A Text Ad By Any Other Name

Zephyr Teachout on politics:

It's the most imperfect art, and you really have to get down in the gutter. I love how, at the same time that it's just this ugly sport, at the core its aspirations are so high. Listening to so many different people express their political views is very moving. We're political animals. I like that -- 'political animals' -- it expresses it in one phrase. The highest and the lowest.

To call attention to yesterday's entry on Teachout, I bought a Google text ad keyed to her name:

Zephyr Blows
Fact-checking the claim that Dean
bribed two liberal bloggers

A few people think this is a low blow, so I'm bringing it up for discussion here.

I bought the ad to redress a libel. People who search Google for her name this weekend are highly likely to be looking for one thing: The dirt on her inflammatory claim to have explicitly bought good press for the Dean campaign from Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong. I think the facts deserve as wide an airing as possible.

Right-wing ideologues will be riding this smear for days. First Bill O'Reilly, Robert Novak, and Hugh Hewitt this weekend; next Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on their radio shows tomorrow.

No other search terms are as directly associated with this controversy as her name. When it blows over in a few days, the ad will of course be dropped.

I'll admit that the choice of headline, which I also used here, is playing hardball. Jeff Jarvis might even say that it's (gasp) uncivilized.

But I think it's time that liberals learned from the Swift Boat veterans and their amphibious assault on Kerry's war record. The Dukakis doctrine doesn't work: If you ignore scurrilous and irresponsible attacks in the belief that people are too reasonable to give them credence, you're going to get beaten like a drum.


This disappointed democrat is definitely behind you, because if we don't learn from the past...

I think it's a clever way to draw attention to the problem.

I've been writing about Zephyr at my blog, but I haven't gotten around yet to explaining what her most grievous sin was: indiscretion.

Any Democrat who ever allows her to work on their campaign in the future is crazy. Whether you take money or volunteer, you don't talk out of turn!

As far as I'm concerned, Zephyr Teachout is now a permanently retired party activist, and I will accord her all the respect I would give a K Street lobbyist: little or none.

The ad was a brilliant move and I thank you for it.

The way to beat scum is to be scum, is that it?

Well congratulations -- you've shown how to live in the shit with the best of them.

The sad part is that, even though the bloggers were clean in this case, Kos had enough dirt built up from his own words ("screw them") that it wouldn't have made much difference.

Same with Kerry. The focus on Kerry's Vietnam record didn't happen until well *after* Kerry himself decided to run on it (which was a silly thing to do in the first place). If he hadn't "reported for duty" and instead played down the whole thing, he would have been safe.

Firstly, this is not like the SwiftVets since she's not slamming for the other side.

Secondly, that choice of headline sucks (pardon the recursiveness). It just does.

Thirdly, people need to stop whipping themselves into a frenzy. There goes Kos' credibility and Zephyr's political career.

Actually, neither are 'gone', but still.

In any case, the only post with any insight about this is here:

The gnashing about ethics this and liar that are just a big non-event. Or should be.

Rogers, even though I sit here thoroughly astounded that you still can't grasp the truth of the old weblogs.com shituation (my GOD, man. Nobody in the blogosphere believes that "outage" hooey. LET.IT.GO.), I will say that although your choice of title was rather overplayed, I agree with what you've done in principle.

Democrats need to close the gap between what they give and what they get.

It's a little strange to have people telling me how I should describe an event that happened on my server. I was there. You'd think I would be a reliable eyewitness.

As for Kerry's war record, Merrie Spaeth and the Swift Boat vets were preparing that ambush long before Kerry had run in a single primary.

John O'Neil and the others have been nursing a grudge over his post-war protests for 30 years.

The "reporting to duty" bit was smarmy, like a lot of Kerry gestures intended to humanize him. But he had to run strongly on his war record, because it was admirable and to do otherwise would have given the GOP a chance to define it.

Look at what they did with one thing he didn't talk enough about: his Senatorial career. The GOP made it sound like he wasn't proud of it, which is exactly how they would have played any reticence on his part to mention Vietnam.

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