Saturday, August 21, 2004

In Defense of 527s

If you're a Kerry supporter, it's hard to like 527 organizations right now. 527 Groups are basically associations of people who spend money getting their voices heard during an election cycle. They're not impeded by campaign finance laws, so long as they don't coordinate their activities with the campaigns. The veterans who have been lying about Kerry's Viet Nam record are a 527 organization, called Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.

Bush has been asked, repeatedly, to condemn the message of this group. Bush has, so far, refused, preferring instead to talk about the issue of 527s generally and to call for their abolition. Basically, he's dodging the question so that his supporters will be free to attack Kerry's war record without Bush having to do it. And, Bush, of course, can't attack Kerry's war record because... well, we all know why by now -- he's a draft dodger!

But, even though the Swift Baot Veterans, funded by two Texas real estate tycoons who also serve (alongside Enron's Kenneth Lay) as trustee's of George Bush 41s Presidential library, are attacking my candidate at the moment, I think it's a mistake to take out our anger on 527s in general.

There's a higher principle at stake than electoral politics -- freedom of speecgh trumps all, in my view. But, for freedom of speech to be protected, it has to cut evenly. The Swift Boat Veterans have the right to question Kerry's war record, even if they're wrong. Kerry's supporters have a responsibility to refute the Swift Boat Vets. By the same token, I have the right to call our current President a hypocritical draft dodger. And I'll gladly entertain debate on that topic.


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