Sotomayor Smear Campaign Exposes Current State Of Conservative Movement

As expected, and widely predicted even before the choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court was announced, portions of the right wing have been engaging in their usual politics of personal destruction to distort Sotomayor’s record and engage in character assassination. In this case the right is actually divided. Some conservatives see attacks on Sotomayor as part of their grand strategy for 2012 of painting Obama as a leftist, and many other conservatives  just fall into character assassination as a Pavlovian response to any action from a Democrat.

In contrast, some conservatives realize that it is counter to their goal of receiving greater Hispanic support to someone who is probably the first Hispanic nominee. I wonder if any on the right are also beginning to realize the degree to which their reliance on the politics of personal destruction has backfired, with even many who might not vote against them based upon their beliefs now wishing to disassociate themselves with the Republican Party and conservative movement due to their unsavory tactics.

There is far too much material and too little time to quote everything of relevance here so I will try to choose some of the best links. A case such as this is an example of both the blogosphere at its worst and best. At worst the blogs permit the right wing echo chamber to repeat the same lies and distortions, allowing good conservative sheep to quickly learn which lies to repeat. At best the blogoshpere has quickly presented far more actual analysis than has been present in the news media.

To begin, The Scotus Blog has presented a summary of her decisions in posts here, here, and here. Her decisions have often been on narrow, technical grounds and only provide limited insight into her views on the types of issues considered by the Supreme Court (despite attempts by the right to mischaracterize her as having a far left record ). There are some favorable signs with respect to her views on First Amendment rights.

There are many blog posts responding to the character assassination from the right, such as from Adam Server here and hereJohn Cole, Matthew Yglesias, Digby, Steve Benen, Chris Bowers (here and here), Nate Silver, Greg SargentMedia MattersJoan Walsh, Mahablog, and Ta Nehisi Coates. They include responses to some of the more prominent attacks from the right including distorted claims about her decisions being overturned, claims about her competence,  their rants against empathy, and statements taken out of context to claim she is racist or sexist.

Hopefully these links contain the facts with regards to all the falsehoods already being spread by the right wing noise machine–at least so far. The fiction writing ability of the right far exceeds their competence or principles, and we can expect many more comparable lies to be spread.

While conservatives quickly launched a smear campiagn full of misinformation on Sonia Sotomayor, it looks like it might already be fizzling out. There is no doubt that some right wing bloggers and talk radio propagandists will continue to repeat the same lies indefinitely. Those indocrinated in far right propaganda have a tough time shaking it off regardless of how much evidence is presented that they are wrong.  There are still some who claim that Obama isn’t a natural born American citizen and that there is some validity to the discredited claims of the Swift Boat Liars against John Kerry. There are also some signs of rationality as some conservatives realize that, barring some unexpected revelations, none of their false claims will be enough to prevent Sotomayor’s nomination from being approved.

The right wing attacks have been based on limited and distorted evidence and are so weak that even some conservatives are not able to go along. Some such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are making claims that she is a racist–a claim which certainely takes a lot of chutzpah considering the record of the GOP. These claims were based upon taking a few lines out of context from a lecture given in 2001. The simple fact that claims of racism are based upon a single lecture from almost eight years ago should already raise some red flags as to the validity of the argument. Rod Dreher reviewed the statements which earlier had him thinking she was racist in context and conceded,  I was wrong about Sotomayor speech.

They have made an even weaker argument in dishonest claims that sixty percent of her cases were overturned by the Supreme Court. This argument is so deceitful that it might help open a few more eyes as to the dishonest tactics regularly employed by the right wing noise machine. They leave out the important facts that she only had five cases reviewed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court typically reverses 75% of circuit court decisions that rules on. Having three cases reversed is hardly meaningful. This actually represents 2% of her total cases, far less than the 60% number misleadingly cited by the right.

The attackers also claimed that Sotomayor has a far more liberal record than she actually has. Her decisions have offen been based upon narrow technical grounds specific to the individual case  as opposed to ideology. The conservatives who have actually looked at her record are finding that she is far more centrist and far less ideological than they first heard. She has a very limited record with regards to abortion, and opponents of abortion rights found that her record was not what they expected. Steven Waldman wrote:

One has to assume Obama wouldn’t have appointed Sonia Sotomayor without some indication that she’s pro-choice but — based on very, very little information — I wonder if she might not end up being an abortion centrist.

First, in Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, she actually ruled against the pro-choice group on Constitutional grounds.

