Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Partisanship in the modern world

During the primaries for the 2000 election, Al Gore said that he took the initiative in creating the internet. That led to charges that he claimed to have invented the internet, which was nothing at all like he said.

What he said was clumsy, I won't deny it. If he'd had time to plan what to say (remember, it was an interview question), I imagine he'd have said something like "In Congress, I championed the internet, and many other initiatives that led to a great deal of economic development". If anyone had bothered to ask him, that's probably what his answer would have been... he stood behind many things that helped the nation.

But no one was really interested in learning what he was trying to say. They were having too much fun smearing him with a lie.

Now, it's one thing to attack someone over an honest misunderstanding. It's careless and nasty, but hey, if it's an honest misunderstanding, at least you think it's real.

It's another thing to hear someone flub a statement in a speech or an interview and try to smear them for that.

Which is exactly what's happening today to John Kerry.

He had just said, at a campaign rally at Pasadena College that Bush used to live in Texas, and now lives in a state of denial. He continued on, talking about education, and his planned remarks had him saying that folks should work hard and try to be smart, or they might end up "getting us stuck in Iraq."

Like, you know, George Bush, living in a state of denial, and proud that he's no big braniac, has gotten us stuck in Iraq.

Instead, he said "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." This is still true, but ambiguous; George W. Bush is stuck in Iraq, unable to end the war that he started.

But now, folks are spreading a lie. They're saying that Kerry claimed the troops are stupid and uneducated, and that's why they're "stuck in Iraq". It's not what he said, it's not what he meant, and the GOP leadership knows this.

They know full well that John Kerry wouldn't insult the troops like that. They know full well that his explanation is correct.

But they don't care... because they think hatred of Kerry can rally their base. So they're willing to lie. And this isn't just a lie where they're distorting something to make it look bad. This is the GOP leadership choosing to invent a hateful story out of whole cloth, just so they can smear someone who isn't even running for office, in hopes that hate will provide them the momentum that their failed policies can not.

Do people like that deserve to be leading America?

Comments:
At least one long-time Republican activist has had it with this crap, too. Of special interest: His assessment of his own peers in the right-wing blogosphere, and their complicity in the GOP's campaign of lies and smears.
 
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