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RUBE ROAST! Just how dumb is the Washington Times? Check today’s front page on Kerry:


FRENCH TOAST: How stupid are readers of the Washington Times? Today’s front page helps answer the question. Complete with color photo and a helpful map, the Times lays out a disturbing taleJohn Kerry sometimes summered in France as a child! Indeed, the mayor of St.-Briac-sur-Mer, a tiny French town, is actually a cousin of Kerry! The tale is disturbing from start to end. Here is the start of the problem:

BRYANT: The son of a U.S. diplomat, French-speaking Mr. Kerry spent part of his childhood in Europe, attending boarding schools in Switzerland and spending holidays [in France], biking and fishing with a flock of Gallic cousins.
The troubles only mount as Elizabeth Bryant digs deeper into Kerry’s troubling family:
BRYANT: At the La Sagesse retirement home, 95-year-old Pauline Briand remembers well Mr. Kerry’s grandmother, who ate French biscuits, spoke fluent French and walked a pair of corgis daily through the village.
If you don’t know why this is on page one, you’ve been living on Neptune the past two years. How stupid must you be to read the Times? Clearly, editors who put such clowning on page one take their readers for complete, screaming idiots. But the electorate is filled with such willing rubes. Read on for the latest from Hannity.

ROOTING OUT EVIL: How stupid must you be to swallow Sean Hannity? Last night, the sensitive pundit was deeply disturbed by all the recent liberal hate speech. Deeply troubled, he challenged Jerry Brown at the start of a segment:

HANNITY: I’m going to put up on the screen a series of quotes. Just bear with me. Give me a little patience here. And then I want you to respond, because these are the prominent leaders of the Democratic Party.

And the first one I want to put up is John Kerry. And he said the following: “What we need is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but we need regime change in the United States.”

And I want to put up Ted Kennedy: “This war”—meaning the one in Iraq—“was made up in Texas,” he said, announced in January. The Republican leadership is going to take this place, and he said to help the Republicans politically. In other words, it was concocted in Texas.

Dennis Kucinich said, “We did not authorize the bombing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on September 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in Afghanistan.”

And the last one I'll put up is from Howard Dean, our good friend. “The most interesting theory that I have heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory—it can’t be proved—is that we were warned ahead of time by the Saudis,” meaning George Bush.

“I think this is liberal hate speech,” Hannity said. “Can you believe prominent members—not Michael Moore—leaders in your party, candidates for president, are saying these things about our president when we’re at war?” You could tell the pundit was deeply shaken by all the vile things the leaders had said. But as for Brown, he wasn’t buyin’. “In terms of all of those except probably the last one by Dean, I think they are reasonable, legitimate points of difference within our country,” he hatefully said.

Yep—Sean was troubled by all the vile speech. But at the end of the segment, he threw his shaken viewers a bone. “Later on in the show, you can find out a way to enter and you can win a free copy of my brand new book, Deliver Us From Evil,” he promised. “We’ll tell you how you can win a free copy, all coming up straight ahead.”

Here at the HOWLER, we emitted dark chuckles. After all, what’s the full name of Hannity’s book? Here it is: Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism. Amazing, isn’t it? According to Hannity, liberalism is “evil,” and must be defeated—just like terrorism, he says. Why, the next thing you know, some half-wit like Hannity will probably say that our teachers are “terrorists,” too!

Yes, you really have to be a fool to take a clown like Hannity seriously. But our electorate is full of people who do. And another Fox “all-star” is eager to play them…

NO SHRINKING VIOLET: Charles Krauthammer is also disturbed by all that liberal hate speech. On February 20, his Post column bore A troubled headline: “The Democrats’ Smear Race.” Like Hannity, he listed all the distressing speech vicious Dems have aimed at our president.

But Chuck, a lapsed shrink, is no shrinking violet. We chuckled when he fooled the rubes with the latest misstatement about Kerry:

KRAUTHAMMER: What, in fact, have the Republicans mustered? A single Internet ad about Kerry, the Senate's king of special-interest money, denouncing special interests. And one speech by the Republican National Committee chairman on Kerry’s conventional liberal (i.e. budget-cutting) positions on defense and intelligence.
Perfect, ain’t it! Chuck is disturbed by all the smears—so he instantly aims one at Kerry! No, Kerry is not “the Senate’s king of special interest money,” nor did Jim VandeHei’s recent article say that he was (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/24/04). Of course, since VandeHei’s article appeared in Krauthammer’s own Post, not the Washington Times, Chuck may not have actually read it.

