Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Busby comes close, Smearbund jumps into action

It was always a toss up for Francine Busby to take the race in California's 50th Congressional District. That it was a toss up was an indication of how far the Republicans have fallen. In the end the Republican ended up with 49.5% and Busby received trailed close behind at 45%. Busby is correct when she said: "We've sent a message that there are no safe seats." The Republicans had to throw millions of dollars and massive numbers of campaign workers into this campaign at the last minute to save the seat and even then they barely won and more voters voted for opposition candidates than for the Republican.

One group, calling themselves the Free Enterprise Fund Political Action Committee said that the victory for the Republican is a victor for free market economics. I'm all in favour of free markets. In fact I bet I support them more than this fund actually does. But I'm not sure that anything that keeps the big government Republican Party alive is good for free enterprise. The deficits and spending culture of the Republican Party, along with the massive expansion of government under Republican rule, would indicate that a victory for Republicans is a defeat for free enterprise. Far better for the Republicans to lose most their seats and make way for a new party that does support free enterprise in actual practice -- which Republicans do NOT.

As a classical liberal I don't like the Democrats on economics. I used to like the Republicans on economics but now they are bad on just about everything. They have never been so consistent in my entire life. Unfortunately they are consistently wrong. So while I supportede a Republican defeat I did not feel too thrilled by the prospects of a Busby victory. So I was not partial to either side, I just wanted to see the Republicans lose more than I did the Democrats. So there is one issues I didn't blog about because I didn't have a perspective or the facts.

At the very last minute the Republicans engaged in a classic "Karl Rove" smear campaging against Busby. Rove's tactics have always been smear and snear tatics devoid of intellectual content and usually devoid of facts as well. This one was pretty damn close to that as well. The claim went out, and spread among the Right very quickly, that Busby was encouraging illegal immigrants to vote for her. I read numerous Right wing writers making this accusation and Left-wing writers denying it. What I couldn't find was what was said and what was the context. Now I have both. The Republicans, at best, are distorting what she said. My experience is that most the web pundits had no information and merely repeat what they say. Both Left and Right tend to do that. I try to research before commenting. So, as Paul Harvey would say, here's the rest of the story.

Busby was encouraging people at a rally to help her campaign. A man asked: "I want to help, but I don't have papers." Whether he meant he has no "papers" at all or merely didn't have any with him at the time are unclear. Of course there was a day when "papers please" indicated a Gestapo state not a free society. Notice the man did not ask about voting at all. He said he wanted to help her campaign and that is all he asked about. The man has not been identified but Right wing Republicans have trumpted that he is obviously an illegal immigrant. Possibly? Possibly not? I don't know and neither do they. It is also possible that he was a Republican who asked a quesition in that manner just to set Busby up? I'm not saying that either. I'm saying that anything we say about who this man is, and what his legal status in the country is, and what is motivation is, are pure speculation. I can speculate but I don't know and neither do the members of the Smearbund (to borrow a term used by the Old Right leader John T. Flynn).

Busby responded and clearly misspoke and corrected herself immediately. She said: "Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you all can help. You don't need papers for voting. You don't need to be a registered voter to help." So she was talking about helping in the campaign. She said "help" twice to begin with then misspoke and said "vote" but then went back and corrected herself and said that one doesn't need to be a voter to "help". I don't think she was trying to encourage taxpaying, workers without government work permits to vote illegally at all. I think she made a small error and corrected herself and the Smearbund went into overdrive to do as much damage to her campaign at the very last second as possible.

Of course my conclusion is based on the evidence as it stands. We may learn more and I hope we do and I'm ready to change positions if the evidence indicates I'm wrong. But unlike the Smearbund I was unwiling to make the claims without having some evidence with which to work.