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Political Mugging In America
Anatomy of an "independent" smear campaign:
"In the recent Iowa caucuses, we saw our first political mugging of the 2004 presidential campaign, Democrats sneakily slurring Democrats. It absolutely will not be the last, considering the remarkable cash advantage and sordid reputation of White House political director Karl Rove, who years ago taught negative campaigning techniques at the University of Texas. The bubble and unexpected implosion of frontrunner Dean's $47 million candidacy will be studied for years to come, and no one can or should plausibly suggest that his political demise was substantially attributable to the attacks from Americans for Jobs or any other para-mudslinging subterfuge efforts we don't know about."
(link via This Modern World)
Um, why not?
The big party bosses may have sunk the Dean ship on its way into victory harbor but they have to know that they'll be seeing more sails breaking the horizon soon enough. The techniques and ideas forged for the Dean campaign are still new and they didn't pay enough attention to protecting their flanks. The kids in orange hats were no match for people with connections and money. They got their candidate and millions of progressives will either have to vote for Nader or hold their noses and pull the lever for Kerry. Given the consequences of a Democratic loss you can bet their will be a lot of nose holding this year. But that resentment will only help fuel the next people-powered candidate.
With any luck, next time we'll get the candidate we deserve instead of the candidate that big money politics picks for us.
The idea of a candidate entirely funded through small individual contributions has got to scare the living shit out of the network of political kingmakers. This year they stood in front of their magic mirror, chanted "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, whose the fairest candidate of them all" and got the fright of their lives when Howard Dean's face popped up. Its not surprising to read that the Labor Unions were involved, or that they had given money to the Dean campaign as well. You see, they figured it would play out according to the old rule book. You spread the cash around and see who floats to the top, then they come crawling to you for more money and that's when you start attaching the strings. Only this time Dean rose to the top and they never got the visit. What good is a candidate you can't get your hooks into?
So it had to happen. Kerry and Gephardt, the consummate insiders pulled in some favors, their backers put together a little organization and the torpedoes were armed and pointed at the Dean ship. After Iowa Dean was taking on water and headed towards the bottom. They needed the momentum to succeed and that was destroyed. Voters were scared off and any political heavyweights that had climbed aboard the Dean ship were safely rowing away on rescue boats.
There's always four years from now. Progressives have to realize that should we succeed with Kerry in defeating Bush we'll be stuck with Kerry four years from now as well. The choices look bad either way, four more years of Bush policies which we know will be disastrous, or waiting for possibly EIGHT years for a real progressive candidate that lives up the promise of a genuine people's president.
Its almost enough to consider a life as a Canadian eh?
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