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Brace Yourself for Swift Boat Season

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Autumn is such a lovely time of year. The kids are back in school, the trees are starting to turn, and the sights & sounds of football fill the air. I love autumn. The holidays are around the corner, the pennant race is heating up (although not for the Red Sox), and harvests are everywhere.

However, this autumn will be a little different because it's an election year. On November 7th many of us will be going to the polls to vote for who will be representing us in this bastion of freedom and liberty we call 'Democracy'. We'll be (s)electing the individuals who will be advocating for us, making decisions in our proxy, and communicating on our behalf to the rest of the world. Although we're not voting for president this year, we are voting for a good portion of the Congress (both Senate & House of Representatives) and this has every bearing on how effectively the president can execute his agenda.

As you know, for the entire George W. Bush presidency, both houses of Congress have been a Republican majority, giving George the green light to follow through with much of his neo-conservative ideals. You know - tax cuts for rich people; big-business / anti-regulation / anti-union / anti-environmental / anti-protection / anti-gay legislation; stacking the courts with ultra conservative judges; and all the rest of those things which have ballooned our deficit & debt, eaten away at the fabric of our Constitution, and reverberated anti-American sentiment worldwide.

Yes, it's the rubber stamp, Republican-controlled Congress that has given George (and his neo-con cabal) the green light to rev up the military-industrial-complex, unencumbered by pesky oversight, accountability, or competition (remember no-bid contracts?).

Yes, it's the lapdog, Republican-controlled Congress that sets the agenda, chairs the committees, and has the subpoena power. This is why the Downing Street Memos - clear and decisive evidence that Bush (and the neo-con cabal) lied us into war in Iraq with fabricated intelligence - didn't go anywhere. John Murtha tried to hold some hearings in the basement of the capital building, but that was it.

Oh, but I digress....

The point of my article today is to warn you. For those of you who haven't seen this Washington Post article, the next two months will be rather unpleasant if you watch any television or listen to any radio. I thank Jim Vandehei & Chris Cillizza for bringing this to our attention. Here's a small snippet:
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

And that says it all. Our airwaves will be filled with personal attack ads by Republicans in a desperate effort to retain control of Congress. Just as they did with the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" - a trumped-up, Republican-backed organization which lied profusely to discredit John Kerry (a veteran with 3 purple hearts) in the 2004 election. This was so blatant and disgusting that "Swift-boating" has become an adverb.

My message

Ladies & gentlemen, please don't get caught up in this right-wing, neo-conservative, Republican spin cycle. When you see and/or hear a personal attack on a Democratic candidate this fall, think not of that Democrat's ability to represent you in the light of their personal baggage. Instead, think of the slimy Republicans who drained special interest coffers to try to discredit their opponents in a desperate attempt to save their jobs, because they couldn't stand by their own merits to get (re)elected.
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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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