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Republican 527s Waiting to Pounce?

It was this week four years ago that the Republican lie machine launched the "Swift Boating" attacks against Democratic nominee John Kerry. The expected onslaught of Republican nastiness (in the form of the typical right wing smear attacks) has yet to rear its ugly head in the 2008 contest.

The Obama campaign has loudly signaled in the last two weeks that they are expecting and prepared for the usual RNC crap, and perhaps that's one reason why the 527slime mchine has not reared its ugly head just yet. Another theory behind the delayed launch of the Republican slime machine is a lack of money:

Democrats and the media have used the term so much that it's almost an article of faith. But the so-called "Republican attack machine" waiting with piles of unregulated cash to chew up Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is anything but.

Obama cited the threat of unregulated attack groups -- called "527s" because they're authorized to raise unlimited cash under that section of the Internal Revenue Service code -- to justify dropping his pledge to take public financing -- along with its spending limits -- for the general election campaign.

Yet there's no 2008 equivalent to the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which spent $22 million attacking Democrat John Kerry. Prominent groups and donors that played key roles in independent conservative 527 groups four years ago say they're sitting out this election. And while they've raised more than they did at this point four years ago, the independent pro-Republican groups still lag more than $50 million behind pro-Democratic groups.

My theory is that with reduced funding they are just holding their fire until we get closer to the election and diligence needs to be maintained. The McClatchy piece linked above offers additional theories:

  • Contributors are nervous about increased federal regulation.
  • Those who operate such groups fear a backlash, including from their better-paying corporate clients, who may not want to be associated with such attacks.
  • Few are eager to take such risks to help John McCain, who's bashed such efforts in the past and could again.

Of course, they still could jump in at any time, thanks to their ability to raise cash fast with a few huge checks.

"These groups can pop up overnight because they can take unlimited contributions from almost anybody," said Massie Ritsch, the communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that analyzes money in politics.

"Just because they're not doing anything now doesn't mean they won't jump out of the shadows."

At this stage four years ago, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had been up and running for more than a month, ripping Kerry's Vietnam record. It started airing its big ads that August.

Another pro-Republican group, Progress for America, aired its first ad criticizing Kerry's national-security record and credentials four years ago this week, the first $1 million salvo of what would be a $35 million barrage in key states.

We know the lying slimers will surface, it's only a question of "when"...

An effort to corral money for an independent group to be run by former White House political guru Karl Rove hasn't materialized so far.

"There have been a lot of conversations trying to get this off the ground," said one Republican strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk about Rove.

Another Republican said the deal fell through when Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who helped bankroll the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, refused to write a seven-figure check to get the group going. He, too, refused to be identified because he wasn't authorized to speak about Pickens or Rove.

"Mr. Pickens has decided that he will not support any 527s involved in the presidential race this cycle and instead will focus his energies and his funding on a major, bipartisan, energy-focused public policy initiative that will be announced soon," said Pickens' spokesman, Jay Rosser.

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Comments (27)


lee, you do know that they only person who actually had to withdrawl a statement in regards to the accusations by the Swift Boat sailors was John Kerry don't you? and that it was John Kerry, himself, who opened up the subject of his military record? He wanted to be able to use his military record to help him get elected, but he didn't think people should be able to criticize that record? typical.

and what about the smear machine on the left? do you have no condemnation of them? or are you such a hypocrit that you're turning a blind eye to it?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

If and when any left-wing based 527s smears arise I'll be happy to discuss them.

Meanwhile we're all waiting for the famed right wing slimers to take to the airwaves, but it would appear that they can't raise money.



General Bratray Us ...

If and When ?

moron :)


General Betray Us ...

Boy do I look stupid :)

still not a moron :)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Patraeus wasn't smeared, he was criticized.

Which, bu the way, proves you're a moron because you can't tell the difference.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Petraeus is a pillow-biting Republican hand-licker, in my view.


lee, you are such a hypocrit. "if you do it it's a smear, if we do it, it's criticism" how's that for a shorter, more accurate, version of your mindset?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'd call your comment a criticism -- and it's obvious that you don't know the difference, ke-future.

