Down and Dirty

As I wrote a few days ago, the senatorial election campaign staff of George “Macaca” Allen has been combing through Jim Webb’s novels and screenplays looking for passages they can use against Webb. And, apparently, they believe they found what they were looking for. Today Drudge has published a selection of juicy bits (I don’t link to Drudge). Some rightie bloggers are claiming the bits of fiction reveal that Webb has a twisted mind and are posting gleefully that this will be the end of Webb’s political career.

I’d like to advise these bloggers to be mindful of the glass house they live in before they throw too many more stones. If we’re talking naughty bits, need I say more than … Scooter Libby? Or Lynn Cheney? (Unfortunately, neither Libby nor Cheney are running for office at the moment. Too bad.) And remember —

Webb novels: Fiction.

Foley emails: Not fiction.

Josh Marshall remarks,

If Allen really wants to play rough, maybe it’s time for some Democrats to start going on the shows and asking about that sealed divorce records of Allen’s. All those reporters have a pretty good idea of what’s in there. But Sen. Allen (R-VA) just won’t agree to let them see it.

It’s almost like he’s spitting in their face.

I web surfed a bit but found no substantive gossip on Allen’s divorce, granted about 20 years ago. Oh, well.

Michael Grunwald writes in today’s Washington Post that Republicans are outdoing themselves in the dirty campaign department this year.

Rep. Ron Kind pays for sex!

Well, that’s what the Republican challenger for his Wisconsin congressional seat, Paul R. Nelson, claims in new ads, the ones with “XXX” stamped across Kind’s face.

It turns out that Kind — along with more than 200 of his fellow hedonists in the House — opposed an unsuccessful effort to stop the National Institutes of Health from pursuing peer-reviewed sex studies. According to Nelson’s ads, the Democrat also wants to “let illegal aliens burn the American flag” and “allow convicted child molesters to enter this country.”

To Nelson, that doesn’t even qualify as negative campaigning.

“Negative campaigning is vicious personal attacks,” he said in an interview. “This isn’t personal at all.”

By 2006 standards, maybe it isn’t.

I assume (Kind’s web site doesn’t say) that Kind is opposed to deporting illegals and amending the Constitution to ban flag burning; hence, Kind wants to “let illegal aliens burn the American flag.” But I cannot figure out what the “convicted child molesters” claim relates to, if anything. (You can check out Kind’s record here.)

Granted, dirty campaigning long has been part of American political tradition — ever since Thomas Jefferson claimed John Adams planned to marry his son John Quincy to a daughter of King George III, then return America to the British. That was perhaps a slight exaggeration. Grunwald provides some more:

· In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. “Hi, sexy,” a dancing woman purrs. “You’ve reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line.” It turns out that one of Arcuri’s aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

· In Ohio, GOP gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell, trailing by more than 20 points in polls, has accused front-running Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland of protecting a former aide who was convicted in 1994 on a misdemeanor indecency charge. Blackwell’s campaign is also warning voters through suggestive “push polls” that Strickland failed to support a resolution condemning sex between adults and children. Strickland, a psychiatrist, objected to a line suggesting that sexually abused children cannot have healthy relationships when they grow up.

· The Republican Party of Wisconsin distributed a mailing linking Democratic House candidate Steve Kagen to a convicted serial killer and child rapist. The supposed connection: The “bloodthirsty” attorney for the killer had also done legal work for Kagen.

· In two dozen congressional districts, a political action committee supported by a white Indianapolis businessman, J. Patrick Rooney, is running ads saying Democrats want to abort black babies. A voice says, “If you make a little mistake with one of your hos, you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout de suite, no questions asked.”

Grunwald also mentions the infamous “playboy” ad linking a white actress to African-American senatorial candidate Harold Ford. [Update: This ad is still on the air, according to the New York Times.] The RNC is running a new ad claiming that Ford “wants to give the abortion pill to schoolchildren.” Ford’s web site says this claim relates to a vote “banning funding that goes to Emergency Contraception, not RU-486 (The Abortion Pill).”

Grunwald’s article contains the obligatory “Dems do it too” section:

Some Democrats are playing rough, too. House candidate Chris Carney is running ads slamming the “family values” of Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), whose former mistress accused him of choking her. And House candidate Kirsten Gillibrand has an ad online ridiculing Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) for attending a late-night fraternity party. … But most harsh Democratic attacks have focused on the policies and performance of the GOP majority, trying to link Republicans to Bush, the unpopular war in Iraq and the scandals involving former representative Mark Foley and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Dems don’t have to make stuff up, in other words. Reality does have a liberal bias … and the wingnuts never notice that spreading lies to smear an opponent’s character reveals, um, a lack of character.

Experts say that in the past, negative ads were usually more accurate, better documented and more informative than positive ads; there was a higher burden of proof.

I don’t know who those “experts” are. Back in 1828 the Andrew Jackson campaign accused John Quincy Adams of turning the White House into a gambling den. Turns out JQA had purchased a chess set and a pool table.

Meanwhile, some people are still whining about the Michael J. Fox ad. This creep, for example, comments on “the tremendous selfishness of Michael J Fox.” This is beyond disgusting, and I’m not the only one to think so.

I missed Fox being interviewed by Katie Couric on CBS, but here is Digby’s description:

The portion of the interview they broadcast was quite decent. But you can see the whole interview here — and listen to Katie Couric push him over and over again on the burning question of whether he manipulated his medication and ask him whether he should have re-scheduled the shoot when his symptoms were manifested as they were. And she does it while she’s sitting directly across from him watching him shake like crazy. Her questions imply that it was in poor taste or manipulative as if he can magically conjure a film crew to catch him in on of the fleeting moments where he doesn’t appear too symptomatic. The press seems to truly believe that it is reasonable to be suspicious of him showing symptoms of a disease that has him so severely in its clutches that if he doesn’t take his medication his face becomes a frozen mask and he cannot even talk.