Second, in Amnesty America v. Town of West Hartford, she ruled in favor of the rights of anti-abortion protestors.

Neither of these cases dealt with the merits of abortion. Nonetheless, it’s interesting that in the two cases we know of that related partly to abortion, she took the position that pro-life groups would have wanted (albeit for reasons unrelated to Roe v. Wade). At a minimum, these cases would seem to indicate that, if she is pro-choice, she didn’t let those views affect her view of the relevant law.

While some bloggers and right wing pundits will repeat any attack, the arguments are appearing to be too weak even for the Senate Republicans. Mike Allen reports that any Republican opposition to her is fizzling out quickly:

More than 24 hours after the White House unveiling, no senator has come out in opposition to Sotomayor’s confirmation.

“The sentiment is overwhelming that the Senate should do due diligence but should not make a mountain out of a molehill,” said a top Senate Republican aide. “If there’s no ‘there’ there, we shouldn’t try to create one.”

So far there is certainly no ‘there’ there in the accusations being fabricated by the right. The attacks upon Sotomayor are so weak, and so transparently false, that if they have any impact it should be to increase the backlash against the Republicans. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for the Republicans to raise charges of racism against others and only their most hardcore supporters can even listen to such claims without chuckling at them. Maybe Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice is on to something and their attacks are being orchestrated by a mole out to further destroy the Republican Party:

In instance after instance since Obama’s 2008 election and the Democratic sweep of Congress, the GOP is proving itself to be not so much “stuck on stupid” as much as “stuck on preaching to its (already convinced) choir.” It seems oblivious to the fact that OTHER voters — from critically important ethnic and age demographics — need to be courted which means being at least partially on the same cultural wavelength. Today’s Republican party is seemingly Super-glued to the slash-and-burn, characterize and demonize conservative talk radio political culture.

It’s hard to imagine that a party that has problems with independent voters and Latino voters so going out of its way to repel voters it needs, unless there is a Democratic mole inside the GOP instigating these comments.

Calling her a racist will get lots of publicity but it’s going to drive many Hispanic voters away in droves. And so will the faces delivering this message: the well-fed, sizeable face of multi-millionaire private- jet-owner Limbaugh, sitting in front of his mike, and the very familiar face of Gingrich. Many Americans (who are not millionaires or who aren’t conservative Republicans) will look at and compare the two GOPers’ life narratives with that of Sotomayor. Even worse: many independent voters, Democrats who may not be enamored with Obama, and moderate Republicans have already distanced themselves from the GOP. This latest barrage at Sotomayor now clearly is part of a pattern: no matter what the issue, the GOP is responding now with demonization in attempts to stir up hot button resentments and/or political rage.

And even worse for the GOP: its unlikely to resonate among the younger voters the GOP will need to regain footing in the 21st century.

So, except for getting nods of approval and cries of “That’s the way, go get ‘em!” from Republicans, what gains will Republicans (via talk shows, Gingrich and weblogs) make in accusing Sotomayor of being a racist — except, rightfully or wrongfully, causing some on the fence to conclude that those Republicans raising the racism issue could perhaps be mistakenly talking about what they are seeing when they look in the mirror?

A mole might be the most rational explanation for the manner in which the Republicans persist in utilizing tactics which drive away rational voters, but unfortunately what we are seeing is the actual mindset of the conservative movement.

Barring any unexpected findings she will be easily confirmed. The manner of the right wing attacks are now one of the most  significant aspects of this story, considering that any pick would have been subjected to similar lies from the right wing. Their distortion of her judicial record is very similar to how the right typically distorts voting records, such as taking an up or down vote on an overall budget and then launching attacks based upon saying a Senator voted for or against a specific item in the budget.

In a democracy  it is an extremely serious issue when votes are being influenced not by the actual facts or serious discussion over different viewpoints but based upon repeated campaigns of distortion such as this. It is important for a democracy to work for the voters to be working from accurate information, not the misinformation regularly spread by the right. It would be both legitimate and healthy for the democratic process if conservatives responded to a nominee with an honest discussion of the areas where they disagreed. Instead they ignore her actual record, as they also do with political candidates, and launch attacks based upon fabrications created by distortions of the record and taking statements out of context.


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Can you review

how Obama handled the Alito and Roberts nominations when he was a senator?

It is laughable that a shill like you would lecture "the right" on the subject of Supreme Court nominees.

