Swiftboating Obama


They are up to it again. I just received a disgusting email from John Kerry’s swiftboat stalker, John O’Neill. It reads:

Dear Friend, As you may recall, I was privileged to play a role in helping prevent John Kerry from being elected president when my fellow Swift Boat Veterans and I released the book Unfit for Command.
As liberal as Kerry was, America faces an even more liberal threat today: Barack Obama. Fortunately, investigative journalist and National Review Online political reporter David Freddoso has written the book every voter needs to read: The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate.
Uncovering stories the mainstream media has neglected, Freddoso reveals Obama for who he really is: the U.S. senator with the #1 most liberal voting record in the Senate. And a politician whose rhetoric of “change” does not match the reality of his corrupt, “Chicago-machine politics” background. Moving past Obama’s inspiring speeches and say-anything-to-win campaign tactics, Freddoso outlines Obama’s extreme, far-left legislative record and his questionable associations with both criminals and radicals. From Obama’s repeated support for the Chicago patronage system, to his hard-line position of no restrictions on abortion, The Case Against Barack Obama offers the cold, hard facts about this man who would be our next president.

I have struggled for a bit this morning on whether I should post this or not as I feel awkward posting a slimy note about a slimy book and giving it any visibility here. But exposure works both ways and O’Neill’s antics should be exposed and blasted.
John McCain should disavow these people.
— Steve Clemons


26 comments on “Swiftboating Obama

  1. bren says:

    mccain is a decent honourable man who fought for his country. his son is also fighting for his country. and then you have that scumbag obama, a liar and hypocrite. I am so happy that this book was written about him.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Careful, Tahoe, you’ll ruin my foul mood.


  3. Tahoe Editor says:

    Oh, Pee, you’re the no-trick pony! Grumpy man. Grump grump grump.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Now THATS funny. A one trick pony that thinks the other horses are boring.


  5. Tahoe Editor says:



  6. Paul Norheim says:

    I`ll keep clicking my heels when I get pissed of, Tahoe, but I
    don`t have any illusions.
    As long as you know how to trespass that captcha obstacle,
    you`ll continue to treat this great blog as one of those places
    where you can safely dump your garbage several times a day for
    free – at least until November. If McCain wins the election, we`ll
    see if you have any garbage left to dump.


  7. Tahoe Editor says:

    That’s lovely — keep clicking your heels and telling me when and how often I can add my two cents. You won’t be surprised if I don’t oblige.


