The attack by Mark Crispin Miller on Rush Holt is an uncomfortable reminder of other propaganda pieces that I've seen. When I was in high school, I analyzed a speech by Father Coughlin, a virulent anti-Semite who had a national radio program in the 30s. In his hit piece on Rush Holt, Mark Crispin Miller uses some of the same tactics that Coughlin used.
Here is a list of some of Miller's tactics, followed by quotes from the Miller article:
Guilt by association:
His [Holt's] various reforms would not prevent such further theft. If they did, you can be sure the Busheviks themselves would be attacking him and HR 811 with their usual ferocity. That they aren't doing so should make quite clear that they don't fear his bill, because it poses no real threat to their ongoing efforts to subvert American democracy.
Claims of omniscience (Mark Crispin Miller seems to know what Rush Holt thinks and
First of all, he [Holt] has no fear that Bush & Co. will steal more elections in the future because he has convinced himself they have stolen no elections in the past.
More guilt by association + mind reading:
If he knew about the vast extent of BushCo's fraud, he wouldn't have come up with such a porous bill; and the same goes for most, if not all, of HR 811's remaining supporters.
An implicit accusation of corruption:
As Paul Lehto has informed me, it just so happens that a company called Avante International appears to be headquartered in Holt's district, and that Avante is positioned to make money if Holt's bill should pass and the machines should all be fitted out with "paper trails."
Another suggestion of corruption, or at the very least incompetence. I find the following especially offensive, given Holt's long history of working against secret software:
In other words, companies like Microsoft, Diebold and ES&S had problems with the early version of Holt's bill; and Holt himself not only listened to them, but obliged them, so that his "election reform" bill would now make our system even more undemocratic than it is already. Of this development Holt's office made no public mention, as if those private companies' dictation of the law was no big deal.
Does Miller really think that Holt was happy with having to compromise? Where was Miller years ago when Holt started trying to make our elections more secure and accurate?
Ignoring reality and past history.
The quote below demonstrates either naiveté or a willful ignoring of political reality. I have never seen a single piece of legislation where the key author consulted more with members of the community than Holt has with the various incarnations of his bills. The legislative process requires strategizing to a) retain as much of the good stuff as possible against some very powerful and well-financed opponents and b) get a decent bill passed.
So why on earth would Holt or his staff person, Michelle Mulder, consult with known opponents? And, yes, people like Miller have made Holt's and Mulder's task much harder.
And this, Holt's counsel says, is not Holt's problem. In fact, it's/ our/ fault, for not having "lobbied very heavily" for our position (which would have been a little hard, since Holt's people have consistently refused to talk or listen to the bill's opponents).
Guilt by association, an unidentified accuser, and an attack over an irrelevant issue.
I guess that the fact that Holt believes that impeachment (presumably of Bush or Cheney or both - the "friend" quote isn't clear) will not succeed in a Congress in which Republicans have the power to stop any legislation in the Senate (by defeating cloture votes) is additional evidence that Holt is not to be trusted.
From a friend re: Monday's meeting with Rush Holt about impeachment:
The meeting today (Monday) with Rush Holt went badly. He agreed they did all these wrong bad awful things. But said nothing could be done about it. That it couldn't be proved, that it was a non-starter. Told us the people needed to be educated. We told him current polls, he did not believe it. Said they were doing hearings to educate. Denied it was Congresses job to do this. Denied that it was a party line. Linda as very calm and praised his leadership. We said not one word about the controversy over the voting - but that was clearly there. He said he got a flood on the blogs after our forum. I was very confrontational and gave back every argument and documented with the latest polls. We all disagreed with his analysis, he even told us to get other friends. He said we were in a bubble, No one he knows thinks the way we do.
Miller also quotes emails from Mulder out of context and presumably without
permission. That's a nice touch.
Whatever your position on the Holt bill, the Miller article is a nasty piece of propaganda.