You look ridiculous with this entire argument. What if "the right" modeled their behaivior after Obama's? You were no doubt cheering him and his cronies on when they were trying to torpedo Alito and Roberts, but now, sensing that the shoe is on the other foot, you beg for "fairness" and "reason". You disgust me.

Rest assured that "the right" will do their job with much more class and dignity than Obama and company did. Don't assume that they will be as shrill and partesan and downright unfair as he was.

One person who doesn't appreciate all that comes with that ritual -- the to-the-barricades rhetoric, the unforgiving ideological stamping of the nominees, the often overheated attention to hot-button issues -- is a former Democratic senator who spoke of his dislikes almost four years ago in the midst of the confirmation debate over now-Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

This former senator chastised liberal advocacy groups for attacking the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who had decided to support Roberts's confirmation. He also accused groups on both the left and right of taking an "unyielding, unbending, dogmatic approach" that had created "a poisonous atmosphere" when it came to judicial nominations.

"These groups on the right and left should not resort to the sort of broad-brush dogmatic attacks that have hampered the process in the past and constrained each and every senator in his chamber from making sure that they are voting on the basis of their conscience," he said.

That former senator was Barack Obama, who then turned around and voted with those liberal advocacy groups in opposing the Roberts nomination. He was just one of 22 senators (all Democrats) to vote no. For a politician with national aspirations, the vote made perfect political sense. But it also seemed to contradict much of what Obama the politician had projected in his then-brief time on the national stage, which was a call to bring the country together, to diminish polarization, to dampen rampant partisanship.

Don't assume the GOP will act as irresponsibly as Obama and the left.

yeah. Obama stood up for fucking Liberman

and his crew that said "just let them pass".

Roberts was one thing... alito a very different can of worms.


And yes, it's all politics

  Lonestar Bill shows the


Lonestar Bill shows the disturbing mindset of many on the right to launch into attacks without any regard for the facts, and prove my point that some on the right will reflexively continue to support such tactics. I would criticize unfair attacks from the left as well as the right. The difference is that while some individual liberal bloggers might make attacks as bad as those from the right we don’t see the type of widespread orchestrated attacks based upon misinformation as we see from the right.

I am being entirely consistent. In the past I never attacked either Alito or Roberts as the right is attacking Sotomayor. I primarily looked at objective information to try to get a sense of what type of judge they would be. Despite ideological disagreements, I had praise for Roberts for his intellect (while conservatives are now raising bogus attacks on Sotomayor’s competence). I even thought Roberts might turn out to be more in the mode of Sandra Day O’Connor and preferable to many other potential Bush nominees.

This poster ignore the important distinction between legitimate disagreement on issues and engaging in the politics of personal destruction. As I noted in the post, “It would be both legitimate and healthy for the democratic process if conservatives responded to a nominee with an honest discussion of the areas where they disagreed. Instead they ignore her actual record, as they also do with political candidates, and launch attacks based upon fabrications created by distortions of the record and taking statements out of context.” Disagreeing with Roberts and Alitio, as with Sotomayor, is legitimate political discourse.

Obama also took an appropriate course. He opposed those who created “a poisonous atmosphere” which is quite different to what conservatives are doing in creating such an atmosphere. It is perfectly consistent to oppose unfair attacks while still opposing the nominations on ideological grounds.

Actually Jai Ho Tide

Lonestar Bill shows the disturbing mindset of many on the right to launch into attacks without any regard for the facts, and prove my point that some on the right will reflexively continue to support such tactics.

And with that you launch into an attack on me for "supporting such tactics".

I have not attacked this nominee and in fact have said on another thread that Limbaugh and Gingrich are wrong on this one. I would like to have two questions answered, neither of which disqualify her.

Perhaps you need to explore your own tendency to attack reflexivley. I was saying that Obama was inconsistent. That is my opinion. The "unfair attacks" you refer to are coming from non office holders. You will not see many (if any) current senators from either party dump harsh criticism on Sotomayor.

But, you and those like you take the words of talk show hosts and commentators and project them onto the GOP. It is intellectually dishonest, and you know it.

I have not attacked this

I have not attacked this nominee and in fact have said on another thread that Limbaugh and Gingrich are wrong on this one. I would like to have two questions answered, neither of which disqualify her.

What two questions are you refering to?

Here you go

1) What did you mean in your comments several years ago that seem to indicate you support "legislating from the bench"?

2) you are a member of la Raza. Why? And does being a member of this group affect your ability to be impartial on matters of immigration, etc?