Right wing bloggers intentionally blur the line between criticism and smearing, so I'm not surprised that you can't tell the difference.


i'd suggest you look in the mirror, lee.

i'm am totally amazed that you can't see that the left is at least as bad as the right when it comes to smearing the opponent.

don't get me wrong. i'm not defending personal attacks. nor am i suggesting that it does not happen on the right. but your intentional blindness to what happens on your side of the ideological spectrum is pathetic.

Lee Ward:

"i'm am totally amazed that you can't see that the left is at least as bad as the right when it comes to smearing the opponent. "

Nothing I've seen from Democrats matches the lying slime swift boating of John Kerry in 2004, for example.

Even George Bush distance himself from that sliming, and John McCain actually stood up and defended Kerry. Are you going to tell me John McCain was wrong on that issue?

No, John McCain is now an opportunistic, spineless creature spawned by the GOP to satisfy Democrats and Independents, not conservatives who now will say whatever his financial backers want him to say. Back then he had backbone, now's he's putty in the hands of the Grand Oil Party.


again, i remind you that the ONLY person who had to retract anything because it was proved false was john kerry. so i guess it's true that the democrats haven't matched that since all they do these days is spin and shift and lie.

if i remember correctly, mccain didn't so much defend kerry per se as codemn what he saw as an unwarrented personal attack. in this case i disagree with mccain. kerry opened the door, and then wanted everybody to play to his rules, and not reality. he deserved the slap down he got.

speaking of spineless, isn't it amazing how obama keeps throwing his staff, supporters, and family under the bus whenever the going gets tough? you used to talk about that, back when he wasn't your candidate. what happened lee? who's pocket are you in now?


If and When Lee? Moveon has never stopped.

If you aren't slamming them 24/7/365 then your credibility on this issue is precisely zero.


And Lee. .despite what was claimed. .STILL none of the Swiftboat stuff has actually, you know, been PROVEN false.


Nothing I've seen from Democrats matches the lying slime swift boating of John Kerry in 2004, for example.

What part was a lie? Kerry still remains the only politician of which I'm aware, who has not filed Form 180 in spite of the fact that he promised to do so...years ago. Why the long face, John? Unless you're hiding something.

By the way, I liked Jay Tea's piece. He spanked your ass pretty good.


Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Jay Tea's obsession with my ass aside, I'm happy to see Jay's third post on this topic. At least he's making an effort to be relevant.

He still doesn't have it right, of course, but he gets points for trying. He such a good little foot soldier for the lying right.

The Swift Boat lies were proven to be exactly that.. lies.


Um, sorry to contradict you, Lee - but denial ain't proof. Do you have any fact-based refutation?

It always struck me as kind of odd for an up-and-coming lieutenant to receive a command - and then essentially run away from it long before he would be due to rotate out. It also rather puzzled me that someone who wouldn't stay in a position of responsibility in the military would then try to translate that experience into a supposed qualification when running for office.

I always wondered where he would run to if he got tired of the responsibility of being President... would he simply refuse to work, or abdicate to Edwards?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

No facts were presented in your comment, JLawson, just more um, moronic stuttering.

The Swiftboat lies were outed long ago, and there are numerous links available through Google. If you dont' know how to locate the truth, ask your Mom to help...


The Swift Boat lies were proven to be exactly that.. lies.

Put up or shut up. I asked you before, what lies? No answer = you got nothing.

By the way, why do you suppose he's neglected to file Form 180 as promised? You don't suppose he's hiding, huh?

Lee Ward:

You idiots hang out with the likes of Jay Tea, and then come over here and prove how stupid you are. Don't you have any pride?

Clay the clown wrote: "Put up or shut up. I asked you before, what lies? No answer = you got nothing.

By the way, why do you suppose he's neglected to file Form 180 as promised? You don't suppose he's hiding, huh?

