public official who served in the military, the MSM and the Democrats would be crying bloody murder. What this is is pure hypocrisy. When the shoe was on the other foot, all we heard about for MONTHS was about ’the inappropriate attacks of a veteren’s service history by people with a political axe to grind.’

In fact:
"I don’t like any kind of characterizations in our politics that call into question any active duty, distinguished general who I think under any circumstances serves with the best interests of our country," said Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and a decorated veteran.

"I think there are a lot of legitimate questions that need to be asked, a lot of probing that ought to take place; there’s a lot of legitimate accountability that needs to be achieved. It ought to be done without casting any aspersions on anyone’s character or motives," he added. - CNN
The fact that Democratic Presidential Contenders and Senate leadership is quiet on this, when their former presidential candidate and House leaders have denounced this is leaving a very bad taste in their mouths. Their silence is deafening.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Scott,

I think you misunderstand where I was going with my posed question. I meant it only from a purely political/election 2008 perspective.

If I’m a smart GOP political operative (and those are seemingly few and far between), then I paint Dems with with this ad (and the comment that the Democratic Congress expected attacks from outside groups on Petraeus), on every stupid or ill-phrased word ever uttered about the troops - eg. Schumer’s comments from a week ago that Iraq has stabilized in spite of American troops, and for every word of failure or doom that has come out of their mouth. And there’s plenty, and it’s all on tape and video. Heck, I could create half a dozen ads or more for each major Dem candidate and paint them as an anti-war fool. And while it may help them with the lunatic-fringe base and the primaries, it will destroy them with the rest of us.
Are they complicate in spreading personal attacks (not that they have any principled opposition to personal attacks, if democrats are the target)?
I think that you meant complicit instead of "complicate", and I’ll answer that by saying it doesn’t matter. I could easily make them look that way, and if I can, what do you think a good Rep strategist could do? I’ll bet you right now that the Move On ad doesn’t go away for 14 months. And to answer your question personally, yes, by their own words I think their complicit. Cowards, losers, and complicit. However, I don’t think they were expecting that garbage Move On put in the NYT, and it surprised them and put some fear in them - even the most avid Bush-hating, Republican-majority-fearing, Congresssional Dem knows in the bottom his or her weaselly heart that that ad was a mistake of gigantic proportions.

Americans, excluding the left, don’t tolerate cowards or losers. That ad defined the left - ie. Dems - as both, and it won’t wash out that easily.


Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
How can you paint the Democrats with an ad that was done by an organization not associated with the Democratic party, and one easily denounced by Democratic candidates. Also, I think you over-estimate the importance of the ad and even Gen. Petraeus. I suspect most Americans don’t really know who he is, and by the next election bringing up some game played some General’s name by a left wing group is hardly going to seem at all serious or important. I think you’ve taken a very marginal and soon to be completely forgotten event and perhaps out of wishful thinking magnified its importance. Don’t forget, most Americans are convinced this war has been a huge mistake.

The Democrats are almost certain to keep Congress (especially the Senate) and probably have a very good shot at the White House. The only thing that will change that is something real, not some attempt to parlay a clearly leftwing organization rhetoric into an attack on the Democrats. If significant improvements are made in Iraq by April and the US can start removing large numbers of troops — more than currently planned — that could really help the GOP candidate’s chances at winning the Presidency. At this time I see virtually no shot at the GOP taking the Senate back (the numbers and personalities just aren’t there), and even Congress will be tough — most people vote on the person in their district, not on national trends. And, of course, in those elections it’ll be easy for a Democrat to condemn moveon.org’s ad and thus it’ll be impossible to try to use that to label a candidate who the constituents know.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
How can you paint the Democrats with an ad that was done by an organization not associated with the Democratic party,
so now you’re dillusional, too?

“In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the Party doesn’t need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it’s our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back.” - MoveOn.org PAC
Saying MoveOn.org isn’t associated with the Democratic Party is like saying Texas isn’t associated with the United States.

The next part is simply diversionary tactics: you yourself cannot accept what they say, but at the same time you agree, so you cannot denounce it. It’s a tough pickle to be placed in.

So, instead, you bring up irrelevent information (your entire first paragraph) in an attempt to steer the conversation away from your dilemma. It’s called ’side-stepping’, but you lack the grace, seeing as you contradict yourself. If ’soon to be completely forgotten event’ then surely ’in those elections it’ll be easy for a Democrat to condemn moveon.org’s ad and thus it’ll be impossible to try to use that to label a candidate who the constituents know.’ would never happen because that’s a year away. You yourself don’t believe what you’re writing.

