More "Under the Radar" Bush Lies

A friend wrote to me about the Kerry campaign’s response to something he is hearing. He was reading something from a guy and:

“He claimed that his accountant told him that it was well-known that Kerry was planning to tax rich people, but he defined rich people as anyone making more than $40,000!

This is important. This is what’s being stated EVERWHERE. THAT is what I wanted to find a rebuttal to on Kerry’s site. Couldn’t find it. More important, couldn’t find an issue tab called TAXES. It is crucial to be absolutely STRAIGHTFORWARD about these issues. If Kerry is going to be afraid that he’ll be Walter Mondale, then he WILL BE Walter Mondale.

So what I get from this is:

1) I wonder if the Kerry campaign KNOWS that the Bush people are circulating “under the radar” the lie that Kerry is talking about people making more then $40,000 when he talks about tax cuts on “the rich.” (This corresponds exactly to what I hear on right-wing radio, by the way.)

2) The Kerry campaign should have their finger on this stuff, and have places on their website with information that refutes what the Right is claiming. They don’t.


“I’m saying a little more. I’m saying what you just said. But also I suspect that they don’t already have an issues tab called TAXES because they are consciously or unconsciously afraid to even say the word. You and I know that Repugs win on two issues: (alleged) low taxes and keeping the you-know-who down. If you want to beat them you have to say as clearly as you possibly can that you know this and that you are on to them and here’s what is good for the country and here’s what you’re going to do. Be proud of it.

That’s the deeper observation, but superficially, yeah, the web site needs to be much more DIRECTLY responsive to the repugs. And that cannot be done with NEWS sections or ANSWERING THEM sections. It needs to be done with top-level, ISSUES tabs. Right at the top of the site. The tabs I want are there, but they are not AGGRO enough.”

Air America Radio

Air America Radio is on the air now. Click to listen live online.

Update – Their server appears absolutely swamped. I had it for a while, heard Al Franken’s voice, then it went down. Trying to reconnect…

Update – Did you hear Randi Rhodes telling Ralph Nader what she thought? Randi is now my hero forever. This is great.

It’s Working

Surprise, surprise, Bush’s ads are working. Bush Scores Points By Defining Kerry:

“Since the end of the Democratic primaries, attacks on John F. Kerry by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, backed by millions of dollars in negative ads, have wiped out the narrow lead Kerry enjoyed at the beginning of the month and damaged his public image.

[. . .] A month later, more voters see Kerry as “too liberal,” and a solid majority says he is someone who has changed his positions on issues for political reasons — both charges leveled by the Bush campaign’s daily attacks through ads and public statements.”

Everyone knew this is what the Bush people would do. Yet I haven’t seen the Kerry campaign doing much (in marketing terms) to counter this. If they let Bush “define” him among many voters as “too liberal” and as someone who changes his mind or says what he thinks voters want to hear, it will be very difficult for him to find his way back.

But maybe this is because I am in California, so I don’t see the ads or read the papers from the battleground states where things are happening. As it is I just don’t see a high degree of consumer marketing awareness — which is where the tobacco marketers handling the Bush campaign are at.

Update – I just left the following comment to this post talking about Bush’s flip-flops over at Angry Bear:

Fine, but this isn’t how marketing works. Bush is out there with ads that say Kerry flip-flops. Kerry is not out there with ads that say Bush does. So Bush wins.

It’s called “defining.” In consumer marketing it’s called “branding.” Bush is the “low tax, leadership” brand. Can you tell me what the Kerry brand is?

I saw Kerry speak Monday. He was all about issues and positions. But Bush is all about feelings and values. He has simple phrases that he repeats over and over. That is marketing. That is what works. Bush has tobacco marketing people handling his ads. Kerry appears to have 80’s Democrat political marketing people handling his campaign.

Bush is the “low tax, leadership” brand. Can you tell me what the Kerry brand is? If not, why not?

Just to cheer everyone up

Kevin Drum has linked to this graph of Bush’s 10-poll average approval ratings. It’s really beautiful. Since his 9/11 85% rating, his approval has descended to about 48%. There have been two wartime spikes on the way, but after each spike the approval drops again.

The wartime spikes tell us, of course, that Bush will make security his main issue. The only other issues he’s got are low taxes and the social issues, and most people have made up their minds about those. The poll also tells us why they will do anything whatever to destroy Clarke, and why, even if they didn’t really want to (JOKE!), the republicans would be forced to run a negative campaign. Bush really can’t run on his record.

Past experience tells us that poll results don’t ultimately mean anything. The Republicans are masters at spreading large amounts of confusion at the last minute, and my belief is that they actually do not want landslides. For them, political capital is something to spend in order to ram their policies through, and if they had 65% approval they would just take that as justification for pushing an unpopular part of their agenda a little bit harder.