I expect that her answers will not be bombshells.

Bottom line-she is qualified. Unless she ends up having a tax problem or something that didn't come up in her vetting, she's in. Not to say that she should not be asked hard questions by both parties.

Under the general heading of "double edge sword" look whose getting nervous . .  .

Now, some abortion rights advocates are quietly expressing unease that Judge Sotomayor may not be a reliable vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision. In a letter, Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, urged supporters to press senators to demand that Judge Sotomayor reveal her views on privacy rights before any confirmation vote.


But Lonestar, the very, very

But Lonestar, the very, very sad fact of the matter is who the general public is 'hearing from' on behalf of the Right in terms of the Sotomayor nomination.  Who is getting the airtime on this?  Rush and Newt.  Not Mitch McConnell, not John McCain or even Jeff Sessions.  It's the shrill, bombastic defacto 'spokespeople' of talk radio and the opportunistic Newt Gingrich -- all screeching that she's a racist, using a talking point easily exposed as an out-of-context quote that completely mischaracterizes the nature of what she was saying. 

But, you and those like you take the words of talk show hosts and commentators and project them onto the GOP. It is intellectually dishonest, and you know it.

I don't disagree that the writer is projecting the words of Limbaugh and Gingrich onto the GOP.  Intellectually dishonest, maybe.  But as a practical matter, isn't that what the talk radioheads get the big bucks to do?  It's abominable that the GOP has backed itself into that corner, but unless they find a voice to compete with the likes of Limbaugh and his ilk, there is no reason for the average person not to hear them and believe they speak for the GOP, because they have the biggest megaphones and right now they're the only ones using it.  They drown out everything else for the average person.

Apologizing to El Rushbo makes him look like a leader

I'll believe El Rushbo doesn't speak for the GOP when republicans in DC don't feel the need to apologize for criticizing him.



Apparently so, for the GOP


 After reading wingnut Eric Erickson's latest post with Biblical references regarding the lack of unity among the conservatives, Ben Smith wonders "Not to stretch what is perhaps a more nuanced point ... but if movement soldiers are Peter, does that make Rush Jesus?" 

But this has been sanctioned by the Obama administration

“I was a little surprised [at] the speed with which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC, apologized to the head of the Republican Party,” Gibbs said.

On Monday, Gibbs challenged reporters to ask Republicans if they agree with Limbaugh's comments that he wants President Obama to fail.

So Robert Gibbs, spokesman for the Obama administration, says that "Limbaugh is the head of the Republican Party", knowing that the liberal press would run with it. It was brilliant Carville craftsmanship. So the GOP had some help "backing themselves into this corner". And I will call it out whenever I see it in my little corner of the world.

Talk radio people are unconstrained by political reality. Much like Al Gore and Michael Moore can say whatever they want without facing and political consequences.

The challenge for the GOP is to get back to this dynamic. The left wing has been successful in linking Limbaugh comment to Republican policy with a big assist from Obama and Gibbs. It won't last forever. Long term, this will begin to look more petty than amusing for the administration. And leaders will emerge.

of course there's a link

There's a link only because people in DC who are supposed to lead, apologize for criticizing El Rushbo. They also go on all the radio talk shows and give the required boilerplate.

I hate to say it, but Gibb's quip didn't deserve to work

nearly this well. It deserved to be met with raucous laughter, whenever put to a politician or other conservative.

Possibly to be followed with "I am my own man, I make my own decisions, but here's a list of guys that I respect"

Um, Gibbs was commenting

Um, Gibbs was commenting after the fact -- Steele apologized to Rush before the Gibbs comment.  Not surpising the Obama administration is all for sanctioning such insanity in the GOP but no Dem marched Steele to El Rushbo's studio to apologize.  He and the others did that all on their own.  Yes, the GOP had help from Gibbs in finding that corner, but GIbbs wouldn't have had an opportunity if Steele hadn't crawled for Rush's forgiveness.  And for what?  Expressing his honest opinion?

Yes, talk radioheads are unconstrained by political reality (nor should they be -- their job is to make profits for the station owners and usually, the more outrageous the better for ratings).  That's why it's insane that GOP leaders can't challenge them on any aspect of their outrageousness. 

I also hope a leader will emerge.  And that it happens very soon, before Cheney, Limbaugh and Gingrich are cemented in public perception as the party leaders.

Obama is the king of unintended consequences

I can't help but think that this whole thing may boomerang on hiim someday. 60% approval ratiings don't last and Rush has 15 hours of airtime every week to fill.