Meanwhile, a reader questioned Brooks Jackson’s debunking of that claim about Kerry. As you may recall, VandeHei reported that Kerry received $640,000 in campaign contributions from lobbyists over the past fifteen years. But this hardly made him the Senate’s king of special interest money, Jackson said; after all, “Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist reported $1,022,063 in PAC donations for his 2004 campaign alone.” Here was the e-mailer’s question:

E-MAIL: As a constituent of Frist’s, I was wondering about the part of Brooks Jackson’s quote, “Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist reported $1,022,063 in PAC donations for his 2004 campaign alone”. Since Frist’s second term ends in 2006, he’s not running this year, and he’s repeatedly said that he would only serve two terms. Whatever could he be raising all that money for?
We can’t say why Frist is raising the dough, but we can clarify Jackson’s misstatement about his “2004 campaign.” First, a longer excerpt from Jackson’s piece, which focussed on the blatant inaccuracy of a recent Bush ad:
JACKSON: Individual lobbyists are only one category of donor normally classified as “special interests”…And Kerry refuses to take any money at all from political action committees (PACs), which are often controlled by lobbyists and which give far more in total than the individual lobbyists themselves. So far, for example, Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist reported $1,022,063 in PAC donations for his 2004 campaign alone, according to online tallies available as of Feb. 13 at the Center for Responsive Politics. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican whip, reported getting $1,316,670, Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle got $1,533,069 and Democratic Whip Harry Reid got $1,580,627. So the Bush ad’s claim that Kerry got more special interest money than other senators is simply false.
So you’ll know, all these figures represent contributions received from 1999-2004—a six-year period. But according to Krauthammer, Kerry’s $640,000—over the past fifteen years—made him the Senate’s top money-man! That’s what happens when bag-men like Krauthammer recite phony Bush campaign ads.

Bush’s ad pimped the first blatant misstatement of Campaign 04—and fakers like Krauthammer ran to recite it. Meanwhile, the Washington Post would wet its pants before it would make him correct his fake fact. According to Peter Beinart, Kerry actually ranks 92nd (out of 100) in Senate special interest money. Krauthammer changed 92nd to first. At the Post, that was close enough for comment on government work.

Annals of revisionist history

KLEINING AROUND: Of course, the Joe Kleins of this world enjoy playing you too. Remember—the insider press corps will never tell you the truth about its own performance. In the current Time, Klein types the latest airbrushed account of what happened in Campaign 2000:

KLEIN: Bush family operatives have done effective demolition jobs on two Democratic presidential candidates, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. The anti-Dukakis campaign was pure ideology. He was a Massachusetts liberal, a “card-carrying member of the A.C.L.U.” He was soft on crime; he opposed the Pledge of Allegiance. The anti-Gore campaign was pure character. The Vice President was a phony who couldn’t even figure out what to wear—remember earth tones? He was a liar, an exaggerator—remember how he invented the Internet? He was “uncomfortable in his skin.” The anti-Kerry campaign will be a little bit of both, but the real emotional traction will involve character more than ideology.
Klein is right—about Dukakis. In Campaign 88, it really was Bush and his operatives who successfully carved up The Duke. “A card-carrying member of the ACLU?” That quote comes from Bush’s own speeches. “Soft on crime?” Willie Horton was created by Bush’s speeches, and by TV ads made by Bush and Bush friends.

But Klein is lying in your face about Campaign 2000. In that campaign, it was not “Bush family operatives” who carved up Gore; it was Klein and the rest of the mainstream press, as Klein knows perfectly well. “Remember earth tones?” Yes we do; they didn’t start with Bush and his men, who rarely mentioned this utter foolishness. This theme started with Ceci Connolly in the Washington Post, then was instantly echoed throughout the mainstream press. “Invented the Internet” began at the RNC—but it instantly jumped to the mainstream press, and it was they, not Bush or his associates, who recited it over the next twenty months. These two campaigns were vastly different. But Klein and his cohort will never admit what actually happened in Campaign 2000. How dumb must you be to trust Joe Klein? We’ll let you work out the comparisons.