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The political smear: why does the Right use it better than the Left?

Posted by Adam Ash on August 31, 2005 10:29 AM (See all posts by Adam Ash)

I’ve noticed a peculiar difference between rightwing and leftwing political attacks.

Whereas both the left and the right are equally adept at calling each other names (on the Blogcritics site, for example), the strategy of The Big Smear -- the broad wipe of a very personal and dirty accusation -- seems to be almost exclusively rightwing.

Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing commentators are consistent practitioners of The Big Smear. Notice the personal smears dumped all over the head of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother of dead Iraqi soldier Casey Sheehan. Leftwing commentators appear to largely steer clear of The Big Smear, as much as they like to indulge in name-calling. They seem to get enough kicks from calling Bush a chimp, which is hardly a smear, unless you’re a chimp.

Whatever the differences between right and left, the master of The Big Smear, the all-time champion, is Bush’s political brain, Karl Rove.

Rove’s first known use of The Big Smear was when he masterminded George W. Bush’s victory over Ann Richards as governor of Texas. The Big Smear: Richards was a lesbian. And she had a lot of lesbians working for her.

No doubt Rove would’ve used The Big Smear in Bush Senior’s 1992 re-election campaign, but he was fired from that campaign over a leak to Robert Novak (yes, even then he caused trouble by leaking to Novak). Probably Bush Senior’s biggest mistake. He might’ve won if Rove had had an opportunity to use The Big Smear against Bill Clinton.

In the 2000 Republican primary between Bush and McCain, it’s widely believed that Rove masterminded a “push


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Maybe the discussion should retreat from a comparison of the right and the left and be focused on the function of government.

Power is what is granted to elected officials by way of the consent of the governed. Or so it is supposed to be.

During my lifetime (born 1952) I have seen the function of the American government evolve. I do not like what I have seen and my distaste is for the exact symptoms that Ash writes in his article.

The right desparately craves power, not to actually function for the common good of the people. What more proof of this do you need that Katrina and Iraq. No, the right wants CONTROL! The right HAS TO HAVE CONTROL and if the right has CONTROL anyone who opposes that CONTROL has to be diminished in any way possible.

I found Ash's article interesting and accurate to a degree. I do feel that he fails to go more deeply into the left's refusal to play the smear/big lie game along with Rove & Co. To my way of thinking, after 25 years of Reagan, Bush I, right leaning courts, the Republican Congress and now Bush II, it should be apparent to any sane American that Republicans, read right wingers, really only have the ability to run for office. That is basically because they get the most money from the richest few who bankroll their campaigns. Once these right wing Republicans actually take office, they have no clue as to what the function of government is all about. No wonder the first thing the right wingers always talk about doing is "privatizing". Pay the hired help, mostly the fat cats who bankrolled said campaigns, a big fee and let them pay peanuts to the people who actually do the dirty work. Isn't that the American way?
At least since 1980 anyway.

Just goes to show you that all political parties are just a bunch of like-minded robotic cry babies.

because you sound so Rove-spun . This issue is about getting America's troops out of an illegal , unjust, immoral war, regardless of party, it just happens that the Neocons are Republicans (this time). What's your issues?

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