Swift-Boat Liars for McCain

Today being the fourth anniversary of the first Swift Boat Liars for Bush advertisement that sunk John Kerry's 2004 campaign, Obama's campaign would be well advised to fight back harder against the foul Rovian smears emanating from the McCain camp. The airwaves are already being polluted with misinformation
(McCain's "canceled a visit with wounded troops" and "he's the biggest celebrity in the world" ads), Swift Boat liar Jerome Corsi is defiling bookstore shelves near you with an error-ridden anti-Obama screed, and our email inboxes have been under steady assault for months with tall tales of Obama being an unpatriotic Muslim socialist. Lori Robinson of FactCheck has written a great article about the (largely conservative) email chain letters with their "false, misleading, utterly bogus, and completely off-base claims:" has been investigating e-mail and other urban legends since 1995, and the site's founders, Barbara and David Mikkelson, have written articles about 31 e-mails about Barack Obama and Hillary (and Bill) Clinton. Only two e-mails were completely accurate. While a handful had elements of truth in them or couldn't be verified, the vast majority were flat-out false.

Another writer who debunks rumor and lore is David Emery, author of's Urban Legends page. He lists seven e-mails about Hillary Clinton and five about Barack Obama. His verdict: 12 false and misleading, 0 true.

We have yet to see e-mails about John McCain, and Emery notes a decidedly anti-Democrat tilt to the bulk of the e-mail chatter.

The GOP's minions are only getting warmed up for the campaign season, so here are some resources to help you separate truth from fiction:

Fact Check
FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)
Fight the Smears
Media Matters

update (11:16pm):
Over at Liberal Values, Ron Chusid quotes Obama responding to the GOP's distribution of tire pressure gauges as a mockery of his sensible suggestion to save gas by keeping our tires properly inflated:

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

Even better than Obama's response is Chusid's analysis:

Maybe the Republicans really do take pride in being ignorant. Just consider the types of things many of them think. Some still believe there was WMD in Iraq or that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attack. Some are ignorant of science and believe that intelligent design or creationism is a valid alternative to evolution. Some also demonstrate their ignorance of science by believing that the scientific consensus on climate change can be ignored because they don't like the findings. Some are so ignorant of our own history that they are unaware of the intent of the founding fathers to create a secular government with separation of church and state. Some are so ignorant of economics that they really think that all tax cuts will pay for themselves and do not realize that this is just a con used by those who want to pay lower taxes at the time without regard for the fiscal consequences. The really ignorant ones believe all the conservative smears against Obama, just as they believed the Swift Boat Liars and other smears against John Kerry in 2004.

Obama really is on to something in this response. Without ignorance we couldn't even have the current Republican Party.

Today's GOP: proudly carrying the banner of anti-intellectualism.


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