And while Gibbs may tire of the sparring, Rush will not.

Rush serves them well now, but they won't be able to make him go away on cue.

I do not discount the GOP's culpability in getting themselves into this position. Steele played right into their hands. it was hard to watch.

something tells me Ike had decent approval ratings

just a hunch, mind. And I know that FDR did, if not nearly as high as during his first 100 days...

The thing is? Do you really think listening to Rush calling Sotomayor a racist is going to convince anyone to want to belong to the GOP?

Rush is ... bombastic. America doesn't like bombastic -- particularly out of politicians, but just in general (very fun to contrast Japanese Simpsons with Spanish Simpsons with the English Version from America).

I think if Rush actually acted like a statesman (no matter what he said), he'd get a lot more credibility, just like Buckley did.

If you are looking for me to defend Rush

you've come to the wrong guy.

I think he provides some insight, but is mostly an entertainer.

I think he makes more money being controversial. This whole episode has helped his ratings because now liberals are listening to hear what he says next. I think he has racheted up the rhetoric to keep them on the hook.


The problem is many people take El Rushbo at face value

Of course they apologize. They are hit with a deluge of phone calls and e-mails threatening everything from voting for a primary opponent to cutting off donations. They're too fearful to stick to their guns.

The role of talk radio has built up tens of millions of people woefully misinformed and ginned up into a fringe political movement that serves to hang a noose around the GOP. You see it from the many people on this site who deride liberals for being too far left but don't see the problem with moving too far right. Remember, republicans lose elections because they aren't conservative enough, not because they alienated indies and moderates.

As I've said before, El Rushbo is a tremendous political force in the GOP, and until people fight against it, he'll continue to be a popular anvil that sinks the GOP from within.

Jai Ho Tide-You are the one who is smearing the GOP

Here are comments from elected officials of the GOP. You know, the ones with votes:

Speaking about the Limbaugh/Gingrich comments:

"I think it's terrible. This is not the kind of tone that any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told National Public Radio on  Thursday.

"Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials," Cornyn said. "I just don't think it's appropriate and I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told CNN that he disagrees with Gingrich.

"Frankly, I think it is a little premature and early, because she hasn't had a chance to explain some of these comments that she has made," Hatch said. 

"I think we have to be fair. I think we have to do what is normally done, and that is scrutinize the record, look at the opinions, the unwritten opinions, the articles, the speeches, the various comments that have been made and so forth, and do it fairly."

In her Wall Street Journal column on Friday, conservative commentator Peggy Noonan panned Gingrich for twittering that Sotomayor should withdraw because a white judicial nominee would have to if he made a similar statement on race.

"Does anyone believe that?" Noonan wrote. "[Gingrich] should rest his dancing thumbs, stop trying to position himself as the choice and voice of the base in 2012, and think."

How stupid you must feel JHT!

Never be afraid to mix in a few facts ,sport. It will give you credibility. Like I said, the GOP will handle this with class, unlike what Kennedy did to Bork.

Lonestar dude, you have some real projection & cognition issues


You say that no republican 'elected official' smeared Sotomayor therefore your(JHT's) whole argument is flawed, whereas you also argued that Obama campaign was dishonest because of the smears on Palin. Thereby you expose your hypocrisy  in not taking into consideration that Obama campaign did not make those attacks on Palin. Now you quote Cornyn, hasn't this equivalent Obama quote I posted in reponse to your comment in this thread enter into your tonedeaf head?

It seems you are interested in 'winning' arguments more than anything,  your "no-elected official-smeared" argument is weak given the blogpost is about conservatives as a whole, and "obama-campaign-smeared-Palin/pregnancy" is false.  

Is this all about childish ad homs you like to indulge in, when you have nothing to argue about?


Here is what this is about

As expected, and widely predicted even before the choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court was announced, portions of the right wing have been engaging in their usual politics of personal destruction to distort Sotomayor’s record and engage in character assassination.

Personal destruction is a left wing concept, not a right wing concept. The left (note carefully I am not saying the Obama campaign) smeared this woman and her family ruthlessly. And I'm not a real  big Sarah Palin fan.

But the absolute hypocrisy of the statement above, as if  the "politics of personal destruction" are owned by the right is sickening, after what we saw last fall. And after watching what Bork and Thomas went through on their nominations . . .it takes hudzpa to make the claim above.

