Fight Club, GOP-Style
Looks like the unreliable rag that foisted the Arkansas Project on America is trying to turn Democrats against each other!
by Tamara Baker
July 4, 2003 -- SAINT PAUL (apj.us) -- You gentlefolk may already know about the questionable American Spectator article that tries to claim -- by quoting suspiciously-anonymous "Kerry advisors" who may or may not actually exist -- that Kerry is doing GOP-style oppo research on Howard Dean, looking for some sort of evidence that Dr. Dean performed, or was involved with, any abortions during his time as a practicing physician.
The piece, printed by those folks who gave us the "Arkansas Project," is designed to make Deanizens and Kerry supporters fight each other instead of Bush:
Here's a brief sample:
Kerry's folks have begun intensive opposition research on Dean, sending staff to Vermont to pull together whatever dirt they can find out about not only Dean but also his wife, who continues to work as a physician in the state.
"It's early, but not too early to start taking him down a notch," says a Kerry staffer. "We've gone head to head with Dean in debates, we've tried to shout them down and shut them up, and they are still hanging around. We're going on the offensive."
Again, note that these staffers are all unnamed.
And keep in mind that it's to the GOP's advantage to see Dean and Kerry fighting.
Spread the word: Don't fall for this.
R. Prichard of Salon's "Table Talk" message boards also points out that Tim Russert's otherwise-inexplicable questions to Dean concerning Dean's professional involvement with abortion can only make sense if Russert and American Spectator are either working together, or getting their marching orders from the same RNC source:
What the Am. Spectator piece is about is abortion. If Dean is the candidate, the Rove team will wait until the last days of the campaign to flood the country with paid media ads screaming, "Are you ready to have TWO ABORTIONISTS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!?!" -- and they'll use their stooges in the press corps to blame KERRY for allegedly having brought up the issue.
You can be sure they're already feeding the press corps with tales of how Kerry is planning to smear Dean for having counselled abortions. The first blow was struck by Russert when he grilled Dean about having counselled a 12 year old patient to get an abortion without parental consent.
But to keep from alienating suburban women, they'll have to divert the blame for raising the issue to somebody else, e.g. Kerry.
My father was the western Kansas chair for the campaign of Dr. Bill Roy for Senate against Bob Dole. Roy was ahead near the end of the campaign when -- during a debate -- Dole very dramatically asked Dr. Roy about having performed abortions. Roy, who had performed a few of what were then called theraputic abortions, handled the answer well -- but on the Sunday before the election the Dole campaign put grotesque fliers accusing Roy of baby murder on the windshields of cars parked outside of churches all over the state. It worked.
I don't know if either Dr. Dean has performed abortions, but my take on it is that the Dems should deal with the issue right now. If they ignore this warning in THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, they'll allow the press to do their dirty work in shielding Bush by blaming Kerry. And if Dean is the candidate, they'll set themselves up for the Dr. Roy treatment if they don't handle the issue early.
Heads-in-the-sand about the abortion issue re Dean is not an option. Never again can we let the Spectator crowd set the agenda.
I'd forgotten about Russert's grilling Dean on abortion (see the emphasized sentences above).
This all smells like highly coordinated RNC/Roveian oppo -- be on the alert, and warn your friends in the Dean and Kerry camps about what's up.