I think Digby is pissed. So am I.

Update: See also —

Tony Norman, “What color is your hypocrisy?

Eugene Robinson, “Does the Code Still Work?

Update update: See also Billmon.

Update update update: The Agitator has more.

16 thoughts on “Down and Dirty

  1. Someone ought to ask Morton Kondracke about this. He wrote a book about his wife having Parkinson’s.

  2. Allen’s maccaca and Corker’s drums are not mistakes. They are carefully calculated to get the white vote just as were Reagans coded remarks.

  3. Allen’s maccaca and Corker’s drums are not mistakes. They are carefully calculated to get the white vote just as were Reagans coded remarks.

    Of course. And Republicans been pulling this crap for a long time before Reagan. Nixon was a champ at coded race remarks, and he hardly invented the genre.

  4. Michael J Fox getting shafted by Rush has legs and, it is an issue of Rethug tactics that ANYONE can see through. Coded rethug remarks (Corker) and closed divorce proceedings (allen) are not so transparent for EVERYONE. I think the more we see Fox out in public, the more crow the Rushes of the world shall be eating…and perhaps true science and true discourse will re-emerge seriously again in the national debate.

  5. My research this morning indicates that the quotes from Webb’s novels reflect (a) some of the strange customs in foreign cultures encountered by American soldiers and (b) some of the horrible consequences for people, including civilian women and children, caught up in desperate war-time environments.

    In other words, Webb’s novels reflect precisely the real-world knowledge and wisdom totally missing from the lives of such Republican chickenhawks as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Felix Allen, and Rush Limbaugh.

    What a clear choice the people of Virginia, and people all across America, have!

  6. Looks like Rush hit a home run in the fine art of being a screech monkey. Ultimately he gets the exposure that he craves and needs. It’s a win for Rush because controversy and agitation is his stock in trade. Decency be damned so long as he continues nourishing his bottom feeders. Rush is nothing more than a glorified geek.

  7. I’m a bit pissed too Maha. Something to remember, every time Rush does somethng like this, he shoots himself in the foot.
    He, like Bush will always have a core group of cultists, but sensible people will drop them.
    Sometimes I get a bit depressed about the whole situation from the war in Iraq to the rule of Bush/ Cheney, and to the general state of our society, but then I realize many of us are waking up, most Americans are fair and good people, but if they can’t see the damage and smell the burnt flesh, the horror is just virtual reality.
    Things are changing. In today’s Orlando Sentinel, the question put to the readers was “What to do about Iraq”, 2/3rds want our soldiers out now. When I listen to Mr. Bush on T.V., all I can think is I’ve never seen a more stupid individual. It really saddens me to realize how willfully stupid he is and how evil Cheney is.
    I don’t know how the midterm election will go, but almost everyone I know is really pissed, including fundies and conservatives.Several have asked me “how I knew” all along how bad this bunch was. Sadly Pelosi has said that if the Democrats regain the house of rep, they will not seek impeachment.Certainly they can hobble Bush, but he is guilty of crimes against humanity, and needs to be punished severely.

  8. Those coded Republican ads are insulting to all southerners, because those ads play to an assumed ‘southern stereotype’ of unthinking, dumb and backward persons.

  9. Certainly they can hobble Bush, but he is guilty of crimes against humanity, and needs to be punished severely.

    That’s the way I see it also..If Bush made an honest mistake in invading Iraq that would be one thing, but it’s beyond clear now that deceit and lies to the American people factored into his decision to invade Iraq. He’s a criminal and should be made to answer for his crimes against humanity. He’s got the blood of well over a half million innocent people on his hands..

  10. If you think Eugene Robinson’s commentary “Does the Code Still Work” in today’s Washington Post was interesting, you might also want to read independent political strategist Fred Newman’s comments this week in Talk Talk ( “Yes, it’s changing, all politics are changing and black politics and white politics are inseparable. Always have been, always will be. This is an American issue. There aren’t black issues and white issues in America. There are black and white issues in America. You mentioned Novak’s remarks about Hillary Clinton. This is a theme now in politics – Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And it is a part of American history, it’s the continuation of what has been a long-term 200 year old fight between blacks and women on who’s going to go first, electorally…. “

  11. I watched the unedited Couric interview, and while she pressed MJF on Rush’s claim that Fox was acting, unlike Digby I thought this was handled well by both Fox and Couric. I didn’t mind this part of it.

    What annoyed me was that Couric kept bringing the discussion back to Rush, in what seemed like an attempt to bait Fox into trashing Rush, trying to get him to make a personal attack. MJF handled that well also. Fox came off as a total class act.

    Couric looked by turns as someone who was sincerely trying to draw out the truth, but also someone who saw a chance to draw blood.

  12. While O’Reilly isn’t running for office, he has written some books that I had heard were on the smutty side (might have referenced falafels). Also, on Keith Olbermann’s show last night, the commentary was that the Harold Ford ads hurt them and the discussion about Rush v. MJF is hurting the republicans–as it should.

  13. Webb is being swift-boated. Lefties need to come back swinging and swinging hard. At least the Webb book was a work of FICTION. Unlike the Foley emails that were FACT.

  14. They know their target audience will never read Webb’s books. This is the land of Falwell and Robertson.

  15. Turns out JQA had purchased a chess set and a pool table.

    Oh yeah we got Trouble,
    Right here in RiverCity!
    With a capital T,
    and that rhymes with P,
    and that stands for POOL!!!!!!

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