We’re all drowning in hypocrisy this election season, and Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe is in control of the floodgates. Commenting on our President’s connection with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth he said, “By saying nothing at all George W. Bush is a complicit contributor to the slanderous, lie-filled attack ads — George Bush’s response has been evasion, avoidance, everything but disavowal.” Two days later, Bush denounced all 527 ads. When repeatedly pressed by reporters if he really meant “all” 527s, or just “all of them except Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” Bush responded, “All of them. That means that ad, every other ad. I don’t think we ought to have 527s.” When that press conference ended, our best liberal political minds went back to the drawing board. What could they possibly complain about now?
This time, they couldn’t even really come up with anything. John Edwards’ response didn’t even make any sense: “The moment of truth came and went, and the president still couldn’t bring himself to do the right thing. We need a president with the strength and integrity to say when something is wrong.” Was he watching the same press conference we were? Bush said, “This kind of unregulated soft money is wrong for the process.” You’d think a trial lawyer would be more observant.
The best response Terry McAuliffe could come up with was, “Too little, too late.” As if he thinks President Bush has ever done enough on time. Bush later stated, “I’ve asked Senator Kerry to join me in getting rid of all that kind of soft money.” Kerry has yet to call for an end to 527s, except for Swift Vets for Truth, and why should he? He benefits from them more than anybody.
The $6.7 million budget of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is pocket change compared to liberal groups. One person alone, Steven Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment, has given more money to Joint Victory Campaign than the 53,000 people who have donated to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. George Soros, already famous for his soft money contributions, is still $2 million behind Peter Lewis for the dubious honor of biggest 527 contributor. Lewis has given $14 million just this election year. So far, $63 million in soft money has been spent by pro-Kerry groups to bash President Bush. The top 10 biggest individual donors to 527s all give to liberal organizations, whose goal is to elect John Kerry. Clearly, the Democratic party is still the party of the working people, not activists and interest groups with narrow agendas. Bush has denounced these groups, but it would be political suicide for Kerry to do the same.
The most notable 527, The Swift Boat group, didn’t exist before July 29 of this year. On that day, Kerry used the word “Vietnam” more times in his acceptance speech than any other democratic nominee since Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968. The only difference is that the Vietnam War was still going on in 1968. If Kerry loses this election, history will judge his acceptance speech, and most notably his opening “I am John Kerry and I am reporting to duty,” as his famous last words. These effectively placed his Vietnam service, rightfully or not, on the table for examination. You could just hear the bloggers running to their computers. You can’t blame the Swift Vets for bringing Vietnam to the election forefront; Kerry did that on his own.
Since then, Kerry got mad, and is still trying to get even. Let the hypocrisy begin. He stated, “More than 30 years ago, I learned an important lesson — when you’re under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker.” Taking a note from his party’s candidate, DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe has said Bush was AWOL during Vietnam, and is now sponsoring ads questioning Bush’s service in the National Guard entitled “Fortunate Son.” The blaring difference is that this 3-minute ad is paid for by the Democratic National Committee. Following the Dems’ logic, only lies and smears by 527s are wrong; if a national party sponsors them, it’s okay. CBS is now in the mix because they made up memos about Bush’s National Guard Service. But there’s no foul there, because while CBS now admits the memos are fake, they say content is “accurate.” “C-BS” should stick to reporting the news, rather than making it, and McAuliffe should quit while he’s ahead.
Political activists have found a loophole in the McCain-Feingold law signed by President Bush in 2002, and now we have this 527 fiasco. Stop the insanity. Let’s ignore these ads, all of them, not just the ones that support our candidates. Here’s what we know: Kerry enlisted in the Navy and earned medals in Vietnam. Bush enlisted in the National Guard and was honorably discharged. Other than that, I don’t care what our fellow sons of Eli did 30 years ago. Everything else is hearsay and opinion. Bush recently said, “I think we ought to be looking forward, not backward.” There’s a war going on today, and too much coverage has already been dedicated to the war of our parents’ generation.
Mike Slater is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.