I have watched with increasing irritation as the blogosphere castigates John Kerry and Evan Bayh for not donating as much to the DSCC as a small, anonymous blog site would purportedly wish them to.
And then, after Kerry does something he had planned to do for days, they take credit for “persuading” (read: strongarming) him to do it.
I hate to attack fellow Internet activists, but you know, sometimes you have to call it what it is. It’s swiftboating. It is a group of people unfairly leaping on any accusation made against Kerry, who has been doing precisely what they themselves have advocated doing this year.
It started with the now-defunct startup blog “heyjohn.org,” which claimed to have been administered by anonymous top Democratic Party officials, claiming that Kerry and Bayh had been miserly with their money. This claim is false.
Then Markos, the proprietor of the major blog site Daily Kos, who worked for the Dean campaign in 2004 and apparently harbors a lasting grudge against the man who beat Dean, globbed on to the attack and issued a vulgar smear against Kerry’s spokesman for calling out the anonymous site. He attempted to convince his flock that the calling-out was somehow aimed at him, his friend Bowers at another blog, and their readership.
It’s worse than disgusting when purportedly liberal bloggers act like Karl Rove, which is exactly what has happened with this trumped-up “scandal.”
Markos quotes Wade’s slam of the anonymous attack site HeyJohn.org:
“Cowards can hide behind anonymous Web sites,” Mr. Wade said, “but Democrats out in the country, party leaders and real net-roots activists know how hard John Kerry has fought to win these elections.”
The comment was specifically in reference to heyjohn.org, a smear site claiming to be set up by Party members. NOT to Chris Bowers’s campaign to get unchallenged or under-challenged House incumbents to donate money to contested races. Because…. the Bowers campaign was targeted to safe House incumbents. Not Senators, and specifically not potential 2008 presidential candidates. In the era of billion-dollar campaigns, it’s insane to suggest that a potential major party presidential candidate should give up his war chest, besides being a slap in the face to those thousands of people who donated to the individual with the intention that their money be used in a future presidential run.
But Kos pretends that the Wade comment was somehow directed at Bowers, him, and the blogosphere in general.
Bowers doesn’t look that anonymous to me. Nor am I.
Now that is a very good observation. Bowers isn’t that anonymous, and neither is Markos. So maybe… he wasn’t talking about them?
It gets worse, with Kos completely ignoring the facts of what Kerry has done.
Ask any campaign around the country at this stage what they would prefer — a campaign visit from Kerry (or anyone else save the Big Dog), or cold hard cash, and guess what they’ll answer? Money and volunteers will help us close this election strong. Not campaign appearances that is more about Kerry building support and chits for 2008 as it is about helping our guys this year.
Several things wrong with this.
1. False dichotomy. It’s not a choice of campaign visits or donations, and it’s certainly not as though Kerry’s done one and not the other.
2. Kerry has been doing far more than making campaign visits. He has donated over $3.2 million of his own campaign war chest this election cycle to candidates and committees.
3.That’s not including what he has raised for other candidates, using his own campaign’s money to pay for fundraising on an email list that he could easily have used to raise money for himself instead (ahem, Hillary). That figure is in the double-digit millions. What’s more, this is not an “incumbency protection racket” in which he only supports safe incumbents who have zero chance of losing their seats. He’s supported the people-powered candidacies of Lamont, Webb, Tester, etc. His last appeal was for the four tightest races: Menendez (NJ), McCaskill (MO), Ford (TN), and Webb (VA), the four races that will determine who wins the Senate. He’s spent campaign money on this advertising, and a lot of it. These fundraising appeals are not cheap.
4. Kerry has used his email list to mobilize lawyers for election protection and poll watching in several key states. That’d be “volunteers,” I would say. What’s more, it’s a very important part of the election to observe the voting process. With so many races tight, you can bet your arse that there will be voter suppression and other shenanigans taking place. It’s all the Neocons have left.
5. Kerry’s organization will use its email list to recruit volunteers for local campaigns nationwide.
6. If I donate money to someone, it’s because I want to express my support for that person. Not because I want him to forward the money on to someone else. This is especially pertinent for potential 2008 candidates: People donate to them now because they support them for 2008!
Whatever your opinion of Kerry may be, or for that matter of Markos, it’s only fair to call them as we see them. Markos has a personal grudge against someone and he is using that to spread distortions and lies against that person in the exact same style that Rove does — pretending that he is being attacked and playing the victim, while marshalling his troops with the same accusation against them: “By insulting me, he insulted you.” It’s Rovian to the core and it’s how Rove keeps his fundamentalist troops in line. If we are going to act this way, we should do it against Republicans, NOT against our own.
Shame on you, Kos. Shame.
To major bloggers’ credit, not all of them leaped on Kos’s smear bandwagon. Jerome Armstrong, a former blogger for Mark Warner, didn’t buy it. He called the argument hogwash.
If you still want to call out the ’08 wannabees, make it for where the money is most needed– at the numbered 25-100 House seats, not in the committees.
That’s exactly what Kerry has been doing. He’s donated $3.2 million of his own funds to those races, as well as raising money for Democrats in 2006. If you donate directly to the campaign, you know where it will be used, unlike general donations to the party. As a matter of fact, this was a criticism of the DSCC and DCCC by the blogs, that they didn’t allocate enough money to particular races.
Try telling that to the likes of Markos, who is so blinded by leftover resentment from the 2004 primaries that he disregards the facts.
Then, when Kerry did what he planned to do all along, or at least since October 9, and donated half a million to the DSCC and DCCC, Kos took credit for it.
Shame on you, Markos. Shame.
Also to bloggers’ credit, a majority of respondents called him out on his smears, although he did not recant. They didn’t like seeing Democrats attacked in a major election year such as this one, particularly Democrats who have done a lot to help take back Congress. Perhaps this one bad seed has shot his credibility now. One can only hope. The liberal blogs deserve a better spokesman than a Rovian distortionist.