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Is Republican Swiftboating Going Out of Style?

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 02:54 PM
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Is Republican Swiftboating Going Out of Style?
Not much faith in McSame out there...

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_stump/archive/2008/0...

Is Republican Swiftboating Going Out of Style?

Jonathan Martin has an interesting piece up about the apparent lack of well-funded GOP 527 groups. He writes:

Conversations with more than a dozen Republican strategists find near unanimity in the belief that, at some point, there will be a real third-party effort aimed at Obama.

But not one knows who will run it, who will pay for it, what shape it will eventually take or when such a group may form.

More worrisome for Republicans who believe such an outside attack apparatus is essential to defeating Obama, some key individuals and groups who were being looked to for help say they wont be involved.

T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman who gave $3 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and who numerous GOP sources said was being looked to as a funding source this year, is sitting the race out.

He is not giving anything to 527s involved in the presidential race this cycle, and has communicated thatto Republican strategists and operatives, said Pickens spokesman Jay Rosser. ...

Also staying out of the third-party effort this time is the powerful Republican public affairs firm, the DCI Group.

DCI ran the independent Progress for America (PFA) campaign that raised $45 million to tout George W. Bush and tar John Kerry in 2004. ...

DCI Group is not and will not be involved in any 527 activity this cycle, said a spokesman for the group, which has a bevy of image-sensitive corporate clients. DCI is out of the business.

Further, Freedoms Watch, the one third-party group that many conservatives expected to step into the void left by PFA, has decided to exclusively focus on congressional battles.

Asked if was still the intent of Freedoms Watch to stay out of the presidential fray, Carl Forti, the groups director, flatly said: Yes.


Jonathan fingers McCain himself for the dearth of anti-Obama 527 activity, noting that, "every individual interviewed for this story cited ... a fear that their partys nominee will publicly denounce them and hold a grudge." But, as Jonathan notes, the McCain campaign has sent permissive signals to potential funders since wrapping up the nomination. He wishes that 527s did not exist on either side, Steve Schmidt, a McCain operative, says in the story. But he understands that they do. And he certainly isnt going to say that one side should have them and one side should not in the context of a presidential campaign.

My own feeling is that this is largely an expression of pragmatism. Granted, there are a lot of rich ideologues out there willing to attack a Democrat regardless of the political fallout. On the other hand, most wealthy Republicans made their money in the corporate world, where the custom is to keep one eye on the bottom line at all times. These guys may be partisans, but they're not stupid. They realize there's a very good chance Obama will be president next year and that he'll enjoy large majorities in Congress. It would be bad for business to provoke the suddenly resurgent Democrats into ruthless acts of vengeance.

--Noam Scheiber
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Thrill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 02:55 PM
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1. They don't need to do much. McCain has the media as his base. Thats worth 100 million right there
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Good point; the m$m is proving to be up to the task. nt
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 02:55 PM
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2. As for Pickens, he has become a huge investor in alternative energy
Business for him will be very, very good in an Obama Administration.

Times change.
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Youphemism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:07 PM
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4. "Style" has nothing to do with it. They hate McCain as much as we do...

They're worried that McCain's winning will force the republican party to move in his direction.

They loathe the guy. They plan to give this election a pass and wait for 2012. They're hoping Obama wins and screws up. They know eight years of Bush incompetence has set up a minefield for the next president to navigate, and they're betting against Obama being able to do it.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:12 PM
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5. This reads like disinformation to me. (nt)
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dsomuah Donating Member (262 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:15 PM
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6. Well so far swiftboat style attacks haven't worked so well
Polling during the primary showed that telling voters about Obama's supposed connections with Ayers, and about the whole Reverend Wright hoopla didn't seem to influence their voting decisions that much, and I think many of the 527s are taking that as a sign that swiftboat-style attacks aren't going to work.

The other thing is that, for a swiftboat style attack to work, you have to be dealing with a poorly funded candidate. One of the reasons swiftboat style attacks worked so well in 2004 is that Kerry wasn't as well funded as George Bush, and didn't have the funds to fight back and defend himself. Not so this year. Obama is much better funded, and will probably go to the airwaves himself to fight back. Donots are pragmatic and aren't going to fund attacks on a candidate who can fight back easily.

The other thing is that this year the dems appear to be preparing for attacks, anticipating attacks, and almost waiting for them to happen and preparing their responses. Obama has already set up a site to respond to attacks. He has also already used snopes.com to dispel a rumor or two, and has also relied on Factcheck.org to dispel rumors as well. It's hard to suprise attack someone who is sitting on their porch with a shotgun accross their lap.

Another thing is that this campaign has shown that attacking a candidate can actually help them in terms of fundraising. When the Clinton campaign was having trouble with fundraising, they raised money by reminding their supporters that people were calling on Clinton to drop out. The emails quoting people calling for Clinton to drop out, angered supporters, especially female supporters, and millions of dollars in donations came in. Now when you are dealing with a candidate who has a support base of 1.5 million supporters, most of whom haven't given the maxiumum amount yet, you don't want to launch some frivolous attack and have the Obama campaign cut and paste that attack into an email and send it to supporters and use it to raise millions of dollars to beat back the attack. Unlike Obama, most of Kerry's supporters were big money donors, and he didn't have the same ability to use attacks on him for fundraising. (He did try tho, I remember getting an email or two from Mary-Beth Cahill).


Plus, this time around, the Repub congressional candidates seem to need it more. The DSCC and DCCC have both raised more money than their republican counterparts and dem congressional candidates will probably be much better funded in this election than they were in 2004 or 2006. The RNC has more money than the DNC, but much of that will have to be used to offset McCain's poor fundraising. The polling numbers are already showing that this will be a terrible year for the republicans in both houses of congress, regardless of presidential election results. The Republican big money donors are being smart and directing their money towards the congressional candidates in a bid to save what few seats they can hold on to in the legislature.

Personally, I expect the swiftboat attacks to come. But I also expect the Obama campaign to be far more prepared for it than Kerry was.
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:17 PM
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7. Not at all, when it's time the swiftboaters - 527's will come out of the woodwork and
the MSM will run nutz because they need to sell popcorn...
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Bake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Yeah, I'm thinking it's too early so far.
I look for the Puke 527s to pop up in the fall.

Bake
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caledesi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. Swftboating Obama? Not this time!
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