Monday, October 18, 2004

Remarkable disingenuity 

There is an utterly ridiculous argument being made by the local newspaper and the Wetterling campaign over the latter's acceptance of $80,000 of's contributions. In an analysis of this Kennedy ad (Windows Media Player file), Times reporter Larry Schumacher declares that these are not really MoveOn contributions. (Note that this is from the 10/16 newspaper, since my link up above will go dead tomorrow due to brain-dead archiving on the Times website.)

The ads do contain several errors and some distortions.

For example, did not donate any money to Wetterling's campaign, as the ads claim.

It told individuals visiting the group's Web site that Wetterling has its endorsement, and provided a link that allowed individuals to give her money -- about $80,000, by recent estimates.

MoveOn is bundling contributions, though, and using its website to support a particular candidate as a collecting agent. The site provides a service to the Wetterling campaign. MoveOn is supporting her. Schumacher is making a distinction that makes no difference; if my union provided envelopes to send money to the Kerry campaign, collected them and mailed them in, would this be any different? And would you call that a union contribution or a bunch of individual contributions?

The ads also mention roughly $50,000 that trial lawyers gave to Wetterling's campaign.

What they do not mention is that Kennedy has received more than $35,000 in donations from lawyers as well this election cycle.

There are many varieties of lawyers. There even many varieties of trial lawyers. But Wetterling's contributions are $14,500 from Robins, Kaplan (Mike Ciresi's firm) and $5,000 from the American Trial Lawyers Association. There are enough more in here to make one cast doubt on Schumacher's claim.

The Wetterling campaign is down to saying they don't support tax increases (just a rollback of tax cuts), and arguing that Kennedy appearing in a picture of Rudy Giuliani, a pro-abortion Republican (hello big tent!), means that Kennedy might be secretly pro-abortion too. Unlike Wetterling, Kennedy has a record to fall back on.