Your claim that Kerry never signed a form 180 was lie, Clay, then you proceed to hurl insults because I ignored your lie - quite trollish of you.

Here's the truth, something you won't find reading Jay Tea's rambling, long-winded mumblings...

The New York Sun, June 21, 2005:

After the election, on May 20, 2005, [Kerry] did sign a Standard Form 180, allowing full release of all his military service and medical records to the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times.

For more proof that Jay Tea and his gang of stuttering idiots are liars I recommend googling an independent fact checking site like factcheck.org.

A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.

But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.

One of the accusers says he was on another boat "a few yards" away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry's account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal, Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was "launched by people without decency" who are "lying" and "should hang their heads in shame."

And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident.

yawn.... More right wing buffoonery, egged on by Wizbang's chief buffoon Jay Tea.

And then Clay shows up here and tells me to put up or shut up. What a shame, it got him banned. He seemed like such a nice guy... until he opened his mouth and was proven to be a troll, lol.


Looks like you put up Lee and the other idiot shut up. Nice job.


The fact is the public has never had acces to Kerry's record. Why is that, Lee?

We're not worthy, Clay. It's that simple.

James Cloninger:

coolio: Looks like you put up Lee and the other idiot shut up. Nice job.

Of course he "shut up"...by being banned. That's like winning a debate by shooting your opposition. Yay, you win. (rolls eyes)

Ban me, if you wish, I don't give a damn.

And Lee - as a Personnel Specialist in the Air Force for 13 years, I'd really like to see Kerry's ORIGINAL discharge, the one he should have gotten in 1975 - not the one from '78. In fact... he may well have gotten a "less than honorable" discharge and had it upgraded.


With the only discharge document cited by Mr. Kerry issued in 1978, three years after the last date it should have been issued, the absence of a certificate from 1975 leaves only two possibilities. Either Mr. Kerry received an "other than honorable" certificate that has been removed in a review purging it from his records, or even worse, he received no certificate at all. In both cases there would have been a loss of all of Mr. Kerry's medals and the suspension of all benefits of service.

Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.

Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973.A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

So even though Kerry never realeased his records publically, it gets out that he wasn't the 'hero' he so much wanted to be in his own mind. Not that it matters - looks like Kerry's gonna get creamed in his next election attempt anyway without Kennedy to protect him from himself.


Lee - when you make a claim, you need to have facts to back it up. You don't seem to be able to disagree civilly, and your credibility is not enhanced by the way you're acting.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Proving stupid people wrong since 2006 has been a distinct pleasure, JLawson.

"The fact is the public has never had acces to Kerry's record. Why is that, Lee?"

I don't know, but the fact is that he did release the information, which makes you out to be either an idiot or a liar, Clay. My guess is that you're just plain stupid -- Jay Tea seems to be a stupid magnet of sorts, and Jay being a large, blubbery mass of stupidity he seems to have a gravitational pull that attracts morons to his posts who periodically spill over onto our comment threads.

Lately, after seeing their party select a flip-flopping liberal as their candidate, there have been more vocal stupid commenters like Clay who either know that Kerry signed the 180 and hope that others like Jlawson are stupid, or they have been lied to by right wing bloggers like Jay Tea for so long they just plain don't know what's real and what isn't.

A sign of the times....


Everyone who disagrees with you is stupid then, Lee? And you'll silence them by any means possible? Ban people who disagree, anything to keep your little bubble unburst?

I agreed with you on Obama, back when you feverently supported Hillary. Back then, he was completely unsuited for the job, according to you. Now, Obama's the chosen one - and you can't silence the critics fast enough.

Seems to me your 'reality' is pretty variable, Lee.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Ban people who disagree, anything to keep your little bubble unburst?"

Naw, you've been around here long enough to know that's not true and here you are, lying about it instead.

Only those who turn into trolls are banned, JLawson.

But they wear their troll crowns proudly, usually lying about the reason why they were banned, just as you lied about the tolerance for disagreement that we have here.

Stick to reality and you're welcome to stay and debate. Resort to lying and insulting and you're toast...


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