  8. Paul Norheim says:

    you rarely get involved in any serious discussions with anyone
    here. Thus you assume that anyone who are fed up with your
    frequent spamming and bashing must be an Obama fan.
    If you had read anything I`ve written about Obama recently, you
    would have seen some of my main critical points. Let me repeat
    a handful of them:
    1) His move “towards the center” (the FIFA surveillance issue,
    guns, abortion, death penalty, etc. etc,) –– not much of a
    “change”. In my book that move towards “the center” during the
    last couple of months in several ways represents a move toward
    the extreme right. (But this says more about the current climate
    in American politics than about Obama, who wants to win the
    election. Still depressing).
    2) His support for an “undivided Jerusalem” in his speech to the
    AIPAC delegates. The fact that he does not even try to provide
    the illusion of a “balanced view on the Israeli/Palestinian
    conflict”, is also depressing.
    3) His Iraq position, basically implying that he wants to remove
    some American soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan – from one
    quagmire to another – believing in a military solution of
    problems that require focus and support of other tools.
    3) He does not criticize the fundamental principles of the
    foolish, manipulative, dangerous and contra-productive “Global
    War On Terror”; he criticizes the tactics within that frame. It
    seems like he will continue, in a modified form, the “war” that
    Cheney and Bush once defined. And it looks like he will let
    some 50 000 (plus/minus) troops remain in Iraq more or less
    permanently. I would guess that George Bush during the last
    months and weeks have reached the conclusion that Barack
    Obama is a man he can trust.
    I frankly don`t care much about his former relationship to Rev.
    Wright, his “lack of experience”, his alleged sexism or playing
    the race card and a lot of other issues you and others have
    obsessed over during the last months. But those four issues I
    mentioned above, make me think that it`s not from Obama we
    may expect the “change” many Americans and people elsewhere
    in the world are hoping for.
    So you`re not hurting the feelings or illusions of a European
    fan, when I read your Obama bashing.
    Actually, I was just as annoyed (and said so) when someone
    recently were bashing the current White House adm. for being
    “facists. Not so much for what he said (I more or less agree),
    but that he seemed incapable of saying much else beyond that,
    and thus repeated his accusations on and on, just like you`re
    doing with Obama.
    You said above: “I don’t have a rosy picture to paint of McCain.
    But if I say he has a bad temper 100 times, does that mean he
    Of course not. But if you repeat that fact, not one, two, five or
    ten times, but 100 times, we have every reason to question your
    motives: Why on earth can someone be so obsessed with this
    fact that he repeats it 100 times?
    And after a while, we stop even being curious, we`re just
    No moral, political, or intellectual effort or insight is required to
    repeat on and on that someone is an asshole, that the current
    WH is a fascist government, or that some presidential candidate
    is the worst phenomenon we`ve seen since Anti-Christ, Charles
    Manson or John Kerry. And it does not provide the readers of
    any insight. Repeating the same stuff 100 times is simply a
    brain wash technique that is unrelated to concepts like “truth”
    or “reality”.
    If you were fighting The Devil, the Pope, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol
    Pot, or Stalin, I would somehow understand why you were
    obsessed with this stuff. But Obama is not much worse, nor
    much better than Clinton or McCain. And if you really believe
    that this kind of spam and propaganda is necessary for some
    reason, it`s certainly not appropriate at The Washington Note,
    where people usually get your point if you restrict yourself to
    repeating your message five or ten times. Your attitude is not
    provocative or stimulating. It`s just annoying.
    In my view, The Washington Note, thanks to Steve Clemons and
    many of the commentators, is a very important blog. A res
    publica, a rare place where several passionate, informative and
    intellectually stimulating political discussions are allowed to
    unfold. And where some marginalized, but crucial issues often
    are raised and discussed.
    Sometimes (actually quite often, admittedly) we are not able to
    live up to what this blog could have been. But you, Tahoe, treat
    it on a regular basis as one of several places where you can
    dump your spam, just like a Viagra advertiser or a biased
    partisan and propagandist.


  9. Tahoe Editor says:

    That’s not even a weak defense — it’s nonsense. I don’t have a rosy picture to paint of McCain. But if I say he has a bad temper 100 times, does that mean he doesn’t? That’s some magic. You want to stipulate an arbitrary number of times Jeremiah Wright can be referenced, after which point his 20-year relationship with Obama dissolves into the rest of the smoke & mirrors? How about once for each copy of “The Audacity of Hope” Obama sold? Or once for every dollar Barack gave to Trinity United? Or once for every sermon Barack attended? Or once for every vow the Rev. Wright administered? If we reach that magic number — you pick it — then it’s all washed away, because now it’s a lie! Enter the Obama Newspeak.
    If that’s the case, then Barack really can click his heels three times and “stop climate change.” “I will stop climate change,” he says. Really? This planet has been cycling through ice ages and heat waves for millennia, but now The One’s selection as the Democratic nominee in 2008 A.D. gives his words the power to halt the rise of the oceans and stop climate change? Barack has never had to learn how to under promise and over deliver: His snake oil is such a hit that spellbound crowds will fill Mile High Stadium to catch some of The Light. Reminds me of the automatons in a certain ad from early in the primaries:
    Obama promising to stop climate change should be a wake-up call to anyone who’s been around the block and can listen to him without being entranced: This guy won’t deliver on a thing:
    You don’t want to see Barack the sausage maker. You don’t want to be reminded that he launched his political career under the auspices of William Ayers or that he cashed in on Jeremiah Wright’s career of racial hatred and self-aggrandizement to further his own career in Chicago politics, and I understand that. If you don’t want to hear it, don’t listen. But don’t put on your blinders and then insist you’re seeing the complete picture or that anyone who tries to pull your gaze off the halo is a liar. That just makes you look like this guy:


