Archive for October 17th, 2006

Senator George Allen tried to smear his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, for his association with Daily Kos:

“Jim Webb has proven he will do anything for liberal Democratic money – even that of a fringe liberal blogger who gloats about the deaths of American contractors in Iraq,” said Allen Campaign Manager Dick Wadhams.In 2004, four American contractors were murdered in Fallujah; their mutilated and beheaded bodies were hung from a bridge and burned. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (Kos), the creator and editor of The Daily Kos, who personally gave Webb $250, explained “I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries … Screw them.”

Allen’s campaign then calls for Webb to return the $130K raised through the blog.

It’s a similar tactic used here in Montana. Mike Dennison addressed Kos founder Markos Moulitsas’ “radicalness” in an October 12 story:

The group said to have “mocked American deaths” is actually one person: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, a Gulf War Army veteran and attorney who runs one of the nation’s most prominent political Web logs, the Daily Kos. Moulitsas has contributed $725 to Tester’s campaign, and the blog and related groups have helped raise an additional $120,000 for Tester by using the Internet to tell sympathetic individuals to contribute to his campaign. In April 2004, Moultisas posted a comment on the Daily Kos that said he “feels nothing” for the deaths of four American security contractors killed that week in Fallujah, Iraq. “They aren’t in Iraq because of orders or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place,” he wrote. “They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.” Moulitsas told the Gazette State Bureau that he wasn’t mocking the deaths, but rather that he was angry that the media that day had publicized the deaths of the civilian “mercenaries” while ignoring the deaths of five Marines. “My No. 1 priority is our men and women in uniform, not mercenaries who make life difficult for them in Iraq,” he said.

Now most campaigns might have ignored Allen’s attempts to smear their candidate’s reputation with unfounded and exaggerated accusations about Moulitsas. After all, he’s hardly a household name. If you’ve heard of him, it’s likely you already have an opinion about him, and no amount of smearing is going to change your opinion.

But this time Webb staffer Lowell Feld responded in an unofficial post. First, Feld explained what Kos was about and explained the quote in question, and disagreed with the comment, but noted that it was an isolated statement made more than two years ago. Then:

But now, the Allen campaign, devoid of any issues or accomplishments to brag about, has resorted to a campaign strategy of attacking a blogger, who they strangely claim is “fringe.” Well, if he’s “fringe,” then why do they spend time attacking him? Also, if he’s so “fringe,” then why does his blog get 600,000 visits per day? And why does the Daily Kos community give hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates all over the country?…

Meanwhile, I wonder how much money the ALLEN campaign has raised from its “fringe” RIGHT-WING blogs. Have you ever gone to sites like Little Green Footballs, Free Republic, or Michelle Malkin? Does Dick Wadhams really want to have some of the comments from THOSE sites highlighted all over the place? Take 10 minutes, and I guarantee you that you’ll find a smorgabsord of homophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, misogynistic, even racist remarks on those right-wing sites (and others). Enjoy! Actually, you almost certainly won’t enjoy it, because it’s not a pretty picture.

Finally, I would point out that the Allen campaign receives ITS money from big corporations, such as the oil and gas industry (ExxonMobil et al), the entertainment industry (straight from Allen’s native Southern California!), the big pharmaceutical industry (including a company that makes the controversial “morning after” pill), Big Tobacco, the military-industrial complex (e.g., Halliburton), and other such sources. Which would you prefer YOUR Senator to be beholden to; tens of thousands of private Americans who give $25 or $50 each, or ExxonMobil and Halliburton?

I’ve always thought that it was stupid for Republicans to challenge Democratic candidates over support from lefty blogs. After all, right-wing blogs supporting Republican candidates would fare much worse in comparisons. And that’s doubly true here in Montana, where the sole blog actively supporting the incumbent Republican candidate Conrad Burns is a gathering place for white supremacists.

But most of all, I think this is an idiotic tactic because it brings attention to Markos Moulitsas and the Daily Kos. Curious undecideds will likely be wowed by Moulitsas’ brilliant organization, his low-key and moderate ideology, and his and his readers’ enthusiasm. By making Kos an issue, I suspect the GOP will only generate more Kos readers.

As expected when a ship sinks, the rats turn against themselves.

As the GOP ship sinks under the weight of bungled foreign policy, sexual predators, corruption, and torture, conservatives are turning on one another. Take NRO’s Jim Geraghty actually celebrates the downfall of his party’s leadership:

The good news is, it’s very clear that 2005-2006 style Republican leadership is destined for the – well, forget being put out to pasture, let’s talk glue factory. Think about the Republican House members that the average American has heard of this year – Mark Foley, and through that scandal Denny Hastert and Tom Reynolds; Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham…The conservative base wants the next crop of GOP leaders to be tougher on illegal immigration; tougher on spending; quitting the pork and earmark addiction cold turkey; less at home with the perks and schmooze culture of Washington.

One way or another, Hastert’s out. I suspect that next year, guys like Mike Pence, Jeff Flake and Jack Kingston are going to leading a more conservative House caucus – particularly if the Chris Shayses of the world get knocked out this year. And starting oh, probably too early after Election Day 2006, the Republican Party gets to have a good, long discussion of what it wants to stand for in the coming years and elections to come. But before then, there’s this little thing called the elections that has to get resolved.

Geraghty’s call for the Republican party to move further to the right reflects his disconnect with reality. What’s causing the GOP to fall so far behind in 2006 is the fact that it is too far right to begin with. Conservative ideology has lead to foreign policy disaster. Conservative small government rhetoric has led to massive fiscal irresponsibility, where GOPers gleefully cut taxes but still hand out massive pork projects to constituents. Meanwhile, the social radicalization of the GOP in Kansas is driving the state into Democratic hands.

What Geraghty and his ideological compadres fail to realize is that the majority of Americans find their politics repugnant. That’s why the GOP hasn’t advanced any of their social programs. Republican politicians know we don’t want them. See what happened in the wake of the South Dakota abortion ban? Widespread condemnation even by moderate anti-abortion opponents.

So the left should revel in people like Geraghty who are going to use the current implosion to destroy the GOP and take it even further right, ensuring that it become a fringe party of anti-government lunatics.

Links…

Part two of Craig’s journey into the heart of darkness: a Tester party. A very good piece and honest appraisal by a conservative of the political situation in Montana.

Tester breaks Montana’s fundraising records.

Information on the 527 groups running ads on the Montana Senate race.

New West: “The Moral Hazard of Federal Pork.”

The Denver Post endorses Democrats.

Wyoming Democrat Gary Trauner is within striking distance of the state’s Republican Representative. Western Democrat on the race.

Digby on Bush signing the torture bill: “I don’t ever want to hear anyone on the right talk about moral values again. They are concepts which they clearly do not understand.”

When the lapdogs turn against their master, you know things aren’t looking good for the GOP.

Shocking! Another GOP official charged with ethics violations! Lester Crawford, former chief of the FDA…

Another GOPer cavorting with underage pages?

More on the thecons’ planned purge of gays from the GOP.

Democrats show what to do with corrupt snakes in your party. Hold ‘em responsible and disown them.

Why lazy reporting is responsible for false rumors of Reid’s “corruption.”

Molly Ivins on Bush’s diplomatic failures in dealing with North Korea.

Ugh. One of the reasons we’re faring so poorly in Iraq is that our leaders don’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia.

First it was 665K Iraqi dead. Now the numbers of uprooted Iraqis is astounding, too, 350K+ this year alone.




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