Nation-Building >> Busted: FEC filings show Kerry, Gephardt backers behind ads linking Dean to bin Laden | return to front page

"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Busted: FEC filings show Kerry, Gephardt backers behind ads linking Dean to bin Laden

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 11, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
The link above goes to the WaPo article describing the coalition who got together to stop Dean and us in Iowa. This is just priceless, folks. The group includes former NJ Senator Robert "Torch" Torricelli, who was ushered from the Senate after he was caught accepting bribes. Torricelli, upon his exit from the Senate in late in 2002, stated he would still be involved in politics via 527 organisations, and lo and behold, he donated $50,000 (link goes to copy of FEC document) to Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Slanderous, er, Progressive Values. Also involved were several unions supporting Dick Gephardt: The International Longshoremen's Association, Laborers International Union and International Association of Machinists, which gave $50,000 each; the International Association of Ironworkers, $25,000; and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, $5,000. Other large contributors include SlimFast foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham and Leo Hindery, who heads up the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network; they both gave $100,000 to stop us. Americans for Jobs & Healthcare took in $663,000 last year and spent $626,840.
When these ads were on the air, we tried to gather as much info as possible about who was behind them (see our archives here and here). At the time, rumors were floating around that Gephardt backers were the major contributors, and a couple of the unions even stepped forward to disavow them (thanks, guys). I think many of us suspected that Kerry had connections to these people, but there was never any hard proof. Now as it stands, this is still an indirect connection, but only because 527s are supposed to act independently of the campaigns. That doesn't mean 527s are independent; just that they are supposed to be. Pardon me, but I don't believe that the entire Kerry campaign was oblivious to the fact that one of their biggest and most powerful fundraisers was part of the stop Dean movement.
While the ad was airing, Joe Trippi publicly called for the other campaigns to disavow this ad, saying:

Democrats are better than this. This type of ad represents everything that is wrong with our political process today -- polluting our airwaves with smears on other candidates that have nothing to do with legitimate policy differences. Ads like this are the reason that less than half of the voting population in America bothers to go to the polls.
We Democrats should be committing ourselves to bringing more people into the process instead of resorting to tactics that cause more people to lose faith in politics altogether. Our campaign is committed to inspiring people to believe in their democracy again -- challenging 2 million people to donate $100 each to take back their country.
Our party must be about more than just changing presidents -- it must be dedicated to changing our country's politics. I hope you'll join me in denouncing this ad and demanding it be pulled from the airwaves immediately.

Does anyone else remember Willie Horton? I equate the OBL ad with the ad used by Bush senior to smear Michael Dukakis in 1988. The common strain is that both ads played on the viewer's fear. Sound familiar? The Bush administration has been playing on our fear of the unknown since September 12, 2001. Why did the our opponents sink to that level? That action really speaks to the real difference between our campaign and the others, which is that we are a campaign of hope, not fear.
I'm sure many of us have been astounded at the level of fearmongering coming from the Bush administration. Is the world a scary place? Yes. Are there "gathering threats"? Sure (hello, North Korea!). But does that mean I have to live my every waking moment holed up in a duct-taped room? Does it mean that I shouldn't go into tall buildings because the "evil" guys might blow me up? Hell no, and a real leader should be able to inspire us to not be afraid in the face of threats, to stand tall against those who'd love to see America fall to ashes, and to be hopeful that we can weather this storm. Howard Dean, from day one, has inspired me and given me hope. I don't fear the future; I embrace it. And for anyone to equate Dean with a world where we live in fear, well, it just goes to show they still don't get it. And shame, shame on them for playing on America's fear.

update: Kos has more on the Kerry connections here. Turns out Kerry's #1 contributor helped fund these ads, and it looks like the Torch may have broken some when he transferred his Senate campaign funds to the 527... Interesting, stuff, folks. Go read the whole thing.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.