Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Monday, April 05, 2004


A storm broke out in the blogosphere earlier this week when Mark Zuniga, aka Kos, made an honest and emotional comment, without taking into account the fact that – with 90,000+ visitors a day – he is now a public figure. Stirling Newberry over at BOPNews has an excellent account; the comment thread gives a nice picture of the range of reactions (including a visit from winger comment-troll Ricky Vandal, who seemed to think that, by criticizing for-profit rent-a-SEALs, Kos was “with the terrorists”).

Among the consequences of the storm were Democratic advertisers pulling their ads from Kos’s site, and the John Kerry campaign removing their link to Kos’s site.

Which brings us to this morning. Billmon takes the Kerry campaign to task, finding in their reaction just another example of a less-than-heartening pattern of “duck-and-cover:”

But if kos is entitled to his opinion, the weenies on the Kerry campaign blog are also entitled to theirs. And if they want to publicly renounce and denounce someone who has worked tirelessly to support the Democratic Party and help it develops roots on the web -- well, I can't say I'm surprised. We all know how Democrats form their firing squads.

I understand the political realities. Running for president is a lot like playing the stock market -- nobody's going to give you a medal for courage. But it's awfully hard to stomach that little display of cowardice when it's coupled with such shameless war whoring as this:

“Americans know that all who serve in Iraq - soldier and civilian alike - do so in an effort to build a better future for Iraqis. These horrific attacks remind us of the viciousness of the enemies of Iraq's future. United in sadness, we are also united in our resolve that these enemies will not prevail."

Now this little wad of rhetorical bullshit would not sound at all unnatural issuing from the piehole of a neocon apparatchik like Paul Wolfowitz -- or typed up in a Halliburton press release. It willfully ignores everything we've learned over the past year about the reasons we went to war in Iraq, glosses over the gross incompetence with which the war has been managed, studiously avoids any mention of the internal conflicts that are now tearing Iraq apart, and gives the administration full credit for desiring only to "build a better future" for the Iraqi people.

Am I the only one who finds this incredibly ironic? That John Kerry, who launched his political career as an angry veteran protesting a disastrous, unwinnable war, is now a presidential candidate glibly endorsing a disastrous, unwinnable war?

Well said. We all know how Democrats form their firing squads. The Kerry campaign could learn a thing or two from this rather differing reaction, from the campaign Ohio Congressional candidate Jeff Seeman:

We were saddened to hear that three advertisers pulled their ads on the site because of the remarks posted on the blog. The comments may be controversial, but they are just as relevant. The ability to allow comments like those read on Daily Kos is a testament to the virtues this country was founded on, especially the right to free speech.

Our campaign has decided that because of the recent events we will step in and advertise on www.dailykos.com. We have made this decision for two reasons:

1. We firmly believe in the First Amendment and everyone's right to say whatever he or she chooses on their own website.
2. We refuse to allow our campaign to be bullied by the right wing like they bullied Kos' previous advertisers.

We entered this campaign for Congress based on courage and the desire to stand up to the Republicans who are destroying our country with huge deficits, unjustified wars, and a blatant disregard for Americans and the challenges they face in their daily lives.

We understand that the decision to launch this advertising campaign will attract attention, both positive and negative. We will make no statement regarding the actual content of Kos' controversial statement, but we will always stand up for his right to dissent. Furthermore, we are campaigning to return this country to a Democratic majority in Congress and we will not allow our message to be written or altered by our opposition.

Who’d ’ave thunk it. Respect for the First Amendment, and a backbone?


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