Facts are facts: MoveOn.org, a left wing blog withh very, very, very close ties to the Democratic Party (conference calls, largest donors, PAC’s, etc)put together a tasteless and obscene ad targeting the character of a General. While they are certainly free to do so, they also open themselves, and their associates, up to criticism for their thoughtless and offensive actions. It’s not Political Correctness, it’s well deserved crtiticism.




Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, I guarantee you, this is going to quickly be (in fact it probably already is) a non-story. Even now the only people talking about it are conservatives, trying to use it to distract attention away from the substance of the issue of the Iraq war. It’s not working, it doesn’t have legs. If it did, it would still be easy for Democrats to simply denounce the tactic by moveon.org, but they won’t have to because virtually no one really thinks some name game ad in the New York Times is much of an issue — no matter how much you want it be. Right wing blogs may keep talking about it for awhile, but that’ll be it. It’s sort of like that Thomas Beauchamps story, which was marginal and has already been forgotten, despite all the efforts of the right to make it an issue.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
it would still be easy for Democrats to simply denounce the tactic by moveon.org,


No, the Democrat are bought and paid for. They cannot renounce MoveOn. They depend upon money from the lunatic left.
It’s sort of like that Thomas Beauchamps story, which was marginal and has already been forgotten, despite all the efforts of the right to make it an issue.
Beauchamp simply reminds us that The New Republic can’t be trusted.

And it was fun watching you continue defending a hopeless cause on this. The rationalization that Beauchamp was telling the truth!

Written By: Don
URL: http://
Joel, I guarantee you, this is going to quickly be (in fact it probably already is) a non-story.
Your own statements lead me to believe you don’t believe that yourself, unless you misspoke.
Even now the only people talking about it are conservatives, trying to use it to distract attention away from the substance of the issue of the Iraq war.
Two points here:

First: why would they want to distract attention when the one’s who are going crazy are the Democrats, who don’t know how to spin this to mitigate the problems it poses. Half of them are saying one thing, while the other half are saying the exact opposite, and that’s their own leadership! Also, they’re all saying this contrary to the actual facts.

Secondly: as a Professor in Political Science, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the power of the media lies in it’s ability to ’set the agenda’, or what people read/hear about on the broadcasts/print. This is a huge bonus to the Democrats, since it’s well established that the media solidly swings to the left. So bearing that in mind, why do you think Networks like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and print like the Washington Post and the New York Times itself are skirting this issue when they all couldn’t get enough of reporting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads against Senator Kerry in 2004, and even then what those Vets did was nowhere near as bad as what MoveOn.org has done. For Pete’s sake, Professor, the Times gave the blog a massive discount they probably don’t even give to their families!

It’s also funny you mention the Beauchamps story, considering that’s another scenario where it would have damaged the Left instead of the right.

Here’s the thing, and please don’t take this as an insult: you’re an old fashioned kinda guy, and I think you’re really missing the point of exactly how bad this could easily get for the Dems if they are even seen to quietly support this. This is no longer the 1980’s, when the MSM enjoyed it’s monopoly over the spread of information, nor even the 90’s when the only voice to be heard was Matt Drudge. With the advent of the Blogosphere, we’re suddenly seeing people get their news PRIMARILY from the internet or parody shows like Stewart’s or Colbert’s. This fiasco is’nt going to go away any time soon, and I truly believe it could be a problem for the Democrats if they don’t act decisively here.

Besides, if for no other reason, it’s the right thing to do regardless of ideology. It’s not, as you keep trying to say ’a silly name game’. This is slander of the highest degree and shameless character assasinations. I can’t help but feel that, were the roles reversed, you’d be having a cow. I know this because I have many professors like you: intelligent men and women who cannot get past their ideologies while analyzing political scandals.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Well, what the swift boat people did to John Kerry had a far greater impact since he was running for something, and they spent massive amounts of money to try to spread their story which, by all accounts, was false in most aspects. C’est la politique in the 21st century, I guess. So comparatively, this is really minor, and it can’t damage Petraeus in any concrete way, I suspect he just rolled his eyes and shook his head at the immaturity of it. Also, one thing about the media today is that attention spans are extremely short. A story dies, a new one takes its place. This isn’t even getting major coverage as a fresh story, nor have I heard anyone outside blogs like this even talking about it. The idea that somehow it can become something major strikes me as not only unlikely, but not even possible. We’ll see.

