Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Sunday, December 14, 2003
 
Going Negative

I frankly think the response to the recent anti-Dean ads has been pretty overblown. The ads are certainly negative, but I really don't see them as dirty. There is no misstatement of facts, not even a carefully worded statement that is technically true but misleading. The most controversial ad says that Dean has no foreign policy experience at all and is likely not the best candidate to lead a war against terrorists - and probably not the best to match against George Bush, who most Americans incorrectly believe has been effective at fighting terrorism. All true.

What is untrue are the charges that the ad is "linking Howard Dean to Osama bin Laden", or that it questions "Howard Dean’s commitment to defending America". It simply doesn't say anything of the sort.

What I do object to is these ads being run in secret, with no explanation of who's behind them. This group apparently doesn't have to list its funders until February. Now it takes time to do a comprehensive list of donors, at least if you have a large number. But organizations like this, that don't have large numbers of financial supporters, should tell the public who they are. A 527 or similar group running an ad campaign should be required to reveal all major funding sources, say those who have donated at least 4% of the money, within 24 hours of the first ad running.



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