Saturday, November 04, 2006

Not Enough Pollocks in US Politics

Back in the 1950s the US Government covertly funded the arts in a kind of cultural cold war, to show the rest of the world it's intellectual and artistic values. For example, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was sent on a celebrated tour of Europe. The CIA even funded expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock through front organisations.

Now, fast-forward fifty years and the US is trying to export democratic values to the Middle East. I have to say, the elections they are having in their own country don't inspire much admiration for the system, which too often seems to involve throwing venom at your opponents in vastly expensive TV advertising. I really hope the Democrats do well, because if the Republicans don't deserve to lose this year, they never will. But politics, it's a dirty business...:

Forti and Lapp run the independent expenditure arms of their parties' campaign committees, the place where many of the negative ads that voters are seeing are financed, produced and strategically placed on television stations across the country. In the final days of the campaign, they will easily outspend the candidates themselves in many of the most competitive House races. They will decide the final images that many voters see in this campaign. Warning for the fainthearted: Most of the ads will be dark and accusatory.

Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA), accused of choking his former mistress, "agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day," the AP reports.
"Sherwood is locked in a tight re-election race against a Democratic opponent who has seized on the four-term congressman's relationship with the woman. While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms."

Fake "Progressive" Group Still Active in PA
The shadowy RNC-connected front group the "Progressive Policy Council" is still at it, trying to discourage liberal voters from going to the polls on Tuesday.

Vito's ad a scarefest on terrorism
Is Rep. Vito Fossella getting nervous?
The Staten Island Republican has begun airing a new shock ad on the radio saying his challenger cares more about protecting terrorists than New Yorkers.
The scare ad features a phone call between two terrorists that suddenly goes dead. An announcer says Democrat Steve Harrison wants to stop wiretapping terrorists who are planning new attacks.
"Steve Harrison: putting terrorist rights above the safety of you and your family," the spot says.
Harrison, a Brooklyn lawyer who hasn't enough cash to air a response ad, called the radio spot a scurrilous lie and a sign that the once-mighty congressman is running scared.
"These are more than distortions. They are fabrications," Harrison said.

Fort Bend County Democrats are irate about campaign signs linking Democrats to illegal immigrants and terrorists, but the Republican county commissioner who paid for them said they accurately reflect Democratic positions.
Early voters in the heart of the heated race to succeed former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were greeted Wednesday with red and white signs that read: "Want more illegals? Vote Democrat" and "Encourage Terrorists. Vote Democrat."
By midafternoon, outraged Democrats had removed the signs but not the acrimony.
"This is a majority minority county where Hispanics, blacks and Asians make up about 60 percent of the population," said Don Bankston, campaign coordinator for the Democratic Party in Ford Bend County.
"This is an appeal to fear, racism and prejudice, and that is wrong."

FRANK SCHAEFFER: I should be supporting Allen. Instead, I'm leaving the party.

I'm a Christian, a writer, a military parent and a registered Republican.
On all those counts, I was disgusted by an e-mail I just received that's being circulated by campaign supporters of Republican George Allen, who's trying to retain his Senate seat in Virginia.

The message goes like this: "First, it was the Catholic priests, then it was Mark Foley, and now Jim Webb, whose sleazy novels discuss sex between very young teenagers. ... Hmmm, sounds like a perverted pedophile to me! Pass the word that we do not need any more pedophiles in office."Democrat James Webb is a war hero and former Marine, wounded in Vietnam and winner of the Navy Cross. He was writing about class and military issues long before me and has articulated the issue of how the elites have dropped the ball on military service in his classic novel Fields of Fire. By the way, that's a book Tom Wolfe calls "the greatest of the Vietnam novels."

Mr. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. That's an uncommon fact in this era in which most political leaders' children act as if it is only right and proper that it's someone else's war to fight. Mr. Webb also happens to be running against a desperate opponent supported by people who circulated the stupid e-mail, something that reminds me of a 2000 smear campaign aimed at another war hero, John McCain.

