Posted by: mutantpoodle | September 19, 2007

Newsbits: Minnesota Panic, Giuliani misses the point, Fact-checking the fact-challenged…

dog-on-newspapers_smIt’s 14 months until the next Federal election, but on the theory that (a) it’s never too early to panic and (b) no accusation is too transparently stupid to attach one’s name to, the Minnesota GOP is criticizing DFL Senate candidate Al Franken for…wait for it…having a fundraiser.

OK, that’s a small oversimplification. They’re criticizing him for having a fundraiser hosted by an heir to the RJ Reynolds fortune. This, after Franken had criticized GOP Senator Norm Coleman (who, but for a tragic plane crash in 2002, would have been licking his wounds from losing to Amy Klobuchar in 2006) for his special-interest contributions.

Now, it would be nice if politicians didn’t have to pimp themselves for money – it makes for a system of access that’s easily corruptible, and, arguably, inherently corrupt. But there’s having a rich person host a fundraiser, and there’s taking corporate PAC money. If you can’t tell the difference, then apparently you’re the Minnesota Republican Party.

Coleman is currently polling ahead of both Franken and Mike Cerisi – but isn’t topping 50%, a danger sign for an incumbent. And he’s got to be nervous: it’s not like the national GOP standard-bearer is a font of popularity, and he’ll have to defend much Bush-enabling during his career.

But he’s going to need to throw something else against the wall – this one isn’t sticking.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, fresh from his well-targeted outrage at thousands of US dead and injured in Iraq the deterioration of civil liberties under the Bush Administration a newspaper ad in the New York Times, has gotten into a bit of a tiff with Moveon.org, which paid for the ad in question and has authored an ad about Rudy’s own history stiffing the Iraq Study Group. (See the Moveon ad here.) Initially purchased for broadcast in Iowa, where Rudy is, shall we say, not leading, it’s now scheduled for national air on CNN.

Now Rudy, full of bluster, is claiming that he’s Moveon’s worst nightmare: a Republican who can win the general election. Which is, of course, his entire attraction for Republican voters.

Well, that, and the creepy authoritarianism.

I’m thinking that this is Rudy’s best play at the moment, but the ad is devastating in its (accurate) depiction of Rudy as a greedy hypocrite, and since he’s already gotten flack for his delusions of 9/11 rescue-worker status, the mud is highly likely to stick.

And it’s mud that he threw at himself.

Finally, the Washington Post is debuting today a fact-checking blog by Michael Dobbs. First up? Frederick of Hollywood (props to Digby for the perfect Fred Thompson nickname, besting my entry, Right Said Fred), for his claim that Americans had “shed more blood for other people’s liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world.”

OK, so it’s a fat pitch, and Dobbs goes after it with gusto. Thompson gets a full four Pinocchios for this one…

Sam Brownback and Mike Gravel make appearances, too. It should be a fun 14 months.

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