I disagree with Limbaugh/Gingrich on this issue. But saying that the candidate has made racially insensitive remarks (and she has) is hardly "politics of personal destruction".

So I am calling it out. You can engage in your name calling if you want.

So you just wanted an excuse to insult,


as JHT wrote in this thread, you are a good example of person on a mission who doesn't mind making intellectually dishonest attacks as long as you have a sense of superiorty over your opponent, who apparently is clearly wrong.

Seriously, I guess it all depends on your viewpoint

To me, he is making the intellectually dishonest argument by taking a couple of talking heads and projecting them into a representative view of the right.

Where have i been intellectually dishonest? The left smeared Palin. Period. And I did not say it was coming directly from Obama. It did come from elements within the Obama campaign though, as well as the talking heads and  blogs, and to say or believe otherwise is naive or intellectually dishonest. I think there was a lot of mudslinging in the last campaign, and for either side to claim the moral highground is laughable.

If one wants to say "the right is engaged in the politics of personal destruction" as far as Sotomayor goes, that is an intellectually dishonest claim and in my view must be challenged.

Now, that is as serious and non snarky as I can be on this issue.

In the meantime, I've been supportive of hearing what Sotomayor has to say, and I think she can and shoulod be confirmed.

JHT(and others) argued the points that you already made,


So I don't think I need to repeat them. (Of perceptions and false equivalences.) By intellectually dishonest attacks, in this particular instance, I meant the insults  you made against JHT, based on the Cornyn statement, as if you just found the magic bullet (that you know you always had in your pocket) and suddenly the critics-of-conservatives' nightmares came true.

You are probably reading more into it than I intend

Although I did say that the sitting GOP senators would handle this with class before they went public last night, thats not the point.

I'm just saying there was no "right wing smear". The "right wing" is more like the Keystone Cops than anything else right now, so to say the "the right wing has cranked up the smear machine" is foolish. If the post had been titled: "Gingrich and Limbaugh play the race card against Sotomayor" I would not have reacted the way I did.

And  to imply that the left wing is incapable of cranking up a devestating smear machine is dishonest.

Oops . . .look at that. Its cocktail hour in Texas.



LB, BTW, JHT anticipated this in his blogpost about Senate Rs


While some bloggers and right wing pundits will repeat any attack, the arguments are appearing to be too weak even for the Senate Republicans. Mike Allen reports that any Republican opposition to her is fizzling out quickly: [--JHT]

Now, you must be feeling very not-stupid after Cornyn's remarks, no? 

Don't project it.


  I have read the links to


I have read the links to all the cases I could find posted.  I’m glad Rod Dreher said it first, it makes it easier for me to come out and say the same thing.  I was wrong, more specifically I drank a big gulp of spin without realizing it was spin.  It made me drunk with anger.  Although I don’t use alcohol nor have I ever been drunk,  I think I may know somewhat how it feels to wake up feeling quite foolish from a night of intoxication.   While not excusing my own error in judging too quickly, I’ll just try to save some face by stating I firmly believe there is no monopoly on spin by just one political party.

second this. spin is allpervasive.

Just remember that self-righteousness is addictive. ;-)

  All political parties


All political parties engage in spin but not to the degree to which the Republicans engage in this type of attack on a regular basis.


How does one measure “the degree” of  spin? I seem to remember attacks on SC nominees Bork and Thomas were pretty extensive.  Organized religion’s cancerous effect on pretty much everything, perhaps, but compared to what? What country, society, or culture doesn’t have organized religion?  They have been somewhat limited in some dictatorships, but nothing really astonding that I can see anywhere.   I loved the line by Robin Williams in a movie where he says all these people against same-sex marriage go home and have the same sex all the time.  My concern is really only with definitions on this.  It may seem trivial, I mean, we already say things like: that person is married to his/her work, and such, but there seems to be some, but little opposition to “civil unions” the opposition comes to the change in the meaning of the word marriage.  I “feel” it too, although I can’t fully explain it.  Perhaps if one were to “sweeten” the deal by offering single person marriage also.  Meaning one could marry him or herself and then file taxes as “married filing jointly” thus giving a tax break to more people, I could embrace it more quickly.

The attacks on Bork were

The attacks on Bork were quite different both as Bork had a record of an extremist and deserved criticism for his record. There was also ideological opposition to Roberts but we did not see the type of distortions of his record and statements as we are seeing with Sotomayor.

