John Kerry, Advocate of Crime?

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Not willing or clearly, though, but according to One Hand Clapping, an FEC official has made a statement that what John Kerry has been insisting President Bush do is arguably illegal. Kerry has repeatedly been asking him to call the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to tell them to stop running those ads. Technically speaking, that might count as coordination under some interpretations of the law, and coordination is the very thing Bush has been accused of all along (with no evidence, of course, and it's been striking that closer ties between the Kerry campaign and moveon.org haven't been relevant for Kerry or his supporters). So I was right when I said it would be immoral for him to do what Kerry has asked, but I didn't realize all the reasons I was right! Now this isn't all Kerry has been asking Bush to do, and that's still an independent debate (that I've already been having a couple posts ago) on that issue, but this is one thing people better stop saying Bush needs to do if it's quite possibly illegal.

Quite humorous is the last bit Donald mentions in his post. He wonders if Kerry's call to these people to cut it out counts as coordination. Hmm. I wonder if even the renunciation of them is coordination. One reason to think so is that it's a candidate's attempt to affect how such third-party speech goes that the law is designed to prevent. So if this is technically illegal, it's not merely on a technicality. There's something that it does that really is against the spirit of the law. So I think Bush has actually taken the legal high ground by not commenting on the content of the ads and merely saying things that contradict them (which as far as I'm concerned does count as renouncing the content without illegally renouncing anything about an ad or group that he might not legally be allowed to say anything about).

He's not letting even the hint of illegality show, not that it will stop the mention of such by the conspiracy theorists like Howard Dean who assert that Bush has personally organized this as a careful effort, when no evidence to show any real connection between the campaign leadership and this group has surfaced, while clear evidence of coordination between the Kerry campaign and moveon.org has even been on the DNC website! Conspiracy theorists don't know how to see anything outside their grid, though, and even when there's no evidence for their claims it's enough for them that the grid itself supports them. This can and does happen on the right, just to acknowledge that it's not a left-wing phenomenon, but it seems to me to be more prominent among more left-thinking people, including (which is suprising to me) many academics, who should be known for more careful thinking.

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I do not see how it is possible to construe Bush saying "I disagree with the content of this ad and I neither support nor condone the running of this ad" as any sort of coordination. By its very statement he would be denying coordination. I would think that such a statement would avoid any "hint of illegality" while simultaneously satisfying all who have asked him to renounce the SBVfT ads.

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