27 August 2004

Hoo, boy, does this one smell of hypocrisy…

From today’s Times:

But when pressed repeatedly if he would specifically denounce the
advertisements, which Mr. Kerry has said were being run with the tacit
approval of the Bush campaign, the president refused to condemn then.
Instead, he said he would talk only of the “broader issue” of the
political committees that take to the airwaves with attack
advertisements.

“Five twenty-sevens – I think these ought to be
outlawed,” he said. “I think they should have been outlawed a year
ago. We have billionaires writing checks, large checks, to influence
the outcome of the election.”

Two thoughts.  First, he does exactly the thing that he thinks
should be eliminated.  And like any self-interested person, I
can’t imagine that he really means keeping billionaires out of politics
applies to him.  Just the ways that billionaires (i.e., George
Soros) work against him.

Second, why shouldn’t billionaires be able to do this?  They have
money, and they want to use that money to advance a candidate for
election.  What’s wrong with trying to influence the outcome of
the election?  That seems to be what we do whenever we register
people to vote, run ads, do mailers, talk to our friends and neighbors
about politics, and so forth.  We all work to influence elections,
with whatever tools are available to us.  And when people argue
that we shouldn’t allow money in politics, how would they propose that
we do this whole process?  (Unless you’re willing to argue that
elections should be entirely publicly financed, money has to be part of
the political process, whether you like money or not [as many of my
lefty friends seem to feel].  And what would those who want
publicly financed elections do until we get those [which could be quite
a while in our system]?)

But Bush’s comment seems hypocritical, because the 527s have tipped the
money balance toward the Dems in a way that many Republican operatives
were not anticipating, and so they are unprepared.  This is less
about money and more about advantage.  I surmise that Bush wants
to stop MoveOn.org, not Swift Boat Veterans.

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