BTW, in my blog today I discuss the media a bit — not related to this story, but in terms of politics and power. That also will tell you something about my ideology, I don’t fit onto the traditional left-right spectrum.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Well, what the swift boat people did to John Kerry had a far greater impact since he was running for something, and they spent massive amounts of money to try to spread their story which, by all accounts, was false in most aspects.
So this is about who it affects, not that it’s wrong? That’s a strange bar to set.

Besides: we’ll never know whether or not the swifties were telling the truth or not and, quite frankly, i found the entire thing irrelevant anyway. It doesn’t matter what they did when they were 20 years old: I’m more concerned with their policies now.
I suspect he just rolled his eyes and shook his head at the immaturity of it.
because he’s the bigger, better man.

I don’t think you understand: this is about what’s right and what’s wrong, and what they did was wrong and should be condemned, but the Democrats won’t because they stand to loose too much.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Yeah, what they did was wrong — though typical for what comes out of political organizations these days, left and right. But still it was wrong. I think the Democrats realize that if they talk about it it’ll be in the news, but if they are silent, it will fade away. I just don’t think this is a big story or issue.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Well, what the swift boat people did to John Kerry had a far greater impact since he was running for something, and they spent massive amounts of money to try to spread their story which, by all accounts, was false in most aspects.
Sigh...

The mythical "debunking" of the Swift Boaters appears again. It unfortunately has the same sort of existence as the plastic turkey.

Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Oh, the swift boat folk have been shown to almost certainly be politically motivated liars. That’s why I linked the Wikipedia entry, since Wikis have both sides scrutinizing it in order to prevent political bias. The attacks by those folk were represented something far worse than just playing with Petraeus’ name. That’s why "swift boating" someone has become a verb meaning an unfair politically motivated attack.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, the swift boat folk have been shown to almost certainly be politically motivated liars.
Sure, Scott. And the turkey was plastic, too.

Look, some of their claims even caused retractions by Kerry (including the famous "seared into my memory" comments and the fact that he met with the enemy delegations, both of them, at the Paris peace talks). Speaking of which, how do you feel about the Kerry defenders’ disingenuous "he talked to both sides in Paris" remarks, which clearly tried to insinuate that he talked with the US side too? Have you actually looked in detail at this whole affair? Did you read the Swift Boater’s book?

Were they politically motivated? Well, obviously, since they thought Kerry wasn’t fit to be president and he was one of the two major party candidates. But notice that they could have done this at any time in the last thirty years. As long as he was just a Senator from Massachusetts, he was left alone. Only when he ran for president touting his Vietnam experiences did they come forward. Should they not have done so? Some of them were registered Democrats, and they put that aside because they felt he was unqualified to be president. They knew him. Is there opinion not worth knowing? Are we supposed to judge Kerry just what his flacks have to say about him.

And your claim of calling them liars is akin to the "lied about the WMD" rhetoric of the left. No doubt there are differences of opinion about what happened back then. But that doesn’t mean either side is lying. Memories differ. Often the truth is in between. What makes Kerry’s word any better than theirs where they differ? He’s politically motivated too. He was forced to retract on at least some claims. And he still has not allowed general release of all of his military records. If the case is as cut and dried as you think, he would have done that long ago.

And Scott, one guy that served on a boat with Kerry doesn’t balance dozens of others that served around him that all had pretty much the same thing to say about him.

I won’t dignify your claims about Wikipedia’s wondrous abilities to compensate for political bias with a response.


Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Billy, you bought into the lies. The swift boat group were people who did not serve with Kerry on his boat. The evidence supports Kerry and the fact that this was a group of essentially political hit men out to destroy the character of a Presidential candidate and Vietnam era vet. It is disgusting, and I use it as an example in class of some of the lowest form of political slime.

And this is from someone who does not engage in the "Bush lied about WMD" or the anti-Bush hyperbole out there. I judge things on their merits, that’s why I end up trusting and believing in the honor and quality of service of General Petraeus, do not consider Bush a liar or somehow evil, and avoid the kind of personal politics that both sides engage in. But the attacks on Kerry were disgusting and should be denounced by everyone who believes politics should be honest, and who believes that veterans and war heros should not have their honor attacked for political purposes.

