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"The issue is hypocrisy" -- A Priceless Quote

Here's the best paragraph from the Washington Post's preview tomorrow of Bush's advertising strategy against Kerry, which will include citing a 1970 speech in which Kerry called for the use of force to go through the UN. The main theme will be that Kerry is a flip-flopper, or hypocritical, especially in his attacks on special interests:

Acknowledging that Bush has received major financial support from corporations, [Bush ad man Mark] McKinnon said: "The issue is hypocrisy in saying you're going to take on the special interests, not who took the most special interest money. You don't hear the president in the Oval Office railing against the special interests. You do hear John Kerry railing against the special interests." The campaign has previewed this theme in an online video calling Kerry "unprincipled" and "brought to you by the special interests." (emphasis added)

OK, let's get this straight: The reason to vote for Bush is that he happily admits that he's a pawn of the K Street lobbyists and the energy interests, and makes no pretense otherwise? Whereas Kerry attacks the special interests but has actually raised a few million dollars in his lifetime? (Although a fraction of what Bush has raised

Yeah, that could work. The "lovable scamp," who at least doesn't pretend to be any more respectable than he is, who's honest in his graft, does have a history in American politics. That role worked for Mayor Curley of Boston. But that was a long time ago. "At least he's not a hypocrite" doesn't sound like a very, um, dignified slogan for a president, though.

This is why I'm less and less intimidated by the Bush campaign's 200 gazillion dollars or whatever. The more money they have, the more they turn into a giant self-referential Arlington, Virginia cocoon spun of steak lunches, cigars, moral certainties, and stick-with-the-program talking points. And the more they talk only to themselves, the more they can twist themselves into logic like this. Or convince themselves that people are really going to care about something Kerry said when he was 26!

Posted by Mark Schmitt on February 19, 2004 | Permalink


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Given the Dean burn of $50 million, $200 billion does not seem like much anymore. They have already tried out the "special interests" tag on Kerry, and were shot down by the networks. Bush's campaign will revolve around a few, basic lies, like "The taxes is the people's money", "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein", "I will not get permission from the UN to defend America", and I am sure Kerry will be ready with the succinct refutations of this swill.

Posted by: Bob H | Feb 20, 2004 10:03:32 AM

Mark McKinnon has his work cut out for him as a spokesman.

The obvious rejoinder to the bluster of "The beauty of running against John Kerry is a 32 year public record" is that Bush has a long, juicy record of misstatements and deception, stretching far before his Presidency, if it needs to go there. There's plenty since 2000.

In such a mudbath, the best Bush can hope for is a wash. Or a major external event to distract voters from the debate.

Posted by: Crab Nebula | Feb 20, 2004 12:40:08 PM

Decembrist: One doesn't have to agree, or be convinced by the Bush strategy, to see Kerry's vulnerability. Moreover, one doesn't have to buy into all of Alexander Cockburn's point, in this week's Nation, to see that same system birthed both Kerry and Bush. Which is not to say don't vote for Kerry, if he is the nominee, of course. But such are the choices that seem to be our destiny.

Posted by: R Wells | Feb 21, 2004 7:55:55 PM

When Kerry was saying these things when he was 26, wasn't Bush walking around saying things like "give me a beer" and "I am so drunk right now" and "what happened last night?" So explain to me why what people said 34 years ago has any bearing on today?

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