Sometimes it’s better to stay in bed and not bother reading the newspaper or watching the political talk shows. This Sunday sadly started out that way as I unfortunately happened upon a Los Angeles Times front-page article entitled “GOP Activists Circling Clinton's Campaign.”
Frankly, the author and the paper’s editors should be ashamed of themselves for placing such biased tripe so prominently in a Sunday edition.
Alas, there it was in all its glory, basically talking about a proverbial vast right-wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes (emphasis mine throughout):
Old enemies of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are out in force. Just weeks after she joined the Democratic Party's flock of presidential contenders, Clinton is being targeted by conservative and Republican-allied activists intent on derailing her campaign before the start of next year's primaries.
Hmmm. So, folks in America are actually working to defeat a political candidate.
Oh the humanity!
But that was just the beginning:
They have surfaced with a flurry of planned projects: a Michael Moore-style documentary film, book-length exposes, and websites such as StopHerNow.comand StopHillaryPAC.com.
Conservative admirers of the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth media blitz that helped torpedo Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential candidacy in 2004 are now agitating to "Swift-boat" Clinton.
How charming. Of course, like most articles or news stories that talk about “swift-boating,” this one in no way bothered to disprove what the Swift Vets claimed in their book. In fact, regardless of the new verb created by the left-wing that has become so popular in the media – “to Swift-boat” – no press organization has ever completely refuted all the claims made by these veterans about Sen. John Kerry.
But, truth isn’t important to folks with a political agenda, and certainly wasn’t important to the LA Times on Sunday:
Clinton's foes on the right openly tell their supporters she is a ripe target for a campaign reminiscent of the challenge to Kerry's Vietnam War record.
"Those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were the real heroes of the 2004 election," one online exhortation reads. "We at the StopHillaryPAC want to do the same thing to Hillary."
That group's website, headed by former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.), collected enough early funding to launch a round of negative television ads on Iowa stations timed to Clinton's visit there in late January.
StopHerNow.com mocks her with cartoon skits. And several books marketed as exposes are in the works, in addition to at least six other anti-Clinton books already hawked on conservative talk radio and blogs.
As can be plainly seen, the goal of the piece was to make all these GOP operatives look worse than Islamic terrorists:
Citizens United's chairman is Floyd G. Brown, a GOP media consultant who worked on the 1988 "Willie Horton" ad that blamed Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis for the weekend furlough of a convicted murderer who went on to commit a rape. Democrats charged that the ad exploited racial fears.
Bossie worked with Brown in the 1992 presidential campaign and later served as chief investigator for a House investigation of Clinton administration fundraising scandals. Bossie was fired from that post in 1998 for releasing transcripts of prison conversations involving Hillary Clinton's convicted former law partner, Webster L. Hubbell.
The author continued with his attacks:
"We're doing our own thing," said Dick Collins, a Dallas businessman who gave $135,000 in StopHerNow.comseed money. The site is a spinoff from a PAC originally aimed at Clinton's Senate reelection by New York GOP strategist Arthur Finkelstein.
Collins, who has also donated $10,000 to GOP presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani's political action committee, said the site was starting out with "light humor," featuring Clinton as a cartoon character: the host of an imaginary left-wing talk show.
But he added that the site — now organized, like the Swift-boat group, as a "527" organization that can raise unlimited "soft money" donations — would "try other things."
Collins hopes for financing from heavyweight Texas GOP donors like oilman T. Boone Pickens and Houston real estate developer Robert Perry. Multimillion-dollar donations from the two businessmen underwrote the Swift-boat group's campaign against Kerry.
Yet, maybe even more disgraceful was how the article positioned Hillary as the poor little victim, and any tactics she would use in response to a campaign against her are clear acts of self-defense that are totally justified:
Hillary Clinton's longtime spokesman, Howard Wolfson, dismissed the early GOP moves with characteristic terseness: "One thing people know about the Clintons is they know how to fight back."
When a thinly sourced report from a conservative Web magazine falsely claimed last month that Clinton researchers had uncovered evidence showing that presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) had been educated at an Islamist madrasa in Indonesia, Clinton's team moved swiftly to dismiss the story. Clinton's allies criticize Kerry's response to the 2004 Swift-boat ads as inconsistent and slow. And though Kerry used surrogates to repeatedly counter the attacks, he didn't personally respond until the ads had sown deep doubts among voters.
"She's going to face the same choices," warned one former Kerry aide. "It's not just how fast you respond, it's choosing the right time to unload your big guns."
The article interestingly referenced Clinton’s connection to one of the Media Research Center’s rivals, as well as quoted the head of the MRC. Notice how the MRC was labeled as “conservative” while no descriptor was used to identify the clearly liberal leanings of MMA:
Clinton also reportedly spent lavishly to hire a large team of opposition researchers headed by Judd Legum, previously research director for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank headed by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta.
Clinton allies say she helped launch Podesta's group in 2003 and played a key role in starting Media Matters for America, which describes itself as "monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
Run by David Brock, a former conservative muckraker who once targeted the Clintons and now defends them, Media Matters was a latecomer to the Swift-boat volleys of 2004 but now has a full staff of researchers.
Brock said the emerging conservative efforts targeting Clinton operate as an "organized defamation industry" using "the same tactics in mutually reinforcing ways, often with the same funding, with a vast media echo chamber at their disposal."
L. Brent Bozell III, who heads the conservative Media Research Center, said Brock's group does the same, only as "part of the Clinton machine."
Bozell has more than a passing interest in Clinton's campaign. He is working on his own Clinton book, aiming to expose "media complicity in Hillary's attempted makeover as a centrist."
I’m sure most conservatives will be quite interested in reading this book when it’s done.
Yet, one is clearly left with a sad reality as the nation begins conceivably the longest presidential campaign in its history: despite the media's claims of a vast right-wing conspiracy, it is they that are involved in an organized cabal to do anything possible to assure a Democrat is back in the White House in January 2009.