Over the past two weeks in the liberal blogosphere, the SBVFT ads have caused more than a few heads to explode with rage. However, as angry as it made us, it generally has been a non-story in the national and local press. In fact, the vast majority of news about these ads has been overwhelmingly negative, featuring McCain's slam against the ads rather than the ads themselves. This is why I was disturbed to learn that plans to run ads aginat SBVFT: On Tuesday, the liberal group MoveOn PAC is expected to release a commercial that calls on Bush to condemn an ad being aired in a few states by a group known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group says Kerry exaggerated his military record. Kerry received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for his actions during the Vietnam War. Didn't we lean anything from how the publicity behind Fahrenheit 911 was significantly driven by the hysterical GOP denunciations of the film? Maybe next should run an anti-Nader ad in the top 200 media markets nationwide. I wonder if they would be stunned when Nader's poll number promptly tripled. is a great organization with innovative media campaigns, but this one is a real stinker.

Tags: Media (all tags)



Re: Bad
I dunno about the ad, but I like this:

"He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go."

-- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) on VP Cheney, Omaha World-Herald, 8/15

by Jerome Armstrong 2004-08-16 09:17AM | 0 recs

At some point this will become common knowledge.  Why it isn't at this point, who knows...


by Tim Tagaris 2004-08-16 09:53AM | 0 recs
Thanks to some good debunking work from the Kerry campaign, and attacks on the Liars for Bush from people like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, etc., this whole mess was dying down. But now MoveOn is trying to bring it back into the news. Why? This is exactly what the Liars want! They didn't spend much airing the ad; what they really wanted was to get free advertising from media coverage of their claims. And now MoveOn wants to drag their claims back into the spotlight!

Other than the Bush in 30 Seconds and Real People ads, both of which were not actually produced by MoveOn, their ads have, well, sucked! Like the print ad that basically compares Republicans to Communists (Fox News == Propaganda, get it?). If anything, that will drive people away from the Democratic message.

The problem with MoveOn's ads is that they play to the Democratic base. Bush denouncing an independent smear ad? Fire Rumsfeld? Censure Bush? Who cares! The kind of people who really care about that stuff are already voting for Kerry. That's why I like the Real People ads; they actually try to reach out to swing voters and Republicans uneasy with the GOP's drift to the neocon right.

I dont trust MoveOn to use my money to attract more voters to our message; I would suggest people donate to ACT, Media Fund, and the DNC instead.

by punishinglemur 2004-08-16 10:53AM | 0 recs
Reserve judgment.
Depending on the ad, this could be very good or very bad.

If the ad attempts to answer the criticisms of the Swift Vets for Bush, then it will simply lend credence to the criticism by repeating the charges.  That would be a problem.

But if the ad is simple, like, "You've heard the lies about John Kerry's service to his country.  You've heard John McCain and other honest public officials denounce them.  So why haven't you heard George Bush do the same?" then it's fine.  Call them what they are, point to others who share the view, and single George Bush out for criticism.  That could be effective in shifting the debate from Kerry's actions to Bush's actions.

by Drew 2004-08-16 11:07AM | 0 recs
But what about this...?
Here's something from TalkingPointsMemo from last week.  

"I just saw a preview of a study that finds the Swift Boat ads quite effective among independents in raising doubts about John Kerry's war record. And that suggests that Karl Rove will want to send more money toward the group running the ad.

This of course is only the beginning. The temperature will get much higher in the next couple months since, as Charlie Cook, aptly argues this week, President Bush is in the process of losing this election unless there's a major change in the dynamic of the race."

He hasn't yet followed up on this, but if it's true, than maybe we do need a retort of some kind.  

by Teddy T 2004-08-16 03:49PM | 0 recs
I was thinking the best way for KE04 to get the AWOL issue back into the news would be to have surrogates criticize Bush for being AWOL on domestic issues like jobs and health care.  

This would allow them to a) talk about issues they want to talk about b) remind voters of Bush's, er, lackluster attendance record without actually having to say anything definitive about a complicated paper trail issue, and c) force BC04 into a lose-lose choice over which charge to respond to.  

Imagine having a Kerry surrogate saying "Bush has been AWOL on jobs for the last four years."  

How does BC04 respond?  "He has not been AWOL on jobs!" (Was he otherwise AWOL?)

"I resent the implication that he was AWOL!"  (So you admit his jobs record sucks, then?)

Basically, they would be put in the nasty situaton of defending two attacks at once on issues they'd prefer not to talk about, and it's hard to do that in a soundbite world.    

by danielj 2004-08-16 04:44PM | 0 recs
I think
that the strategy is one that could work, but it could also backfire. Depends on where, how, etc.
by clawed 2004-08-16 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: I think
The time to use it is when the next idiot questions Kerry's war record.  

"John Kerry's extraordinary service to his country is beyond dispute.  The real question Americans need to ask is why George Bush has been AWOL on jobs."  

by danielj 2004-08-16 04:54PM | 0 recs
moveon is a waste of money
Here is a link to the ad. The link comes from a diary on dKos, because there's no link to it anywhere on any of their sites.

I don't even know where to begin in detailing how stupid this ad is. The annoying, condescending tone. The completely-made-up "big red stamp saying 'Failure to Appear'" in the beginning, off-message stuff about Bush begin AWOL. The fact that the closing audio message is "take down that ad" while the on-screen words are "take down THIS ad". The "Hey, like, let's do like Reagan, cool!" foolishness.

But of course, the worst thing about the ad is that it is INSANE. This is not a debunk ad. This is not trying to refute the Swifties in any way.

The goal of the ad, by this independent group not controlled by or affiliated with the Kerry campaign, is to tell BUSH to "take down" ads which are also being run by an independent group. Um, duh? Hello? Pot, kettle, black? They have just provided Rove with all the fodder he needs to answer not just this but any subsequent ads by any independent group.

And, oh yes, the "action component" - an online petition!! Whoo hooo! That'll settle that Bush guy's hash, yessir.

by tatere 2004-08-16 05:26PM | 0 recs
I don't know.
I think the Swift Boat veterans got more traction than you realize. If you visit the Yahoo message boards for political news stories, they are repeated ad nauseum. The media, while doing a good job of saying where the money comes from, hasn't done a good job of debunking the ads.

I couldn't believe MSNBC even printed an entire chapter from the book. NPR interviewed Ted Sampley about it, and made no mention about what a fruit he is.

I think you have to fight fire with fire. In fact, to use your Fahrenheit 9/11 example, the right wing did a pretty good job of putting out the talking points that became readily available for anyone who wanted to criticize Michael Moore and needed some ammunition.

by Cat M 2004-08-16 05:35PM | 0 recs
Thanks for the link - looks like they are backing away from the swifties or at least preparing an escape route. We might be winning the fight against this slander. If this accelerates we should start analyzing what worked this time.
by storme 2004-08-17 12:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Bad
There's a argument on this here by Philip James, former senior Democratic party strategist.

I think it predates news of the ad.

by daveholden 2004-08-17 09:04AM | 0 recs


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