Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Funniest line I've heard today: Kerry camp on ties between their lawyers and anti-Bush 527s
Sometimes I genuinely can't tell if the NYT's reporters have a deliciously droll sense of humor or are just really dense (bracketed portion, boldface, and underscoring added):
Mr. Ginsberg, the chief outside counsel to the Bush-Cheney re-election effort, agreed to an interview after several telephone calls to him and the campaign's asking that he explain his role. He said that he was helping the group comply with campaign finance rules and that his work was entirely separate from his work for the president. President Bush has called for an end to advertising by all groups like that of the Swift boat veterans, called 527's for the section of the tax code that created them.
The campaign of Senator John Kerry shares a lawyer, Robert Bauer, with America Coming Together, a liberal group that is organizing a huge multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote drive that is far more ambitious than the Swift boat group's activities. Mr. Ginsberg said his role was no different from Mr. Bauer's....
[Referring to Ginsberg's advising the SwiftVets:] "It's another piece of evidence of the ties between the Bush campaign and this group," Chad Clanton, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, said. Asked about his [i.e., the Kerry] campaign's use of shared lawyers, Mr. Clanton said, "If the Bush campaign truly disapproved of this smear, their top lawyer wouldn't be involved."
Kudos to the NYT for asking about the hypocrisy. Jeers for either being too subtle with their humor, or for instead simply missing the fact that Mr. Clanton wouldn't answer their question. In either event, jeers for burying this delicious bit in their fourth-from-the-bottom paragraph.
Update: Ginsberg has fallen on his sword to remove even any hint of impropriety by announcing his resignation as counsel for the Bush campaign today. Jim Geraghty's Kerry Spot reprints his resignation letter, but the key graphs are:
I am proud to have given legal advice to American military veterans and others who wish to add their views to the political debate. It was done so in a manner that is fully appropriate and legal and, in fact, is quite similar to the relationships between my counterparts at the DNC and the Kerry campaign and Democrat 527s such as Moveon.org, the Media Fund and Americans Coming Together.
Unfortunately, this campaign has seen a stunning double standard emerge between the media's focus on the activities of 527s aligned with John Kerry and those opposed to him....
Classy, but probably unnecessary. Now will his Dem counterparts do the same? Magic 8-Ball sez: "Outlook not so good."
Update: I noticed this afternoon that the paper-and-messy-ink version of the NYT, at least as printed and distributed in Houston, doesn't contain the key last sentence from the last paragraph in my original blockquote (which does, however, at least for the moment, still appear in the online version that I've linked). Instead, the hard-copy version simply reads:
"It's another piece of evidence of the ties between the Bush campaign and this group," said Chad Clanton, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry."
Humorless and pro-Kerry editors? Or simply nonsequitur-intolerant ones? Gremlins? The ghost of Jayson Blair? Your guess is as good as mine.
I've also edited my original description of the location of the peculiar paragraph per betsybounds' comment below. I blush, and plead in mitigation the late hour and my need to type with one hand while holding my splitting sides with the other.
Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Funniest line I've heard today: Kerry camp on ties between their lawyers and anti-Bush 527s and sent a trackback ping are listed here:
» Sauce for the Gander: Sharing Lawyers With 527's from The Truth Laid Bear
Tracked on Aug 25, 2004 8:12:58 AM
» Not so sure the Kerry campaign wants to play the "shared lawyer" game from The H-Bomb
Tracked on Aug 25, 2004 4:30:17 PM
» More On The Lawyers from Ryne McClaren: A Weblog
Tracked on Aug 26, 2004 11:24:49 PM
psst. amazing the hypocrisy.
Fitting that someone who so eloquently embodies the whining hypocrisy of the left is named "Chad".
(3) Rob Read made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:10:20 AM | Permalink
If Chad goes from lawyer to judge will he be called Hanging Chad?
(4) Chris made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:11:37 AM | Permalink
Uhhhh, that would have been much more impressive, Beldar, if Ginsberg hadn't previously specifically condemned what he (and Bauer) are doing right now.
An article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer just two weeks ago included this bit about Ginsberg: "Ben Ginsberg, a legal adviser to the Bush campaign, specifically condemned the dual roles played by Democrats Harold Ickes and Bill Richardson, who had official roles at the convention and also within prominent friendly 527s. 'They're over the coordination line,' Ginsberg said of Ickes and Richardson. 'The whole notion of cutting off links between public officeholders and soft-money groups just got exploded.'"
