Monday, August 23, 2004


Ye gods.

The only reason we've been forced to implement campaign finance reform is, quite simply, because we can't trust politicians to keep their coffers clean. I'll buy that. But this is the wrong approach to the problem.

American politics is, has been, and will always be about the free exchange of information (dratted 1st Amendment, anyway) so that we, the people, can be informed and educated about the pressing issues of the day. I realize that it is the money, Stupid. But it is also about the rights of citizens of this country to express their views, even when others disagree with them. Or, perhaps, especially when others disagree with them.

I, for one, don't really give two hoots where the Swifties got the money to write their book and make their ads. No more do I care where the Dems got the wherewithal to snipe at Bush's there/not there tour of duty. Why? Because the bottom line is that I will believe whatever the heck I darn well please to believe, based on my own analysis of the stuff that keeps hitting the election year fans. Period. I won't buy the book because I don't need to. I already distrust Kerry for far more reasons than whether or not he's lying about Vietnam. If Kerry feels slighted, let him sue whomever he cares to sue. He has that right, I suppose.

Wanna know the truth? I'm heartily sick of hearing about the whole did-he-or-didn't-he-go-to-Cambodia-or-shoot-himself-in-some-part-of-his-body schtick. Yesterday's news, boys. Ya made yer points, now get on with it. Tell me OTHER reasons why I shouldn't vote for the turkey.

On the other hand, and more to my original point, I fully respect the rights (and even the needs) of others to follow this story line down to its inevitably murky end. And that's where I happen to disagree - loudly - with Mr. President. If you had nothing to do with it personally, say so. Then keep yer nose out of it. That kind of chilling effect on our right to speak freely (no matter who finances it) will ultimately roll downhill to the Blogosphere - mark my words. Because if, heaven forbid, the Swifties really were guilty of receiving financing from inappropriate sources, a political stretch would make us guilty by association. And, believe me, it wouldn't take much for our enemies to connect the dots and try to make that happen.

None of this, of course, will change my mind. Nothing anyone does or says should ever dampen the desire or the ability of citizens to try to educate their brethren.

Arms or no arms.


Cameron said...

Couple of points:

[1] Kennedy et al., of course, know perfectly well that Bush can't explicitly ask or even kind of vaguely hint to the Swifties that they remove their ads without breaking the law. All Bush can do is denounce said ads from the podium, which he has done more than once. Keep in mind that while Bush would love nothing more than to keep his nose out of this, [A] Kerry keeps bringing up the whole Vietnam/Swifties Ad situation (like an idiot) thereby keeping the story hot, [B] Bush keeps refusing to discuss the topic - except to thank Kerry for his service and to denounce the ads, [C] Kerry keeps saying that Bush needs to stop talking about Vietnam (see point B), in spite of the fact that it is the Swifites doing all the talking and [D] Bush has nothing at all to do with the Swifties, therefore, [E] Kerry is the one who keeps putting Bush's nose in this Swifties business.

[2] Look for Vietnam to not be mentioned once during the RNC convention. Where Kerry is mentioned at all it will be in the context of his post-Vietnam career.

Cameron said...

UPDATE! A little bit me, a little bit you.

Woody said...

I've gotta learn not to blog on an empty stomach!

Your points are well taken. The primary problem here, of course, is not what the 527s do, or even how they do it. The real problem is that everyone keeps reacting to what the 527s do.

Really. Can you imagine what the media would do if neither the Republicans or the Democrats dignified any of these ads with any kind of response? They'd huff and puff a lot, but ultimately the wind goes out of their sails because there's no friction there. Maybe they could get a rise out of the Greenies. Who knows?

We've seen it happen in every single election year for as long as I've been around. At the beginning of the campaign, each side calls for a clean fight. No mud-slinging, please. And, of course, each side is at that very moment finding just as much "potential" mud as they can carry.

Just in case.