The Kerry campaign is gloating this weekend over the resignation of Bush-Cheney volunteer, former Vietnam War POW Ken Cordier, who's featured in the latest Swift Boat ad - saying it ‘proves’ illegal coordination between the Swift Vets' 527 group and the official Bush campaign.
But Kerry has no plans to fire Zach Exley, a key campaign staffer who served as the organizing director for MoveOn.org throughout the presidential primaries.
What's more, MoveOn, whose sole mission is to defeat President Bush in November, maintains that Exley is allowed to ‘communicate’ with the 527 group even as he works for the Democratic nominee.
"Colonel Cordier did not inform the campaign of his involvement in the advertisement," the Bush campaign said in a statement late Saturday. "Because of his involvement [in the ad] Colonel Cordier will no longer participate as a volunteer for Bush-Cheney '04."
But there's no doubt that Kerry knew all about Exley's background when he hired him.
In April the Kerry for President Web site proudly announced: "Zach Exley joins the [Kerry] Internet team as Director of Online Communications and Online Organizing. He was previously the director of special projects for the MoveOn.org."
Exley claims he won't communicate with MoveOn until after the election, but when he teamed up with Kerry, MoveOn's executive director, Eli Pariser, acknowledged that Exley will be able to make use of "what he's got in his head."
And a statement issued by MoveOn when Exley signed on with team Kerry insisted that "federal election rules permit some forms of communication" between Exley and the liberal 527.
As for the ideas that Exley has "got in his head" and will now be sharing with the Kerry campaign, his past credits include a political parody site that portrayed Bush as a crack user.
And that’s just one example. Reports the American Spectator’s “Prowler” column:
[A]ccording to a Kerry campaign volunteer, staff members and volunteers of the Kerry campaign in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles have been in almost constant contact with MoveOn.org staffers, including advanced viewing and reviews of MoveOn.org television commercials, online ads, and web content. As well, MoveOn.org staffers provided the Kerry campaign with opposition research within the past two months, as well as advance looks at speeches made by MoveOn.org speakers, including former Vice President Al Gore.
"We're always running into those guys," says a Kerry campaign volunteer in Washington, about MoveOn.org staffers. "We socialize with them, we see them at meetings, we can't avoid it. And of course we talk about the campaign. In some cities, we get our volunteers from MoveOn. No one has ever raised an issue about it.”
So all of a sudden strict adherence to the letter of campaign finance law matters again to the Democrats – when they see a chance to point the finger at Republicans for the express purpose of covering up their own gross, serial malfeasances. Nice.
But not surprising. The law, any law, is, to the left, simply another political tool to be used against its enemies, and otherwise disregarded whenever and however it suits their purposes. And it’s not a straw for which Team Kerry would be desperately trying to grasp if President Bush hadn’t signed the abominable Campaign Finance Reform Act into law in the first place – in direct contravention of an express 2000 campaign promise.
Indeed, Bush sounded uncharacteristically church lady-ish this morning in denouncing “independent soft money”:
“I think we ought to be debating who will best lead this country in the war on terror. I think we ought to be looking forward, not backward. That's the kind of campaign I am going to run.
“All the stuff on T.V. - this kind of unregulated soft money is wrong for the process. I asked John Kerry to join me in getting rid of all that soft money.
“I think Senator Kerry served admirably. He ought to be proud of his record. But the question is who can lead the country on the war on terror.
“It's that ad, and it's every other ad. I don't think we should have 527s.”
IOW, political speech should be restricted in bipartisan fashion. Which is objectionable on its First Amendment face, and naïve beyond belief since Democrats have no respect for the rule of law and will never “play fair” when political power is at stake. If he really believed that by signing McCain-Feingold he was crippling the Dems because of the GOP’s huge “hard” money advantage, the joke was on him.
Still, in this “controversy” it offers useful political cover, since it is a platform from which to expose the huge degree of illegal Dem-527 collusion (and their eight-to-one fundraising advantage) as well as providing a ready-made reason for Dubya not to specifically castigate the Swifties – namely, that it would be illegal as well, for the very same reason.
Here again, I would think that Team Kerry would recognize the necessity of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, pocket this partial concession, and, well, “move on.” But no; apparently this still isn’t good enough, as Opie Edwards surfaced from oblivion long enough to whine today:
"In 1968, John Kerry faced a moment of truth. And at that moment, he decided to put his life on the line and serve his country... Today George Bush faced his moment of truth and he failed. He failed to condemn the specific attacks on John Kerry's military record. We didn't need to hear a politician's answer. But unfortunately, that's what we got..."
I’m really struggling not to become overconfident about this stuff, but I have to pose the question: isn’t it an indication of how much trouble the Kerry people think their ticket is in that they are so desperate for their opponent to pull their bacon out of the fire they helped create?