Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Ad Watch

Josh Marshall dissects the latest Bush ad against Kerry, proving once again that Bush-Cheney ’04 cranks out more lies per inch than an internet dating chat room.

This one uses last year’s $87 billion Iraq supplemental, and the fact that Kerry voted against it, to accuse him of voting against each of the various line items for troop funding included in the bill. Now, this is inherently misleading since I believe Kerry, like many other Dems, voted for an alternative bill which would have funded these needs by rescinding part of Bush tax cuts. So to say he voted against these particulars is really a distortion of the legislative process.

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What’s more, the commercial highlights three budget items, each of which were ones the president opposed and had to be bullied into supporting — by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The text narration says: “”No body armor for troops in combat. No higher combat pay. No to better health care for reservists and their families. No — wrong on defense.” What’s most bracing about this narration is that this is actually a pretty factual statement if the target is the president, not Kerry. Now, one claim really stands out here. The ad says Kerry voted no to “higher combat pay.” This is truly a milestone in the long bilious history of gall.

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If you watched this debate at the time you’ll remember that last summer the Bush administration went to great lengths to cut combat pay for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to save money for other priorities. They only relented when Democrats, Republicans and most of all military-oriented publications like Army Times expressed so much outrage that they had no choice but abandon the effort.

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Sometimes you try to dress it up or package it in some artful way. But the truth is irreducibly blunt: lying and indifference to a factual record often no further away than the google web site is the hallmark of this administration.

And the amazing thing is that the Republicans and the president do it with a straight face. It’s like they expect everyone to believe them. How stupid do they think we are? Well, over the next eight months or so, we’re going to find out.