  10. Paul Norheim says:

    A different example: If I tell somebody that one of my friends has
    a bad temper, this may be correct, and I`m telling the truth. But
    if I go on telling everyone every time I meet them that my friend
    has a bad temper, am I still dealing with “the truth”?
    It may still be A FACT that my friend has a bad temper, but I am
    not approaching that fact in a truthful way anymore. Those who
    hear me repeating this all the time will get fed up, and look for a
    hidden agenda behind my statement.
    What`s your hidden agenda, Tahoe?
    It`s quite obvious, isn`t it? And since you`re doing propaganda,
    why don`t you start painting a rosy picture of McCain? It would
    be a refreshing change for the readers here. And somehow closer
    to the truth.


  11. Paul Norheim says:

    It would be easy to point out “some realities” – i.e. negative stuff
    – about McCain as well (to chose an example). Nothing wrong
    with that. The junk level is reached if the only thing you do is
    pointing out those nasty “realities” on and on for weeks and
    months. Then you have left the reality department and entered
    the propaganda/bashing/spamming/advertising department. It`s
    as simple as that. Every particular point may be right, or wrong –
    but as a whole it`s an intentional distortion of realities – i.e. a lie.


  12. Tahoe Editor says:

    Folks, National Journal, no “conservative rag”, pegged Obama as the Senate’s most liberal member a long time ago. Barack doesn’t want his daughters to be “punished with a baby” — but if we question this we are “bashers” and purveyors of “false claims”.
    Most liberal senator; associations with “radicals”; strong-arm Chicago politics — this is Swift boating? No. Getting hysterical about pointing out some realities you don’t want to acknowledge or accept is the true junk.


  13. Diane says:

    this should not surprise you but this “hero” of the right wing is getting a lot of playtime on Fox news. Smear Hannity has been giving him a lot of air and dissecting his book on the show. I watched just a couple minutes the other day and they were going on about how Obama wrote papers or said he read Malcom X, and I thought, is the only good black candidate the one who has ignored black history in this country? Of course Obama has read Malcom X works and Farrahkan and MLK and probably Bobby Seals and Fredrick Douglas. Would a woman candidate be torn down for reading the Feminine Mystique or Susan B Anthony? What kind of man would Obama be if he was not familiar with the history of blacks in this country? And that is a fault?


  14. Paul Norheim says:

    This just underlines what many of us have said before:
    TahoeEditor should stop spamming at TWN. The comment
    section at this blog is meant for discussions and reflections, not
    endless bashing of a particular politician, propaganda and
    spam. Most commentators know and respect this. Tahoe simply
    does not care.
    He has published hundreds of anti-Obama comments or links to
    Obama-bashing articles here (as well as at several other blogs).
    And as long as Tahoe manages to get around the Captcha
    obstacle (a fact that supports the hypothesis that he is a human
    being, and not just some kind of automatically generating
    propaganda machine), his spamming will probably just increase
    in the weeks before the election.
    This is not harmful as such. But it`s annoying – like porn site
    spam and Viagra ads are annoying on a political blog.


  15. TruthHurts says:

    Tahoe, you really are a piece of … work. I doubt people like you who have no regard for the truth remember that somehow John Kerry miraculously became the “most liberal Senator” according to a conserative rag when he was nominated. What a coincidence. When you right wing nutjobs stop using your own phony arguments to bolster false claims and start using your brains and facts (ever heard of those) you would be seen as more reasonable. I am surprised you didn’t mention his muslim schooling or how Rev. Wright will talk him into making Swahili the official language.


