Swift Boat Souljah?

August 26, 2004

Bill Clinton famously had his "Sistah Souljah" moment when someone who supported him and who was from a constituency that supported him made some stupid and inflammatory statements. He condemned her, rightly, and did so in a manner that pushed him towards the center while only singing his bridges to his radical left.

Could Bush be planning a similar moment with the Swift Boat folks? I suspect that he and Rove considered it, but decided that they could not plausibly denounce the Swift Boat smears without offending their mutual friends who bankroll both the party and these 527s.

Kerry has been able to condemn specific ads from Moveon.org, but his deep pockets are separated from their deep pockets by a bit more distance than we find between the Swift Boats and the Texas Republican Party.

527 organizations are tricky. They are engaged in free speech. In fact, when Bush signed the campaign finance reform bill that created them he worried that the legislation was putting TOO MUCH restriction on political speech. How do you try to minimize the ability of the rich and powerful to drive media and elections without systematically infringing on fundamental rights of free speech? The best suggestion I have heard is to go to snap elections, but that would garble the basic elements of Madison's system.

Posted by Red Ted at August 26, 2004 10:21 AM | TrackBack