But still — Bush is NOT “a popular President”.

A Joke, Right?

The terms, if the 9/11 Commission falls for the White House’s “deal” for Rice to testify:

“Second, the commission must agree in writing that it will not request additional public testimony from any White House official, including Dr. Rice.”

That would include, for example, Bush. And from CNN:

Commissioners said they accepted those terms and would work to schedule a session “promptly.”

Suckers. Fell for it completely. What a joke – we’re trying to look at what weaknesses in the country led to 9/11, and this is what we get from our own Administration and Commission.

The Band At The Fundraiser

I went to a fundraiser in San Francisco this evening. The band that played consisted of Boz Skaggs, Ray Manzarek (from the Doors), Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart (from the Dead), and Norton Buffalo and Roy Rogers. I first saw The Dead with my mother when I was 13 or 14 at a small free concert in Ann Arbor. My hair started growing. Then I saw them at Woodstock. But I never saw the Doors and have always wanted to see Ray Manzarek perform, so tonite was a big occasion for me!

I didn’t know until I looked that up on Google that Norton Buffalo and Roy Rogers are on Blind Pig records! Many years ago I used to hang around at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor! I even drove down to Chicago for a Zappa concert once with the guy who owned the place (and the record company.) Before the concert we were hanging around with the drummer, Terry Bozio, because someone with us knew him. (I wound up sitting behind the bass amp holding it in place through the entire concert because it was sliding around.) After the concert we all went to a party where The Who showed up.

Update – OH YEAH! John Kerry spoke too. He was great. And they raised $3 million!

Kerry’s Lead Drops 8 Points

The poll says Bush Support Steady in Wake of Clarke Criticisms: but actually, “He [Bush] is now running even with Sen. John Kerry in a head-to-head match-up among registered voters (47% Kerry- 46% Bush) after trailing Kerry by 52%-43% in mid-March.”

Simple messages, repeated over and over. “Kerry will raise your taxes.” “Kerry will not protect your children.” “Kerry waffles on issues.” And one thing I think is a big factor, under the radar smears being circulated over the internet.

Now It Really Starts

Now the attack on Clarke is really getting started.

In Murdoch’s (owner of Fox News) New York Post NYERS: CLARKE’S GAIN, OUR PAIN it’s the “9/11 families fuming” at Clarke. Some samples:

“‘We believe it inappropriate for [him] to profit from and politicize 9/11 and further divide America by his testimony before the 9/11 commission.’

Retired FDNY firefighter Jim Boyle, who lent his name to the letter, ripped into Clarke, who served as a counterterrorism adviser to the past four presidents.

‘Richard Clarke is doing all of this to sell his book,’ said Boyle, whose Bravest son, Michael Boyle, died in the WTC. ‘What he’s doing isn’t right. He’s trying to make money off our pain. This was all orchestrated to benefit him,’ Boyle told The Post.

Retired FDNY Capt. John Vigiano Sr. said he’s ‘incensed’ with Clarke.

‘He’s all about promoting his book, plain and simple,’ said Vigiano Sr., whose sons John, a firefighter, and Joseph, a police officer, died in the WTC attacks. ‘It’s all about greed. He shouldn’t be doing this. He’s showing a lack of loyalty to the president. It’s awful.’

The blistering letter, signed by more than 36 people who lost loved ones in the WTC, came a day after the Senate’s top Republican, Bill Frist, accused Clark of an ‘appalling act of profiteering.’ “

Wow, signed by more than 36 people!

The whole article is like that – a simple phrase, repeated often. Note, it comes a day after a top Republican used the same phrase. And, in case you don’t understand about a simple phrase, repeated over and over, the headline at Drudge Report blares: SOURCES: CLARKE ‘TO EARN OVER $1 MILLION FOR BOOK’; CONTRACT: BONUSES ADDED

Something tells me we’re going to hear variations on this theme repeated all week. That, and the charge that the Democrats are politicizing 9/11.

Randi Rhodes!

Atrios posted a reminder to listen to Air America when it starts up on Wednesday. This kicked off a big thread of comments about Air America, its schedule, whether it would stream, its staff, etc., etc. Nobody mentioned the best thing about the new network (to me, shockingly!), so I added this comment:

Unless my browser’s search missed it, within all these comments nobody has mentioned RANDI RHODES!

I too miss Mike Malloy and I agree that the network should have focused less on BIG NAMES and more on BIG RADIO TALENT. I fear they made a big mistake. We’ll see.

But one thing they did absolutely right is give Randi Rhodes a national voice. She is the best left of center radio host going.

So listen to Franken, but BE SURE to listen to Randi after Franken from 3:00-7:00 ET (her old West Palm time slot).

Listen to Randi, dammit!