I’m not concerned with spin as I am with the politics of personal destruction and blatantly dishonest distortions of the facts. This is done on a far more regular and organized basis by the right. Both the Bush 2004 and McCain 2008 campaigns were based upon gross distortions of the facts about Kerry and Obama. In contrast, there was certainly some spin from the Kerry and Obama campaigns but by political standards both ran very fair and honest campaigns.

Campaigns based upon distortions have become standard procedure by the right. See, for example, Blinded by the Right by David Brock for an account of one conservative who ultimately realized the degree to which he was being misled by conservative propaganda techniques.

You have got to be kidding???!!!!

Both the Bush 2004 and McCain 2008 campaigns were based upon gross distortions of the facts about Kerry and Obama. In contrast, there was certainly some spin from the Kerry and Obama campaigns but by political standards both ran very fair and honest campaigns.

Have you ever heard of Sarah Palin?

Have you ever heard of Sarah Palin's daughter?

Have you ever heard that Sarah Palin's daughter is actually her grand daughter?

Have you ever heard that Sarah Palin can't find Africa on a map?

Have you ever heard about Sarah Palin's clothes?

Don't go driving around until you get that tunnel vision fixed. Whew!

The McCain girls PALE in comparison

to asserting to Jewish people in my Blasted Neighborhood that Obama is anti-Israel.

Let's just say that there's a reason most obama stickers in my neighborhood are in hebrew!

McCain ran THE dirtiest, slimiest campaign that I've had the pleasure to witness. He dogwhistled Obama as Anti-Christ!

Let ALONE that crazy girl with the Backwards B (note: that wasn't McCain's fault. mostly).

McCain was the recipient of someone calling Obama a traitor -- that's the type of people he was attracting to his town halls (McCain later claims that he thought he misheard the person... though the man is a liar, I see only moderate reason to doubt his word)


The part about Sarah's Clothes was actual research, and aided and abetted by republican donors. I'll agree that Sarah got hit with slime from both Republicans and Democrats -- "Oh you can't say that about her because she's a woman"... I'm sorry, that may play well in the patrician parts of the South, but around here, that's just patronizing. I remember Sarah -- a woman whose ambition overwhelmed her common sense.

And on behalf of daily kos, I'd just like to apologize for the whole "granddaughter is daughter" thing. It took a bunch of facts, and tied them together with a rather salacious rumor. Not exactly one of Daily Kos' finer moments (do understand, that when this happens, it's generally corrected reasonably soon afterwards with a "Recommended Diary is a SCAM" diary that also gets recommended -- it's a bit of a drawback to the commenting system).

Other fun things about sarah that people didn't bother to mention: She went to a strange church, trucked with Jews for Jesus, actively participated in a witchhunt while mayor (to drive a Jamaican woman out of Wasilla), sent her husband as a stalker for her sister's exhusband, forced women to pay for their own rape kits, and let her husband shoot deer on her permit.

There's a reason we don't elect people from West Virginia or Alaska to higher office. Small states get kinda screwy, particularly when they're poor. (I'd say the same about Murtha's district! thank god he's got someone against him in the primary!)

Obama IS anti-Israel

Two words: Rashid Khalidi.

Furthermore, did you see his remarks with Abbas today?

you mean the guy John McCain funded?

John McCain pointed out that he had served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI) during the 1990s which provided grants worth $500,000 to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. which was co-founded by Khalidi, for the purpose of polling the views of the Palestinian people.

tch. I guess John McCain is anti-Israel too. (for what it's worth, the guy doesn't seem too objectionable to me. but then again, I'm the one who's Jewish)

Anonymous poster on a site isn't an official campaign smear

What person from the Obama campaign made those assertions? Jai Ho Tide was referring to actual distortions committed by the Bush and McCain campaigns.

Nobody from the Obama campaign made those assertions or ran an ad claiming those things.

Don't confuse anonymous posters on websites with offical campaigns.

Lonestar Bill, Tunnel vision?

Lonestar Bill,

Tunnel vision? It looks like you are clearly the one with the problem.

“Have you ever heard of Sarah Palin?”

Yes, she was a VP choice who was uniquely unqualified. The criticism of her was based upon factual information and the criticism was unique to her. In contrast the right would be reacting in this manner regardless of who the Supreme Court pick was.

“Have you ever heard of Sarah Palin’s daughter?”

Yes. Are you denying that she was pregnant? This wasn’t very relevant and most liberals didn’t make a big issue out of this (as the popular press did for the scandal value) but as it is true it is hardly analogous to the attacks on Sotomayor.

