Kerry's Whining Over Third Party Ads Rings Hollow
August 23, 2004
"They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work."
--- Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry commenting on the new Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad
I really love irony as much as the next guy, especially in the world of politics. But does anyone else see the tremendously ironic hypocrisy coming from the lips of John F. Kerry last week with his complaint about third party ads?
Where has his criticism of third party groups been before now?!
Let's go back a few months for a moment to a time when a radical anti-Bush third party group (no, that is not a redundant phrase) was attacking President George W. Bush.
You may recall a pair of campaign ads run by liberal online political action group MoveOn.org as part of their "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest that blatantly compared Bush with Adolf Hitler. These ads were not concealed by the group supported by Bush-bashing billionaire George Soros, but rather prominently and proudly displayed with their name plastered to the bottom of them!
Despite the obviously heinous message of these ads sponsored by a third party group against Bush, what was the reaction from Democrats and Kerry? Silence.
In fact, to date, not one single Democrat repudiated these vicious attacks against the president as out of line or wrong in any way.
Yet, when the Swift Boats ad hit the airwaves criticizing Kerry's four months of service in the Vietnam War in recent weeks, Bush immediately distanced himself from the ad and the group that ran it.
"We have not and will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters last week. "The president is calling for an immediate cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity. We hope the Kerry campaign will join us."
Despite this call for a truce over third party ads, the Kerry campaign responded by questioning the Bush campaign's involvement with the ad.
But again the irony comes in to play with Kerry's whining over the Swift Boat ad when a disproportionate amount of money has been spent this year on his behalf derailing Bush.
Here are the numbers:
According to OpenSecrets.org, the so-called 527 third party groups who are allowed to raise an infinite amount of money in support of candidates as long as they do not coordinate their efforts with the campaigns have given Kerry an overwhelming advantage over Bush in this year's election.
The Swift Boat ad that has Kerry in such a tizzy right now cost a mere $158,750 to produce and distribute to a limited market. It was paid for by some major Republican contributors.
Conversely, though, in a quick examination of the money collected by liberal pro-Kerry 527 groups, the numbers are staggering and lopsided in favor of the Massachusetts senator.
A group called the Media Fund, which describes itself as "dedicated to defeating President Bush in November" has raised $28.1 million dollars and hopes to raise $100 million to run ads in 17 battleground states.
Another organization called America Coming Together, which is "run by longtime Democratic operatives and financed in part by wealthy Democratic donors" has raised $26.9 million and is also planning on running ads in the 17 battleground states.
As for MoveOn.org, they have spent $9.1 million and are constantly raising money to spend on grassroots efforts to defeat Bush in November.
Other groups financially supporting Kerry indirectly and avoiding campaign finance laws include Service Employees International Union with $16.7 million, American Federation of State, County and Municipality Employees with $13.7 million, the New Democrat Network with $7.2 million, Voices For Working Families with $3.7 million and Partnership for America's Families with $3.1 million.
With well over $100 million coming from these groups and as many as a dozen others, the Kerry campaign has raised almost twice as much money as the Bush campaign this year, according to recent government filings.
As of today, nearly $62 million has already been spent by these groups to defeat Bush, mostly on television advertising and grassroots efforts.
And speaking of coordinating efforts, remember that a major operative within MoveOn.org joined the Kerry campaign in April.
Zack Exley had been serving as the director of special projects for MoveOn.org before he was brought on to the Kerry campaign to be the director of online communications and organization for the Kerry campaign just after the group was under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for violating the law against coordinating efforts with the Kerry campaign on political attack ads against Bush.
Exley had also previously worked on the presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean during the Democratic primary, assisting the former Democratic frontrunner with his online strategy for attracting voters.
But we all know that there is no coordination between MoveOn.org and the Kerry campaign, right?
How about a November 13, 2003 e-mail from the Democratic National Committee which admitted they were "conducting a major petition drive in partnership with MoveOn.org."
Is this coordination between MoveOn.org and the DNC, hmmmm?
Or how about the fact that the MoveOn.org web site has links to the Kerry campaign web site, a candidate interview, a contribution link and a personalized invitation from Kerry himself with a picture to boot to join his campaign.
The bottom of the page states, "Paid for by MOVEON PAC, website: www.moveonpac.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Oooooookaaaaaaaay. Riiiiiiiiiiggggght! No coordination between MoveOn.org and Kerry, eh?
This accusation about the Bush campaign coordinating efforts with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth rings hollow when it is put in the proper perspective.
One last thing. It is quite interesting that ABC, CBS and NBC were tireless on the story about Bush being AWOL during his National Guard service at the beginning of this year, but remarkably silent about the Swift Boats story.
The Media Research Center found that there were 75 stories questioning Bush's National Guard service compared with only 9 regarding the Swift Boat Veterans being critical of Kerry, an incredible 8-1 disparity!
So the next time you hear John F. Kerry complaining about third party ads supporting President Bush, remember how overwhelmingly supported the Democratic presidential nominee is by the vast majority of 527 groups and the mainstream media.
Unfortunately for Kerry, though, most Americans strongly support President Bush and the outstanding job he has done leading this country over the past four years. And that is what worries these groups the most!