To make things even better, Ginsberg doesn't just advise the Swift Boat Guys -- a role he will no doubt seriously downplay over the next few days. He serves as the official chief counsel to Progress for America, another 527 that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, exists to "form 'issue truth squads' that respond to Democratic attacks on President Bush."
(5) mshyde made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:12:55 AM | Permalink
It's pretty obvious that whatever the democraps do is not what the rest of us should have the freedom to do as well.
We are watching blatant socialism at work right in our faces. Do what we say, and not what we do.
Nice catch on the Clanton quote. According to the AP, the DNC also shares a lawyer with Moveon.org.
As I ask over at The H-Bomb, does anyone else get the feeling Chad Clanton has watched a few too many Baghdad Bob tapes?
(7) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:20:01 AM | Permalink
Did someone say "hypocrisy?"
"Republicans are crying foul about the Democrats' heavy reliance on 527s. They say that at the Democratic convention, 527 officials were openly hitting up Democratic donors; that many Democratic Party officials and delegates are 527 officials; and that two large 527s had headquarters at the same Boston hotel as the Democratic National Committee's finance committee.
So they doubt it is merely a coincidence that just as Kerry's campaign pulled its ads, many 527s geared up their efforts.
For example, BEN GINSBERG, a legal adviser to the Bush campaign, specifically condemned the dual roles played by Democrats Harold Ickes and Bill Richardson, who had official roles at the convention and also within prominent friendly 527s.
"They're over the coordination line," Ginsberg said of Ickes and Richardson. "The whole notion of cutting off links between public officeholders and soft-money groups just got exploded."
(8) Jim in Chicago made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:29:21 AM | Permalink
Err, in re the above commentators, Ginsberg wasn't condemning that ACT and MOveOn share LAWYERS with the Kerry campaign and DNC. Ickes and Richardson ain't there to provide legal advice.
(9) holdfast made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:41:42 AM | Permalink
Chris and Jim - the role of a legal advisor, acting solely as counsel is very different from that of a fundraiser / political organizer. As I understand it, the law is specifically written so that getting legal advice from the same counsel does not count as coordination, as long as it is limited to legal advice. I would agree that the optics are not so good for the Bush team right now, but I can't really see that the Dems want to go dowm this road either - look at Jordan and Ickes. Once again, John Kerry and his team toss a grenade so close that sprays it sprays a little rice into their own ass.
(10) Chris made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:47:45 AM | Permalink
"Once again, John Kerry and his team toss a grenade so close that sprays it sprays a little rice into their own ass."
Geek and Chris, Ginsberg originally fought against the huge loophole in the campaign finance laws that the 527 organizations (now for both sides) are exploiting, but lost that fight. From the same NYT article:
Mr. Ginsberg said he decided to help Republican groups after the Federal Election Commission declined to imposed strict rules on the 527 groups in May.
"At that point," he said, "I was more than happy to help all Republican groups comply with the law so that there wasn't unilateral disarmament."
There's no doubt that the loophole makes a mockery of the notion of campaign finance "reform." But given what's currently the law, and currently the FEC's interpretation of the law, neither side can be faulted for taking advantage of what the law permits. And both sides need lawyers to advise them on that.
In case it's not clear from the context of my post, I have no fault to find much less do I argue that there's been a violation of the coordination and direction provisions of § 527 in the Kerry campaign relying on lawyers who've also advised Kerry-friendly/anti-Bush 527 organizations. Under the current FEC interpretation of the law, it's silly to argue that the sharing of common counsel between a campaign and a 527 organization friendly to that campaign, without more, establishes an impermissible degree of coordination or direction. That's true whether it's Mr. Ginsberg making that argument or whether it's Mr. Clanton making that argument.
No one has seemed to notice that one of Kerry's own lawyers was arrested for soliciting a prostitute.. By Kerry's logic Bush is guilty of colluding with the Swift Vets because his lawyer also works for the Swift Vets. By that same logic Kerry is guilty of consorting with prostitutes because Melvin "Butch" Hollowell was arrested for soliciting a prostitute.
(13) sisyphus made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:32:17 AM | Permalink
I can't believe Kerry's staff is doing work for 527's after he's called for their complete shutdown!
