Third Party & Independents Archives

Democratic Dirty Tricks

As election time rolls near and you see many on the left correctly and sometimes incorrectly accusing the right of using dirty tricks against their opponents, don’t let them fool you into thinking that Republicans are the only ones who use these techniques. Recent examples show us the levels that Democrats and their supporters are willing to stoop in order to win the latest “Most important election in our history”. Today’s story turns out to be about body armor.

First let's examine the recent ad campaign by VoteVets. In the ads, Republican opponents are accused of voting against giving the troops body armor and instead issuing vets left over from Vietnam, the first attack against George Allen (R) of Virginia. They point to a vote on an amendment advanced just 2 days before the fall of Baghdad that called for just over $1 billion for unspecified "National Guard and Reserve Equipment." No list of the type of equipment was given, debate on the topic did not mention body armor.

In fact, there was already new body armor scheduled to be shipped to the troops but in a classic military snafu it was delayed. When we check factcheck.org on the subject, we see the reality behind the ads.

the Pentagon was already in the process of vastly increasing its orders for the latest-model armored vests, and the shortages that plagued some units in Iraq for the first few months of the war were due not to a lack of money, but to the inability of Pentagon contractors to manufacture the vests fast enough to meet the sudden spike in demand, and problems getting the gear shipped to the troops. A report issued in April 2005 said:

GAO: Temporary shortages of the Interceptor body armor occurred because of
acquisition delays related to lack of key materials and distribution problems in theater.

As the Government Accountability Office reported, when the Landrieu amendment came up in March 2003 the Pentagon had already increased its orders for body armor roughly 10-fold and was buying it as fast as suppliers could produce it. Approving Sen. Landrieu's amendment could not, therefore, have called forth a single additional vest or ceramic plate.

Further the ad mentions armor left over from Vietnam but the ad itself shows later body armor made in the 80s and used until 1999. Another example of trying to create a false impression that just doesn't exist to smear your opponent's record.

This is, of course, on drawback to a two-party system, you no longer have to defend your record or try to convince people why they should vote for your, you just have to smear your opponent sufficiently enough to convince people that 'anyone is better than this'. In reality, that is seldom true. The other person is usually just as bad if not worse because they are attempting to gain or retain power for their party and themselves, only the rare few are interested in upholding the constitution or representing their constituents.

Both parties are guilty of this, the same topic was used against John Kerry in the 2004 election. But the worst part of this story is that those who were against using these tactics against Kerry are now feeling free to use them against their opponents. No principle involved, no sense of hypocrisy. Just do what you can do win, win by any means.

So the next time your liberal friends start telling you that the Democratic party and its followers don't participate in dirty tricks you will know the truth behind it.

Posted by Rhinehold at October 1, 2006 5:53 AM
Comments
Comment #185553

Rhinehold,

You’re absolutely right. Both parties use dirty tricks and completely distort the truth.

Both parties are wrong for doing this.

Can you remember an election where both parties didn’t try to scare the Bejesus out of the elderly with claims that the other party was going to cut Social Security and leave them out in the street eating dog food?

Take for example:

One candidate is charged with using the “N-Word” over thirty years ago. Do you hear his opponent using votes in Congress LAST year? The year BEFORE? Nope.

My opinion is that if they have to go back over THIRTY years ago to get dirt on him, then they need to drop out of the race. I mean, hey! If he hasn’t done anything wrong in 30 years…

Sadly, Rhinehold, it has become a race of “Look how bad my opponent is” rather than “Look how much better my ideas are than his”.

Posted by: Jim T at October 1, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #185562

It’s not Democrats pointing out that the candidate used the word macacaa, nigger, hung a noose in his office, hung various KKK articles in his office, etc. It’s the press. They’ve grabbed hold of it because it’s sensational and disgusting behavior. There’s no political angle, that’s just what news people do.

Posted by: Max at October 1, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #185565

It doesn’t sound to me like there was enough body armour and there may have been more had this gone through. Right?

Anyway, as far as dirty tricks go… This really pales next Republican examples of campaigning. Smears like when Bush suggested the candidate he was running against was a pedophile, or the “Swift boat veterans” suggesting Kerry was not a war hero, or suppossed resaerch phone calls with tricked out questions like “do you want gay marriage to be legal in your state” when that’s not something on the table. Your party has consistently used fear and smear tactics to win elections. You’ve really lowered the level of debate in this country and done it harm. To suggest the Democrats do it just as much is another piece of dishonesty.

Posted by: Max at October 1, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #185573

Max
What partisan BS. The fact of the matter is the Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans of using of smear tactics. Just because a Republican uses smear tactics doesn’t make him worse than the Democrat that does. No smear tactic is worse than another. It’s all disgusting regardless of who’s using it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 1, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #185581

Most of the time, Factcheck gets things right, but sometimes they can be far too literal about things, and perhaps a little bit uptight about questions concerning their accuracy.

First and foremost, they may not date directly from the Vietnam war, but the technology definitely does. The vests in question were not meant to stop bullets of that caliber.

Second, Allen did in fact vote against a bill that would have provided body armor to the National Guardsmen and Reservists pressed into service. He would later vote for a legislation to reimburse families and to get that body armor to those people, but it can be said with good confidence that the vote against the first legislation cost lives.

