To Smear or Not to Smear

I think it’s a classic example of the difference between Democrats and Republicans that there’s currently hand-wringing in the anti-Bush community over whether or not to attack Bush in a manner similar to the way Kerry has recently been attacked.

Tom Shaller provides a convenient blueprint at Daily Kos on how to our-Rove Karl Rove: Closing time. And David Corn talks about biographer Kitty Kelly’s quoting of Neil Bush’s ex-wife that Bush did cocaine at Camp David during his father’s presidency. Corn wonders if he should follow up on a story he once heard from someone who knew someone who claimed to have done coke in the White House with Bush during the same period: Did Bush snort coke? Does it matter?

It really gets down to a fascinating (to me, at least) question about personal values. Is it better to “play fair” (in the sense of living up to a higher standard of ethics and honesty), even if that increases the risk of losing? Or, confronted by an opponent who is willing to fight dirtier than you are, do you need to hold your nose and get down there in the swamp and wrestle alligators?

It’s a question that can never really have a final answer. It’s up to each individual whether to be idealistic or pragmatic in each particular set of cirumstances, whether to stand on principle or compromise in the name of achieving some “greater good.” And while there are doubtless many principled Republicans and many unprincipled Democrats, overall I think it’s true that Republicans, generally, are less-apt to worry about such things, at least in the heat of battle, than Democrats are.

I’d babble about this some more, but I see that I already did back in January, in this piece: Republicans steal Democrats’ files, blame victims. So go read that if you want more babbling.

2 Responses to “To Smear or Not to Smear”

  1. kavs Says:

    Generally I don’t care for “smear” tactics, defining “smear” as something marginally, if at all, true.
    OTOH, the truth should played for all it is worth so long as it does not distract from our message and party platform and that is a huge risk.
    One item I found of interest was concerning Dubya’s DUII in Maine. Can’t recall where I read this, but supposedly he had a his teenage sister in the car with him. This should be verifiable.
    If true, and if it were to happen today(2004) in Oregon, IT IS A FELONY. I don’t believe felons can run for President. By today’s legal standards we have a felon running for President.

  2. Tuesday Says:

    I just had a conversation about this very thing this morining. The prob with Dems is they are not aggressive enough. They don’t have to resort to smear especially when Bush & co. gives them so much material. They just have to speak louder, better, and more like middle America then the other side.
    That’s why the Reps are doing so well. It’s not that they have anything relevent or good to say (in fact, amazingly, it’s exactly the opposite) they are just able to convey it in a pleasant sounding manner. They make destroying the middle class sound like a wonderful thing to do.
    It’s all about perception. The Dems have never seemed to fully grasp that – to their loss.

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