Campaigns/Elections

Note to Dems: Stop Yapping about Willie Horton and the Swift Boat Vets

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Libertarian Democrat and reason contributor Terry Michael writes thus about the Willie Horton ads against Mike Dukakis and the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry in Politico:

Evil may have lurked in the souls of those GOP operatives, and Democratic consultants may have been constrained by nominees unwilling to dirty their hands. But it wasn't why we lost.

What the Republicans really did was to rope a couple of dopes. That's the lesson Barack Obama should learn from the fate of Dukakis and Kerry. Engage with McCain on things voters care about and talk honestly about what they don't like about Republicans. But don't make excuses about dirty GOP tactics to explain why the electorate rejects Democratic candidates, when what voters really eschew then and now is failure of judgment, lack of common sense and intellectual dishonesty.

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  1. Can’t a few hundred voting machines dumped into the Chicago river, and a few dead voters in Texas, counter most Republican dirty tricks?

  2. Getting Obama to discuss real policy, as opposed to just chanting “Change. Change. Change.” is just a Rovian plot. Keep your eyes on the prize, Barack, and ignore any substantive debate.

  3. Montag, yesterday you said that Obama wants to meet with Hamas and I asked for a link that says that, but one was not provided. Do you have one now?

  4. Where are the scare quotes around “libertarian Democrat” ? Got any “libertarian fascists”, “libertarian communists”, and libertarian absolute monarchists” to go with them?

  5. “Libertarian Democrat” is certainly as valid a label as “libertarian Republican,” at least in my book.
    Of course, that’s not saying much.

  6. what voters really eschew then and now is failure of judgment, lack of common sense and intellectual dishonesty.

    I want to live on that planet. Here on earth we call those ‘qualifications’.

  7. what voters really eschew then and now is failure of judgment, lack of common sense and intellectual dishonesty

    Hmm. If that were really true, we’d have an entirely different slate of candidates for the fall, wouldn’t we? I think if that’s his conclusion, he might want to reexamine his premises.

  8. Hmm. If that were really true, we’d have an entirely different slate of candidates for the fall, wouldn’t we?

    Only if you assume that any of the losing candidates displayed good jugment, common sense, and intellectual honesty.

  9. Only if you assume that any of the losing candidates displayed good jugment, common sense, and intellectual honesty.

    Well, the primary winners certainly don’t display those traits.

  10. There are plenty of reasons libertarians can find themselves more closely allied with democrats than republicans. More personal liberties as opposed to economic ones being a key issue.

    Especially with the rise in neocons within the republican party, which are often the worst of both.

  11. Everybody knows the only reason Hillary didn’t get the nomination is Americans’ misogynistic fear of assertive womyn.

  12. There are plenty of reasons libertarians can find themselves more closely allied with democrats than republicans. More personal liberties as opposed to economic ones being a key issue.

    I think the reason libertarians tend to favor the republicans over the democrats is that the personal liberties that they gain with democrats are more abstract (e.g., if your not gay and/or burdened with an unwanted pregnancy, gay rights and/or abortion rights don’t really affect your day-to-day lives). Whereas the economic liberty that you give up with democrats is felt with every paycheck and everytime you engage in commerse.

  13. I think the reason libertarians favor the Republicans is because the Democrats’ purported support of personal liberties is a farce. Most gay rights legislation, affirmative action legislation, etc. is a violation of our right to choose who we associate with. Prejudice with regards to race, sexual orientation, etc., is personally abhorrent to me, but I don’t see why it should be illegal. Of course, Republicans’ support of economic liberty is also a farce, so that doesn’t provide much in the way of a choice, does it?

  14. Getting Obama to discuss real policy…

    -OBAMA-
    Change we make up as we go along!

  15. Many Libertarians hear “small government” from the mouths of the GOP and they buy it hook line and sinker — and while the GOP is taking a big shit on the constitution and ending civil liberties, libertarians can take solace in the fact that the GOP will cut their taxes and vote against using tax dollars to provide for the have nots.

    Because at the end of the day, Libertarian philosophy is one of selfishness. (And I don’t mean that in a negative or insulting way) — It’s about protecting what is yours. And it isn’t surprising that most people would put their fiscal interests at the top of their priorities list.

  16. John Kerry promised twice to Tim Russert on MTP to release all, ALL, his military records.
    And twice Kerry broke his promises.
    Kerry to this day, has not released all his military records. John O’Neil, who led the campagin against Kerry, has.
    Kerry runs as an “decorated Vietnam Vet” yet doesn’t release all his records. Why?
    Because he is hiding something. Obvious to anyone with a teaspoon full of brains but not a schmuck like Terry Michael.
    How come you don’t know that Michael?

    Nick there is no such thing as a “libertarian democrat”. Why do you let this asshole’s colmuns appear in Reason?

  17. Terry,
    You wouldn’t happen to be one of those fictional “libertarian republicans,” would you?

  18. Sounds like some people around here are still afflicted with the partisan disease…

  19. I agree with the argument, even though I think the Willie Horton ad and the swiftboating business were both foul. Nothing’s going to stop people from using those tactics other than developing counter-tactics that render them ineffective.

    I think this time around, in all likelihood the smears will get totally out of hand and generate a backlash.

  20. Smears have a tendency of working, if deployed correctly and at the proper time. Which is why they will continue to be used by both major parties for the foreseeable future.

    And whining about them never works.

  21. Because at the end of the day, Libertarian philosophy is one of selfishness.

    Not really. Its fundamentally about not taking stuff from other people or interfering in their lives, which is the opposite of selfishness.

    Its not libertarian to say “I’ve got mine, back off, and I can beat you down and take your stuff, too.”

    Its not selfish to treat everyone equally. It is selfish to claim special treatment for yourself.

  22. DannyK wrote, “even though I think the Willie Horton ad and the swiftboating business were both foul.”
    Why do you believe that pointing out Kerry’s lie about his service is “foul” especially when he is running on it?
    What do you think about Kerry not keeping his promises to release all his military records?

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