Third, even if this owed more to late production rather than absent purchases, it still says something about the nature of the way we went to war. The lack of vests is one of the many things that indicate the excessive “efficiency” which which this war was run. In short, if we had planned for more troops, planned with the contigency of a tougher campaign in mind, planned for the eventuality of sending reservists and National Guard soldiers into combat, fewer of them would have been killed, and our efforts would have been more effective earlier.

Rhinehold, there is truth behind these ads. This was more than just a supply problem. This was at the very least a preparation problem, and to the greatest degree a problem of an adminstration steeped in denial about the mess that its gotten itself into.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 1, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #185590

Then there is the whole armored vehicle debacle. In WWII we turned out 1000 planes a month. In this war with all our vastly increased economic and technological skills, we can barely turn out 48 vehicles per month?

The claim that the administration is trying to fight this war on the cheap at the high cost to our soldiers is not unfounded.

In the world of politics both sides tolerate the other side’s dirty tricks to preserve their own ability to participate in them. Perverse this is, but, until the voters kick incumbents out for their party’s participation in them, they will continue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 1, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #185639

Yeah, both are bad about the negative campaigning.
Their true colors actually start to show much better.

The scary part is that much of the accusations are true.

For instance, take the subject of body armor, just look at all the pork-barrel most politicians voted on between 2003 and 2006, while some troops went without body armor, insufficient armor for humvees, and inadequate medical care:

  • February 18, 2004-Combat veterans wounded in Iraq were left waiting weeks and even months for proper medical attention at military bases. According to an officer, their living conditions were so unacceptable for injured soldiers he said they “were being treated like dogs.”

  • Mark Benjamin’s investigative report on Oct. 20, 2003 for UPI, revealed that many wounded veterans from Iraq had to wait “weeks and months at places such as the Fort Stewart military base in Georgia, for proper medical help.”

  • Combat deaths were accurately reported, but according to an article in July, 2003 by Editor & Publisher Online and later in October by National Public Radio, the numbers of wounded, in and out of battle, were being underreported.

These things, alone, are ample reason to vote-out (or recall) any politicians that voted on pork-barrel. See cagw.org for much more examples of pork-barrel spending.

That would be most (if not all) of them.

That is why no one can name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable.
Because there are so very few (if any).
The bar is set so, so very low.

There’s insufficient accountability.
It doesn’t matter how it was in WWII or Vietnam.
Things can be (and should be) much better.
Our troops risk life and limb, while Congress votes itself raises, cu$hy perks, trolls for big-money-donors, and votes on pork-barrel, graft, corporate welfare, corpocrisy, corporatism, bribes, bridges-to-nowhere, and massive waste

And what’s goin’ on with the Reserves is a back-door draft. Some are on their 2nd and 3rd tour. More “on-the-cheap” tactics.

The irresponsibility and incompetence of Congress is staggering, but we keep re-electing the very same incumbents, over and over, without ever drawing the connection between 90% re-election rates, and problems growing in number and severity. And, two of those problems are Afghanistan and Iraq, and both are slipping away due to major incompetence (not to mention no WMD was ever found which was the justification used to invade Iraq).

Congress can vote themselves a rai$e and cu$hy perk$ in a heartbeat, but can’t even do the minimum decent thing for those that sacrificed so much.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #185641

Claim vs. Fact: Treatment of Troops at a Time of War

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 12:59 AM
Comment #185670

Max, I agree with Ron regarding smear tactics being routine with both Parties. Interested in whether you can actually cite the incident in which President Bush claimed or insinuated an opponent was a pedophile.

Posted by: Jack McGeehan at October 2, 2006 8:55 AM
Comment #185712

When his term on the court ended, he chose not to run for re-election. I later learned another reason why. Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove’s signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.

Some of Kennedy’s campaign commercials touted his volunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. “We were trying to counter the positives from that ad,” a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. “It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information,” the staffer went on. “That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that’s one of the ways that Karl got the information out—he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out.” This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. “What Rove does,” says Joe Perkins, “is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin’, tobacco-chewin’, pickup-drivin’ kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take.”

See more here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200411/green/3

And then tell me if you don’t think this is another level of sleaze.

Posted by: Max at October 2, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #185777

Max,

Incredible level of sleaze………..

Posted by: Jack McGeehan at October 2, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #191669

DIRTY TRICKS defined: Unethical behavior, especially acts undertaken to destroy the credibility or reputation of an opponent.

If we can agree that this is the generally accpeted definition of the phrase, then most of the criticism pointed out by Rhinehold is out the window. I have yet to see anything that the Democrats have done that approaches “dirty tricks” as defined above. No acts. No behavior. Nothing. Criticism of your opponent, or even the intentional distortion of your opponents’ position, does not (in my book) rise to the level of a “dirty trick”. However, the jamming of phone lines when your opponent’s staff are trying to contact voters on election day is a “dirty trick”.

So please stop the whining about the unremarkable and ordinary political rhetoric engaged in by both sides during an election, and point out any real “dirty tricks” by the Democrats of which you are aware. I don’t think there are any.

Posted by: SG47 at October 30, 2006 10:30 PM
Post a comment