“Have you ever heard that Sarah Palin’s daughter is actually her grand daughter?”

Yes, I heard this claim--from a conservative blogger.

“Have you ever heard that Sarah Palin can’t find Africa on a map?”

You got this one mixed up a bit. The issue was that in a statement she actually made she sounded like she thought Africa was a country. This was brought up by Carl Cameron, a reporter for the conservative Fox News. It was the McCain people who blasted her on this when they became disenchanted with her.

“Have you ever heard about Sarah Palin’s clothes?”

Yes--another true story. The story was also largely driven by Republican criticism of Palin over this.

I guess Fact Check made this up

We’ve been flooded for the past few days with queries about dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain’s running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that many are completely false, or misleading.


nope. but that's a far cry from Obama starting the rumors.

I knew a few folks who worked in mccain's campaign. dirty dirty dirty.

News Flash

All campaigns are ugly.

And the democrats do not have the high ground on "running a clean campaign".

I can't believe that anyone would believe that Palin wasn't attacked mercilessly while Biden was let off scott free.

We now have let the crazy uncle in the attic become VP. The man is dumber than a box of rocks, and a liability to Obama,  but Palin gets skewered.

Biden? Dumb? the man has a wit like a stiletto.

Nobody in Washington thinks he's DUMB. he doesn't get invited to cocktail parties because he's an asshole, that's all (no, I don't believe he goes home every night because he WANTS to.)

Yeah, Palin got picked on a hell of a lot more than Biden did. That's cause people knew Biden, and considered him boring.

Biden's about the best man in terms of foreign policy. He's met all the leaders, and brings a lot of ideas and cred (remember, he wanted to split Iraq up in three pieces).

The other thing about Biden is that like LBJ (Mr. "I never trust a man unless I have his pecker in my pocket") he knows where the bodies are buried. He may not be terribly good at USING that information... but ain't that what Rahmbo is for?

I do agree that, in a perfect non-political world, Biden wasn't the best choice (I'd have gone with General Clark, but I'm a big time fan of his, and I know people who have worked for him).

Who would you have chosen for Obama?

You will laugh

but probably Hillary. Though that would have creted too many problems for him as a practical matter. So maybe an Evan Bayh.

I wish he would have selected

I wish he would have selected Evan Bayh as well. Would have gotten him out of the Senate.

yeah, I think Hillary would have made a fantastic choice

(though they would have made something out of Bill's philandering, I'm sure).

But I am really head over heels for her at Secretary of State! That has to be the best job EVER to have given Hillary Clinton. I can tell, even just looking at the pictures, exactly how quick a study she is.

didn't try to say that they did. just commenting that

McCain's was really really slimeball dirty. In your opinion, who do you think has run the dirtiest Democratic campaign? (LBJ against Goldwater is what's entering my brain)

  Sure there were internet


Sure there were internet rumors. There always are--but they did not come from the Obama campaign. You can’t equate dishonest campaigning from McCain (while Obama was running a clean campaign) with internet attacks which had nothing to do with the campaign.

Biden tends to make verbal gaffes (which is well known) but there is no comparison between him and Palin. has many interesting articles

If Lonestar Bill actually paid attention to more than what he wanted to fit his argument, he would have seen how many campaign smears debunked that came from the McCain campaign. as well.

Oh Please

Fit my argument. Look in the mirror!

You are breathing your own fumes at this point.


My old and cynical brain really perks up when you write “but they did not come from the Obama campaign”.   That is a statement with no verifiability.

The power of fast-moving Internet memes is leading to a glorious expansion of dirty tricks.   Big fun.

Nobody really thinks all that

Nobody really thinks all that crap on the internet came from the Obama campaign. To say there is no verifiability is to assume guilt with absolutely no evidence.

There was really no need for Obama to engage in this. The types of things in the internet smears did not help him. There were plenty of real arguments without the need to bother with things which were easily disproven.

Don't deny you choose what suits you

If you're going to accuse the Obama campaign, have some type of evidence. If you have none, your suspicions are baseless.

Like I said, clueless conservatives like Lonestar Bill should go through that website to get the whole story.

They ding Obama on certain ads for fact stretching, but nothing to the extent of the Acorn accusations and William Ayres smears. They even tried to smear him with Rashid Kalidi even though McCain was on a board that donated a half million dollars to Kalidi.

Obama could have went way down in the weeds as well, like McCain's ties to a radical organization with extremist views. But he never went there.