The Republican National Committee has learned well from Karl Rove and his brand of politics. As you may know, Rove started using “shadow groups” in Texas several years ago and he brought his bag of tricks onto the national stage in 2000 and further refined his handiwork in 2004. We all recall the attacks on John McCain by Rove and his group of thugs in 2000 and the vicious attacks on John Kerry in 2004. I am convinced the so-called “Swift Boat” attacks on Kerry were largely responsible for providing a second term for President Bush.
Now we see another of the right-wing shadow groups, Freedom’s Watch, coming on to the scene in a warm-up for the Obama-McCain race. This group has already been on the attack using a bag of Rove-style tactics. Freedom’s Watch, a $250 Million group headed by Ari Fleischer, was heavily involved in a smear campaign in Louisiana against the Democratic candidate in the special election to fill a Congressional seat. The tactics were rejected by the voters and the Democrat, Don Cazayoux, won the race handily. While the Louisiana win has been called a major upset by some of the political experts, I really think it was a rejection of the Rove-style politics. In any event, it’s a good sign for November. Interestingly, the ads run by the NRCC and Freedom’s Watch were virtually identical. The smear campaigns were heavily financed and were typical Rove.
I am not sure if Freedom’s Watch was involved in the special congressional election in Mississippi – where another major Democratic victory occurred in a Republican district – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. The Republican campaign in Mississippi involved some of the same smear tactics that had been used unsuccessfully in Louisiana. I doubt that this was just a coincidence.
In case you have forgotten who Fleischer is, he served as press secretary for President Bush and has been heavily involved on the national scene since leaving the Bush Administration. Freedom’s Watch is being run by Carl Forti a long-time Republican Party operative who is very well-versed in the business of political dirty tricks. The NRCC has to know that the American people are fed up with the Bush Administration and are demanding change. A wave of momentum is building and Rove and his gang will do anything to stop it. My advice to folks is to be a little suspicious of any group that adopts a name that sounds “patriotic,” but in reality plays the political game in an underhanded manner. Freedom’s Watch is one such group and it should be exposed for what it really is!
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