Democrat smear campaigns

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On March 4, 2004, Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke opined that Democrat smear campaigns lead in U.S. presidential election, 2004. [1]

According to Kondracke, "It's conventional wisdom now that this may be one of the nastiest presidential campaigns ever. But those keeping score should observe that, right now, the muddy epithets thrown at President Bush outweigh those thrown at Democrats by tons."

Kondracke continues by saying that "That's not the way things are being reported, though. The media seem to be uncritically accepting the Democratic charge that any criticism of Sen. John Kerry's, D-Mass., public record is 'sliming' or 'smearing.'

"But for months now," he writes, "Democrats have accused Bush of being a 'liar' who 'misled' or 'deceived' the nation into the Iraq war; a 'usurper' who 'stole' the 2000 election in Florida; 'a right-wing extremist' on tax, social and foreign policy; and a 'menace to the nation's basic liberties,' owing to his employment of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"Former Vice President Al Gore said Bush had 'betrayed' the country in Iraq. No major Democrat said afterward that Gore had gone too far.

"Democrats claim that Republicans either have questioned or will question their patriotism in this campaign, but actually the only accusations of lacking patriotism have come from Democrats.

"Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., when he was a candidate, said that Bush's Iraq policy was 'anti-patriotic at the core.' Last September, Kerry said that Bush 'lives out a creed of greed for he and his friends' and that it was 'unpatriotic' for Bush's 'friends' (i.e., corporate executives) to move jobs offshore. It was a regular staple of retired Gen. Wesley Kanne Clark's campaign to say that Bush's policies were 'not patriotic.'

"Howard Dean, when he was a candidate, charged that Ashcroft 'is no patriot. He's a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy.'"

"Besides that," Kondracke concludes, "no Republican of any stature has yet thrown what could even remotely be described as a low blow. If that changes, I'll scream. But so far, if anyone's 'sliming,' it's Democrats. And the media should call them on it."

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