  16. Tahoe Editor says:

    Seconding Don …
    Gads! How dare we mention that Obama has the Senate’s most liberal voting record? How slimy!
    How dare we note how well he gamed the strong-arm machinery in Chicago? Slimy!
    “Say anything to win” — so slimy!
    How dare we say he has associated with “radicals” — too slimy!
    Except you’ve already posted your own flag-trampling photo of Mr. Ayers.
    Steve, this is soporific exasperation at its finest. Way to balance out your “Brussels-dissing” canard.


  17. jonst says:

    Nope, Don, did not ‘tell’ my ‘brother’ that. All I would say Don is before I personally started throwing around the term “mob”, and connections to it, I would suggest looking at McCain’s background. And, specifically, the background of his wife’s father, and her uncle, the Henley Brothers. And look into their connections with a man named Kemper Marley. And then ask yourself, if you are so concerned with mob ties, how the two brothers became the owners of the largest liquor business in the state of Ariz while being convicted, federally jailed bootleggers, felons. A neat trick to get a liquor license with that background. The only such types in the history of Ariz, so I am told.
    And as to “changing” positions….it is almost laughable, given the whirling dervish McCain has become on changing. My god, the guy is the first candidate in history to run AGAINST his two major legislative proposals, the McCain Feingold Act, and the Immigration bill. This is to say nothing of his off shore drilling flip flop, his Bush tax cut flip flop and so on. Oh, and the guy can’t get it straight WHAT his religion is. Baptist or Episcopalian.
    All of them flip flop. All of them are nuance. All of them have some connection to dirty money. And if the truth be told, all of them have such big egos as to be easily mistaken for the Messiah. Whatever the hell that latter terms these days. Or ever meant, for that matter.


  18. Don Bacon says:

    Did you also tell your brother that Obama, despite his positions on Iran, Pakistan, off-shore drilling and campaign finance, and his failure to make a peep about Iraq or FISA while in the Senate, and his alleged connections with the Chicago mob, and his changing positions, is without any doubt the new messiah, and his record should not be examined? And that anything derogatory about this new messiah should be classified as “slimy?”


  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, WigWag and Tahoe oughta give O’Neill a call, they could probably land jobs as writers.


  20. jonst says:

    It’s just what I was saying to my brother yesterday, just because the last version of the check out counter ‘newspaper’ the Midnight Star had it wrong about the Martians attempting to implant their seed in Britney Spears, why should it follow that they are wrong when they assure us that ‘Dogboy’ has come up with formula to extend the mileage a car gets on a gallon of gas to 100 MPG, from 20?


  21. Chris says:

    Libby Earl, that’s because the National Journal measures party loyalty and then describes the ranking of senators by party loyalty as a sign of where they are on the ideological spectrum.
    Voting for “the Democratic position” most of the time doesn’t automatically and accurately define a senator as being liberal (well, given the way you use all-CAPS for some words and not others, I wouldn’t accuse you of thinking there’s a difference); it defines them as being mostly loyal to their party*.
    For some mysterious reason, voters in Democratic primaries seem to value loyalty to Democratic positions in the voting records of candidates. Fortunately for the Republic, however, this is not true of the Republican Party, whose voters repeatedly vote for people who actively work against the policy goals of the party. (/sarcasm)
    * Why nobody’s successfully called National Journal on this particular methodological sophistry I don’t really know.
    (side note for Steve: since it’s apparently insufficiently clear to Don Bacon above, I’ll second your theory that anyone who writes, “I was privileged to play a role in helping prevent John Kerry from being elected president when my fellow Swift Boat Veterans and I released the book Unfit for Command,” and is now pitching a book claiming to reveal the real Barack Obama, is slimy until proven otherwise. Don, apparently, is so enchanted with the idea of innocent-until-proven-guilty and such a simple-minded stereotypical liberal that he’d let a convicted rapist go out with his daughter, because hey, how do we know that his previous experience is any indicator of what he might have in mind now? Side note to Don: You’re not fooling anyone; nice try pretending that you’re one of “us” instead of “these people.”)


