Bush II Is Running a Dirty Campaign (Just Like His Dad Did)

Roundup: Media's Take

William Saletan, in Slate (March 19, 2004):

If you oppose George Bush's policies, or if you're supported by anybody who opposes George Bush's policies, you're anti-American.

That was the message of the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, who suggested that his opponent from Massachusetts was against the Pledge of Allegiance. Now it's his son's campaign message, too.

Facts don't matter when you run on this theme. In June 1988, George H.W. Bush said of Michael Dukakis,"I'll never understand, when it came to his desk, why he vetoed a bill that called for the Pledge of Allegiance to be said in the schools of Massachusetts . I'll never understand it. We are one nation under God. Our kids should say the Pledge of Allegiance."

The bill Dukakis vetoed didn't" call for" the pledge to be said. It imposed criminal penalties on teachers who failed to start the day by leading students in the pledge. The Massachusetts Supreme Court told Dukakis it was unconstitutional. But never mind. According to Bush, Dukakis was against saying the pledge and being one nation under God.

History repeats itself. Last week, George W. Bush aired a TV ad in which the following charges appeared on the screen for nine seconds:"John Kerry's Plan: Weaken Fight Against Terrorists";"John Kerry's Plan: Delay Defending America."

What was Bush's evidence for the first charge? His campaign cited four Kerry quotes . In the first, Kerry called for"replacing the Patriot Act with a new law that protects our people and our liberties at the same time." In the second, Kerry called for"provisions to guarantee that there is not this blind spot in the American justice system that there is today under the Patriot Act." In the third, Kerry said,"I voted for the USA Patriot Act in the Senate right after 9/11 to advance our security at home, but I am concerned that Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department is abusing the powers conferred on it by that act." In the fourth, Kerry said,"We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night."

Among those four statements, I count zero in favor of weakening the fight against terrorists and two in favor of protecting American security. But never mind. According to Bush,"Kerry's Plan" is"Weaken Fight Against Terrorists."

comments powered by Disqus