As we get ready for the Democratic National Convention and the campaign to follow, there’s going to be a lot of bullshit being slung. As a public service, I’m going to play “myth-buster” (apologies, Jamie and Adam, as well as to my colleague Lorie Byrd and her chums at Media Mythbusters) and try to pre-empt some of the more flagrant lies that will be passed around.
First up, you just KNOW Karl Rove is going to be cited often, whenever any sort of political shenanigans come up. If he’s not blamed for a particular stunt, then it will be “inspired” by him or described as “Rovian” or “nowhere near what Rove pulled.”
So let’s get a few things out of the way that Karl Rove had nothing to do with — some purely Democrat-on-Democrat attacks.
Willie Horton. Yes, Bush The Elder did benefit from this one, and the late Lee Atwater did use it most effectively, but it was first brought up by Al Gore against Mike Dukakis in the Democratic primaries.
Joe Biden’s plagiarism. It was longtime Dukakis crony John Sasso who spliced together videotapes of Biden’s stump speeches and those of British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and had them mailed to a reporter.
The Michelle Obama “Whitey” Tape. This one was most prominently pushed by Bob Beckel. Beckel is a longtime Democratic operative, and was a major Hillary Clinton backer.
“Barack Obama Is A Secret Muslim.” I lost count of how many Hillary staffers and volunteers were fired over passing this one around.
“Barack Obama dealt drugs.” That particular story took down Bill Shaheen, one of Hillary’s national co-chairs.
“Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and is therefore ineligible to serve as president.” That one is being pushed by a former Hillary backer, to the point of filing a federal lawsuit to get him off the ballot.
Those last ones, on the Obamas, are just plain stupid — which makes it even easier to remember that they are the ones being pushed (or have been pushed) by Democrats.
There are plenty of good reasons to oppose Barack Obama for president. Lord knows I’ve spent plenty of words giving some of them, and we still have over two months to go before we actually get to vote when I’ll give even more — as well as expand upon the ones I’ve already discussed.
This stuff, though, is — quite frankly — bullshit. That last one, in particular, smacks of the tactics Obama used to get into the Illinois State Senate, when his people went through and managed to disqualify every single one of his opponents for the Democratic nomination. The rest of them are reminiscent of his US Senate race, when compliant cronies in the press got divorce and child-custody records of his rivals unsealed and embarrassed them into withdrawing from the race.
While there is a certain karmic justice in using the same tactics Obama used in his rise to power to deny him his ultimate goal, there is a more important principle at stake — it was despicable when they were used to benefit him, and it would be despicable to use them against him. Especially when they’re bullshit stories like the “whitey” tape and the “secret Muslim” and “dealt drugs as a youth” ones.
McCain has already demonstrated that he won’t put up with people pulling those stunts. Unlike Obama, he’s shown he’s willing to slap down his supporters pulling underhanded crap.
Let’s win this one. But more importantly, let’s win this one right.
And let’s not let those people who want to bury the facts that some of the most vicious anti-Democratic attacks have come from their fellow Democrats go unchallenged.
For example, John Sasso played a major (albeit behind the scenes) role in the John Kerry campaign, and is expected to be in Denver next week. Let’s not let it be forgotten that it was he who busted Joe Biden’s plagiarism of Neil Kinnock.
He’s notoriously press-shy, but it’d be fantastic to hear his thoughts on Biden as vice president.
And even more fantastic to hear Biden’s thoughts on Sasso’s continued position of power in Democratic circles.