Oh, wait. He *didn't* call for their complete shutdown.
OK, I can't believe Kerry staff are working with 527's after condemning Bush's staff for doing any work with them!
Oh, wait. He *didn't* condemn political staff working with any of them.
OK, I can't believe Kerry staff are working with a specific 527 that's (1) funded entirely by a handful of wealthy individuals, (2) levelling charges with *no* documentary evidence, (3) is contradicted by multiple eyewitnesses, the military record, and even some of the accusers' own past statements, (4) is coincidentally employing the same smear tactics previously used by the candidate against John McCain, and (5) uses these unsubstantiated claims to deliberately draw attention away from current issues such as the War on Terror, the war in Iraq, job losses, and healthcare.
Oops, they're not.
So, uh, pointer to some hypocricy, please?
(14) leaddog2 made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:51:18 AM | Permalink
The major news media is beating this for all they can and NEVER MENTION all of the Democratic National Committee and 527 lawyers and tie-ins.
However, we must prevent something even worse. Send this article to all you know. It shows the Pure Evil that the left embodies.
And our Brothers and Fathers died because of these SCUM out of Hell! We will obtain revenge and May God Have Mercy on their blighted souls!
(15) betsybounds made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:55:06 AM | Permalink
Editorial comment: I'm not sure what you meant by "fourth-to-the-bottom paragraph." I think you probably meant fourth FROM the bottom, but what you SAID translates into fourth from the top; i.e. fourth on the way to the bottom. This misusage is frequently made, but you need to be better than the rest!
(16) Chris made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 11:40:23 AM | Permalink
Ginsberg resigned from his Bush position. Seems he, at least, found SOMETHING wrong with what he was doing.
No, Chris. He resigned because he knew that if he didn't, people like you would be howling for his head.
Sadly, it appears he was wrong, and you want his head no matter what.
(18) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 11:55:37 AM | Permalink
Any one notice today Sandusky saying he was in Cambodia plenty of times with Kerry.
Which contradicts Kerry's diary.
John Kerry wrote a book about his 'Nam experience.
You can read it here:
There is a big difference between Calley and Kerry. Calley is a proven war criminal. For Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.
What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.
(19) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 12:06:14 PM | Permalink
I think Kerry should follow the courageous example of Bush and eliminate even the appearance of law breaking.
John Kerry wrote a book about his 'Nam experience.
You can read it here:
What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.
(20) Deoxy made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 12:54:41 PM | Permalink
"I can't believe Kerry's staff is doing work for 527's after he's called for their complete shutdown!
Oh, wait. He *didn't* call for their complete shutdown."
Right, only the ones that aren't pro-Kerry.
"OK, I can't believe Kerry staff are working with 527's after condemning Bush's staff for doing any work with them!
Oh, wait. He *didn't* condemn political staff working with any of them."
No, that would be th MSM (main stream media) - condemning Bush for sharing lawyers with a 527 (which is legal) when the Dems are sharing far more (which isn't). That would be hypocrisy of the MSM, not Kerry personally.
"OK, I can't believe Kerry staff are working with a specific 527 that's (1) funded entirely by a handful of wealthy individuals, (2) levelling charges with *no* documentary evidence, (3) is contradicted by multiple eyewitnesses, the military record, and even some of the accusers' own past statements, (4) is coincidentally employing the same smear tactics previously used by the candidate against John McCain, and (5) uses these unsubstantiated claims to deliberately draw attention away from current issues such as the War on Terror, the war in Iraq, job losses, and healthcare.
Oops, they're not."
Ever heard of MoveOn? That describes them to a T. And Kerry'y campaign is working with them (more ties that just legal advice from the same guy), which is illegal.
Or were you trying to describe SBVFT? If so, (1) is true of most 527s (especially MoveOn and other Soros-fundees), (2) is balatantly false (go read their stuff), (3) applies much MUCH better to Kerry than to the SBVFT (who ARE A BUNCH OF EYEWITNSSES and OUTNUMBER THE EYEWITNESSES YOU ARE REFERENCING! which begs the question - why are you believing the smaller number of eyewitnesses?), (4) didn't pay enough attention to that, but I'm guessing that would apply much better to the AWOL claims (of course, so would (3)), and (5) describes Kerry MUCH better in his focusing on his military career ("Bring. It. On" - which apparently means "Make it stop or I'll threaten to sue", which inspires confidence, eh?).
