Hypocrisy in action
Saturday, Jun 26, 2004
For those of you following online politics, it's been an interesting couple of days between, the Re-elect George Bush site, and Amidst the harsh language and finger-pointing about Hitler imagery, here's the lowdown:

Last October, sponsored a competition "Bush in 30 Seconds" for ordinary people to create their own commercials critical of the Bush presidency. 1,300 people and groups of people made such films, and the ads were put online for judging. Two of those spots had allusions to Hitler and Nazi Germany.

The Bush campaign and the RNC took great offense to any comparison of Hitler's regime to the current administration, and vocally denounced these two spots. In response, removed the two movies from their site.

Now, eight months later, the front page of the Bush campaign's site features an ad denouncing the 'attack ads' from the Kerry campaign, by showing clips not from the campaign, but from various entries in the competition (including both of the removed Nazi-related ads), a clip of Michael Moore accepting his Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, and other clips completely unaffiliated with the Kerry campaign.

Even more interestingly, the 'Bush in 30 Seconds' competition took place before the primaries, at a time when's own poll, held to determine who they should endorse for the Democratic nomination, overwhelmingly supported Howard Dean. John Kerry took a distant third place behind Dennis Kucinich.

The DNC, seeing the Hitler imagery on the Bush home page, vociferously denounces the Bush campaign for using Nazi imagery, and calls for democrats to sign a petition to get the placement removed while studiously ignoring the fact that the imagery is ostensibly being used as a case example of how Kerry's campaign is one built on negativity and attack ads.

In response, the Bush site modifies the ad on their home page to make it very clear that the clips being shown weren't produced by the Bush campaign, by labeling them as coming 'from,' but omitting the fact that the ads weren't created by, and that took the clips off their site at the Bush campaign's request months ago.

The real shame here is that both sides, filled with very intelligent people, act like they're preaching to idiots who will believe the more sensational voice, and won't look beyond their words. The Republican leaders are happy to point to the ads and say "Look! They're comparing us to Hitler! They're evil!" when they know that the ads weren't created by Moveon, and were quickly pulled. The Democrats on the other hand are saying "Look! They're using imagery of Hitler on their home page! They're evil!" while ignoring the fact that the imagery is being displayed as an example of work created by (presumably) a democrat, and that it was pulled as requested last year, after being on the site alongisde hundreds of other ads for only a few days.

I just watched the episode of The West Wing entitled '20 hours in America' where one of the themes was that the campaign leaders were spending so much effort trying prove they're superior to the other guy, that they don't focus on the actual needs and concerns of real people. Sadly, that's exactly what I feel here, and that neither side is noble nor just, because each is only willing to tell as much of the truth as needed so that they look like the righteous ones.

We deserve better than this from our campaigns, regardless of who you favor.

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
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