I never served in the military. It was my son's unexpected volunteering that connects me to the military family and to my country. And I've been voting Republican for years. My late father – Dr. Francis Schaeffer – was an evangelical theologian, friend to Jerry Falwell and White House guest of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and the first President Bush.

I have nice handwritten letters from various members of the Bush family, including Barbara, thanking me for my books on military service. So I have every reason to stay in the Republicans' good graces. (It's nice to be complimented on television by the First Lady.)

But enough is enough. I've had it with Republican smears.

The Webb e-mail is the embodiment of the cynical Republican strategists, some of whom must know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Was Agatha Christie a murderer because she wrote about murder?

According to the Allen camp's logic, God would be a pedophile, too. After all, we Christians believe God inspired the Bible. And God-the-author chose to include the "sleazy" story about Lot offering to send out his young virgin daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom. The Bible has masturbation scenes, rape, pedophilia and God's favorite man – King David – warming himself with a young virgin in his old age. He's the same man God tells us committed murder after he indulged his peeping Tom fantasies.

Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen.

More outside money is flowing into the Nevada-03, where Tessa Hafen is mounting an unexpectedly stiff challenge to Republican incumbent Jon Porter. The Democratic 527 group, VoteVets, whose ads this year include this one about insufficient body armor in Iraq, spent a quarter of a million dollars this week for attack ads on Porter, according to FEC reports filed yesterday.

The fight is on in New Jersey. The RNC yesterday dropped $3 million into the Senate race for attack ads on Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

IL-06: NRCC Sends Out "Welcome To America" Kit Attacking Duckworth
By Eric Kleefeld
The NRCC has come up with a novel way of attacking Dem Tammy Duckworth on immigration: It's sent out a new mailing packed in a cardboard box, of all things, and the box is labeled, "Welcome to America Kit!" Inside this "kit," which you're supposed to think is for immigrants, is another mailing designed as if it were intended as an offer to illegals. It says: "Enter America illegally and get...Social Security benefits!" There is also a picture of Duckworth, which is obviously meant to suggest that she supports the "offers" to illegals on the mailing. She doesn't, however: Duckworth actually backs GOP Senator John McCain's immigration approach, which doesn't include benefits for illegals.

[The Green Party candidate for Attorney General Rachel] Treichler had petitioned weeks earlier to be included in the League of Women Voters' proposed three attorney-general debates. In a letter, she argued her qualifications: ballot access, financial compliance with New York State Board of Elections, voter interest and serious media coverage. The league, in turn, commissioned a Zogby poll in which Treichler polled 17 percent of the vote among independent voters. It was decided that she was a viable candidate.
At the last minute, however, Treichler learned that she wasn't going to be included in any of the debates. [Democraticic candidate Andrew] Cuomo wasn't interested, she says, in debating a third-party candidate, and his camp put the pressure on to not include her.

After some searching, the most positive, freshest viewpoint I found was down in Tennessee , for a state senate race.. This Republican candidate Bob Krumm seems to have a pretty decent approach and a useful website:

"Yesterday I had a chance encounter with my esteemed opponent.
I was at the American Legion Post 5 luncheon at Piccadilly. While I was standing in line, I looked back toward the door and saw Senator Henry walk in.
I moved to the rear of the line to speak with him. As always, we had a very cordial conversation. Say what you will of him, no one can deny that he is a kind gentleman of the highest order.
At one point, Senator Henry asked me, “Mister Krumm, Do you know who the speaker is today?” He was visibly shocked when I told him, “You’re looking at him.”
I really wanted him to stay for the whole thing, and told him so. But he, probably not wanting to appear like another notorious party crasher, said that he was just going to get his lunch and leave before I spoke, so as to give me my time.
I do wish that Senator Henry had stayed. I think he would have been happy to hear the kind words I said about him during my remarks.
And besides, it might finally have given some voters an opportunity to see us together, and ask questions of both of us."

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