"So, uh, pointer to some hypocricy, please?"
Pointer: read your own stuff.
(21) leaddog2 made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 1:59:21 PM | Permalink
[Leaddog2, I intend no offense, but I've deleted the long string of links you posted in this comment. It's not on the basis of what those links might say indeed, I haven't followed them to read them. And posting links as part of comments is generally okay. But I want to encourage civil debate in my comments, and prefer that links be used to illustrate a particular point relating to the original post. Perhaps a better way for you to publicize the links you think folks should be following and reading would be on a blog of your own. Feel free, however, to continue making substantive, civil comments here just not strings of links. Thanks! Beldar]
(22) Mike made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 3:35:05 PM | Permalink
What a stark contrast.
Ginsberg resigned to avoid the impression of impropriety (not illegality). But it gets better. He resigned from a well paying position (Bush/Cheney) and retains his pro bono position. I think this story tells it all.
(23) Chris made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 4:51:16 PM | Permalink
"Sadly, it appears he was wrong, and you want his head no matter what."
Robert Crawford, you've got me confused with someone who thinks there's merit in all this dicussion about Vietnam and evil 527s. You do, I don't.
(24) Stevie Nichts made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 5:25:59 PM | Permalink
The NY Times article also shows that the Kerry campaign has "connections" to other 527s:
"In complaints against [Democratic 527s], Republican lawyers have noted that Harold M. Ickes, who has helped raise money for and organize America Coming Together and the Media Fund, both 527 groups, is also on the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee.
"The chairman of the Democratic convention, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, has been an adviser to another 527 group, the New Democrat Network. And Jim Jordan, a spokesman for the Media Fund, was Mr. Kerry's campaign manager until he resigned in November."
Other news articles include this interesting tidbit:
"Joe Sandler, a lawyer for the DNC and a group running anti-Bush ads, MoveOn.org, said there is nothing wrong with serving in both roles at once."
Mr. Sandler is not "a" lawyer for the DNC; he is DNC General Counsel, the top lawyer. Astute readers will recall Mr. Sandler as the co-author -- along with Marc Elian, General Counsel for Kerry-Edwards 2004 -- of a letter to TV stations airing the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertisement; his letter threatened unspecified actions if the stations dared to air the quite legal advertisement.
You want connections? There are several!
(25) ed made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 7:00:05 PM | Permalink
What I found interesting was a comment by a FEC representative to the effect that the Democrats shouldn't be throwing stones because they were definitely living in a glass house.
(26) Pale Infidel made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 8:56:10 PM | Permalink
Chris said: Ginsberg resigned from his Bush position. Seems he, at least, found SOMETHING wrong with what he was doing.
By the very same dint of logic, friend Chris, is it not true that Bauer, Ickes, Sandler, and Richardson must all be doing something wrong as well. Or is that not a two-way street?
Civil? you have got to be kidding. Repeating the lies of those who have no respect for the uniform is not civil discussion. It's BS and you're full of it.
Put that in your pipe and delete it.
[Ed: This comment refers to my emailed message yesterday, I think, to the same commenter explaining that I'd deleted his comment, which I thought considerably less civil than this one. Perhaps oddly, this comment meets my entirely subjective "civility" standard, if barely. This one expresses a contrary opinion to mine in an unflattering way, but it's not just an insult; there's a kernel of argument to go along with it, and I guess that's the difference. And I routinely delete profanity, although that was not involved in this instance. Beldar]
Beldar is correct, my comment does refer to another post of mine which was deleted, rightfully so I might add.
My apologies to Beldar and his readers for my unwarranted name calling.
(29) Michael Levy made the following comment | Aug 26, 2004 10:04:48 PM | Permalink
If Bush really was secretly pulling the strings of the Swift Vets, wouldn't he have planned in advance for them not to have any public connections to his campaign?
At the time Ginsberg agreed to help the vets, most establishment Republicans might not have even known they existed.
No offense, Michael, but you can use that same logic to accuse Bush of plotting 9/11, or Kerry of plotting 9/11, or my favorite candidate Barney the Purple Dinosaur of planning 9/11.
Has the original NY Times line returned?
Hey, i heard this today ;-)
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.
The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.
He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?"
The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."
There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"
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