Tuesday, June 01, 2004

No Lie Too Large, No Lie Too Small

The Deserter's campaign has issued a press release that purports to refute various claims made in a recent Washington Post article regarding the Bush/Cheney campaign's propensity to lie.

The Bush/Cheney press release cites ten alleged misstatements made by Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Jim Vandehei in the article and then offers "facts" presumably intended to demonstrate that the Washington Post misspoke. The only problem is that if one bothers to wade through the "facts" it is apparent that not only has the Bush/Cheney campaign failed to refute the Washington Post charges, it confirms them!

For example, Milbank and Vandehei referred to a Bush/Cheney ad that accused Kerry of wanting to increase gas taxes by 50 cents a gallon. In fact, candidate Kerry has opposed a gas tax increase. Milbank and Vandehei noted the Bush/Cheney ad appeared to be based on a 1994 Boston Globe interview in which Kerry indicated he would support a 50 cent gas tax increase. Milbank and Vandehei faulted the Bush/Cheney campaign for implying that Kerry currently favors a 50 cent gas tax hike based on nothing more than a decade old article.

The Bush/Cheney press release refers to Milbank's and Vandehei's charge as "Misstatement 3" and proceeds to offer in support of its claim that candidate Kerry has advocated a 50 cent gas tax hike the following:

1. John Kerry has in the past voted for gas tax increases of 7.5 cents and 4.3 cents per gallon.

2. John Kerry voted against repealing the 4.3 cents per gallon increase.

3. John Kerry opposed a temporary suspension of the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax in 2000.

In sum, Bush/Cheney argues that if John Kerry has in the post supported much smaller gas tax increases and has opposed much smaller gas tax reductions, then it's O.K. to claim that he favors a massive 50 cent per gallon increase!

Each and every Bush/Cheney campaign claim of a Washington Post misstatement follows the same pattern: a recitation of reams of irrelevant material that in no way supports the Bush/Cheney campaign's lie about John Kerry and then an unsupported assertion that their wild mischaracterization of John Kerry's position is accurate.

Another grievous example is campaign Chairman Marc Racicot's claim that Kerry blamed not only the MPs directly implicated in the Abu Ghraib abuses but all 150,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq. Of course Kerry has made no such claim, and the only statements the Bush/Cheney campaign can attribute to Kerry on the subject of Abu Ghraib culpability fault the White House and Pentagon for fostering an environment in which these abuses could take place. The Bush/Cheney press release then cites, apropos of nothing at all, the fact that Kerry has referred to the Abu Ghraib abuses in certain fundraising materials. The Bush/Cheney campaign press release utterly failed to offer one John Kerry statement, or any statement contained in his fundraising materials, that supported their claim that Kerry blamed all 150,000 soldiers in Iraq for the Abu Ghraib abuses. It is a total mystery as to why the Bush/Cheney campaign believes that Milbank and Vandehei misspoke in their article.

There are eight other examples just like the two I've discussed above. In each case the Bush/Cheney press release characterizes Milbank's and Vandehei's carefully documented claim a "misstatement," and then fails to offer any evidence in support of that characterization. A complete disgrace.

Yeah, Al Gore exaggerated. Sure, Bill Clinton lied about sex. But the Bush administration and the Bush campaign have institutionalized executive branch deceit in a way even Nixon could never have conceived.


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