After establishing the first two beach-heads in their War on Kerry–that the war hero is really an ambitious traitor who hung out with Hanoi Jane and a Taxachusetts elitist liberal who voted against the GOP’s valiant attempts to beef up our nation’s security–Karl Rove’s Echo Chamber has just opened up its Third Front: he’s a tool of the “special interests”.
The Bush campaign sent an e-mail Feb. 12 to six million supporters with a link to an Internet video attacking Kerry for being “unprincipled.” The ad claims Kerry got “more special interest money than any other senator,” which is false.While it is true that Kerry got $640,000 over the past 15 years from individual lobbyists, that’s only one type of special-interest money. And the Bush campaign itself has reported raising $960,000 from individual lobbyists in the past year alone.
The ad says Kerry got “millions from executives at HMO’s, telecoms, drug companies,” which is true — for Kerry’s entire political career. But so far Kerry’s presidential campaign has received a small fraction of what the Bush campaign has received from those particular sources. By any definition, Bush’s “special interest” money greatly exceeds Kerry’s.
But this does not, of course, make Bush “unprincipled.” So it took Kerry 15 years to collect 2/3 of the money Bush collected from lobbyists this year alone, so what? Kerry is “unprincipled”, Bush is not. Why? Read my lips: Kerry, Democrat; Bush, Republican.
Blatant hypocrisy has been a Republican campaign trademark for generations, but rarely has it risen to the Olympian heights to which the radical neocons have brought it. As Krugman (and I) pointed out, the Cult of Personality strategy demands that the leader appear to be pure, above the fray, thinking only of the welfare of his children, honest, forthright, and humble: a Good Man Battling the Forces of Evil. The corollary, therefore, has to be that anyone who opposes his Wise and Just Rule is impure, willing to roll in the mud, so ambitious that he thinks only of himself, dishonest, deceitful, and arrogant: an Evil Man trying to Destroy the Forces of Good.
This bi-polar script doesn’t allow for shades of good or evil because, in America, nuance doesn’t sell. We like our problems simple, uncomplicated, and easy to digest, and our decisions certain and unambiguous: black vs white, heroes vs villains, day vs night, good vs evil. Put it like that and we all know where we stand, and without the nagging discomfort of engaging in any actual thought.
The GOP knows how to package simple-minded campaigns, we don’t.
(Thanx to regular reader–and commenter–eagle2 for the tip)