  22. Chris says:

    Thanks, Steve. It’s not so much that I think you, specifically, have a grand soapbox from which to single-handedly influence the shape of the debate, and more that during a week when it’s been notable how easily the media gets worked by McCain’s people, and how much the media enjoys chewing over the lurid lies and slurs, despite the occasional condemnation, it’s shocking how bad the media is at covering politics with a modicum of fairness, and that’s where I think our analytical/persuasive focus should be.
    I think it’s important for us to realize that this kind of struggle takes more push-back than we often realize, or want to volunteer for, and that it’s important not only to have a few people in a few major media outlets stake out positions or make persuasive arguments, but also to have dozens or hundreds of other, not-as-high-profile, speakers and commentators echoing the same arguments and refining the rhetoric through a thousand smaller-scale discussions. Joe Klein doesn’t write that column saying he was wrong about McCain without the blogosphere calling him on years of pseudo-center-left analysis; Klein writes that column because people pushed back.
    (Now, there’s also an argument that confronting the media will just make them dig in their heels (see Adam Nagourney’s pettiness earlier this week), lest they look responsive to lobbying efforts, but (1) just letting the media help promote slander and slurs about candidates isn’t a more attractive option, (2) the right has already proven that this works, and (3) if the media will move in reaction to lies and smears, why shouldn’t they be lobbied to move the other way?)
    That’s what there needs to be more of, and that’s what I think is one of the next steps, not just for you, but for people generally, who care about this stuff, and have any kind of platform (and now, thanks to the internet, we do). You just had the good fortune to admit that you were starting to lean in that direction (of knowing that this is what’s going on) this morning, when I happened to be looking for things to read and write about.


  23. Don Bacon says:

    What is your evidence for calling it “a slimy book,” and if you have no evidence (i.e. haven’t read it) then how are you any less disgusting then O’Neill?
    We are supposed to be better than these people, aren’t we? And take informed positions on issues?


  24. Libby Earl says:

    What I find humorous is that whenever a Democrat is running for
    office, they conveniently just happen to have THE MOST LIBERAL
    John Kerry? The most liberal…
    Barack Obama? THE MOST LIBERAL…
    And then, they of course mention Ted Kennedy.


  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Chris — all good points. But it would not be good form for me to threaten. I’ll write such a piece when it makes sense to me (and when I have the time!!), but this blog does not have that kind of influence.
    best, steve clemons


  26. Chris says:

    “John McCain should disavow these people.”
    Steve, isn’t it obvious that McCain *needs* these people out there, peddling this crap? This is what Republican presidential campaigns require: smears and lies about Democrats, to deter under-informed people from voting for them, and I’d say, with frustration, that it happens every four years, but that’s not enough; it happens during the three intervening years every time, too.
    And isn’t it obvious that McCain can play this one of at least three ways: ignore them and let it fester (after all, he’s the guy who said he couldn’t control outside groups attacking his opponent), issue an insincere disavowal (e.g., “I wish they wouldn’t say that, but I’m not going to actually do/say anything beyond making a tepid statement to the press”, so the media can run stories, “McCain Disavows Swiftboat-style Attacks / But How Are They Playing With Voters?”), or take a stronger stand and actually silence them?
    Hahaha. I threw that last one out there as a joke. There’s no way McCain would actually take a stronger stand and get these groups to stop attacking Obama on such scurrilous grounds, because (1) it helps McCain (duh, it works, that’s why they do it; let’s not pretend otherwise), (2) the media will portray it as helping McCain no matter what actually happens (under the “Everything’s always good for Republicans!” principle, which you may have read about if you read any left-wing blogs), and (3) McCain would get the same effect — praise from the press — whether he issues a denunciation with or without teeth.
    Because after all, if the media admitted that a conservative candidate had any influence with these kinds of groups, then they’d have to admit their own complicity in the scandal-mongering that feeds campaign coverage.
    Also, when you say, “John McCain should disavow these people,” I hope you have some kind of threat in your back pocket, a contingency plan of sorts, something like, “…because if he doesn’t, then I’ll write something like Joe Klein’s ‘McCain is not an honorable man’ column.” If you’re interested in changing behavior, you might want to change some of the incentives.


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