And you should read that Wiki entry — it’s well documented and researched. If you’re afraid of reading something that doesn’t fit your presumptions, then too bad for you.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Concerning the Swifties:

It doesn’t matter. At all. The reason Kerry lost was not because of the Swifties, it was because you cannot run for president with no platform (and no, ’I’m not Bush’ is not, contrary to popular belief, a platform).

Did the Swifties hurt him a bit? Sure, it hurt his credibility amongst republicans...who already weren’t going to vote for him. Did it hurt him with the Democratic base? No, they would have voted for a penguin if it would have gotten the nomination over George Bush. And the Independents? They didn’t care, because I’m sure you older folk (I’m only 25) have done dumb-ass stuff at my age and at Kerry’s age, and you are probably very different people than you were at ages 18-25.

As for Wiki: Professor, you can’t be serious. Wiki’s editors are mostly liberally biased individuals, and alot of them tend to be European. There’s about as much objectivity there as in Ward Churchill’s classroom.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Facts are stupid things! :-p

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
disregard that last post...it was in the wrong place

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, my point was that attacks on Kerry were similar to attacks on Petraeus at a fundamental level. Both were wrong. Selectively most Democrats get angry about the Swift boat smears while Republicans get angry about the moveon.org smear. To me, both smears are bad, both deserve condemnation, and it would be nice if people stood up against them regardless of who was being smeared.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Here’s the fundamental difference:

What the swifties did was go after one of their own and challenge the story that soldier told: they disagreed with the very history they shared. The truth of that spat will never be known, because either one of them could be right or, as is probably the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In the MoveOn.org case you have a PAC with the sole objective of discrediting a General’s report by soiling his image and attacking his character.

The differences are vast. There’s absolutely no way for MoveOn.org to know the conditions on the ground in Iraq because they’re too busy drinking Latee’s from Starbucks in their Prius’ to go over and check. The swifties, on the other hand, actually served with Kerry in his same division and, i believe, platoon.

Also, there are clear and distinct differences between the two cases. Example: meeting with the enemies of your country during a time of war while previously attending anti-war protests in another country isn’t going to look good, regardless of intentions. Perceptions there are immediately going to veer towards sedition.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
We’ll have to agree to disagree here, Joel. I don’t think the swifties were going after one of their own, they were trying to discredit a candidate through lies and character assassination. Moreover, the moveon ad was rather meaningless and completely ineffective.

In any event, I condemn both, and I think finding excuses to see one as not so bad and the other as very bad probably reflects bias more than objectivity.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We will have to agree to disagree, though I do take issue with your perception of bias.

I already professed to not care one fig over the actions of 18-25 year olds when they’re running for President at age 50+. This doesn’t affect my decision one iota (barring something like murder, of course). It also has nothing to do with the issues, so it falls on deaf ears on my behalf.

I simply see it as irrelevent...but I do see a distinct difference between the two scenarios. Criticism from fellow soldiers is very different than calls of treason from a PAC.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Where precisely was a call of treason. Betraying us may mean betraying trust or ones’ word, it isn’t necessarily treason. But it was still tacky and contrary to what I think the New York Times should print or a political organization should publicize.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Where precisely was a call of treason. Betraying us may mean betraying trust or ones’ word, it isn’t necessarily treason. But it was still tacky and contrary to what I think the New York Times should print or a political organization should publicize.
I read through MoveOn.org on occasion, just so I can know what it is they are doing and saying. They call him ’traitor’ regularly, and it’s with that in mind that they used the ’clever’ play on words.

Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Well, I’ve never read their site, so I guess I’ll just have to trust you on this one.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Billy, you bought into the lies.
No, Scott. You bought into the leftist narrative. You’re the one seeing it all in black and white - the Swift Boat guy as vicious smear artists and Kerry as the innocent victim. That’s nonsense on stilts. The truth is clearly somewhere in between, as evidenced by the fact that Kerry himself changed some of his claims as a result of what the Swift Boat guys said.

And I’m far from the only one who thinks so.

I say again. I read the Swift Boad book. I read the rebuttals, such as they were. You read Wikipedia. I rest my case.

Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Sure, Billy, and a lot of people think that Petraeus is misleading us and betraying the country. A lot of people think a lot of things, and everyone has made small mistakes. But overall, attacking Petraeus’ character and Kerry’s character was simply wrong. It’s too bad that moveon.org proves that the left can be as scummy as the swiftboaters.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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