Bush Campaign Lies

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #57: John Kerry Politicizes the Patriot Act 

This appears to be the Bush campaign's attack of the week, with a new ad.

According to FactCheck.org, about the only statements in the Bush ad which are correct are that John Kerry voted for the Patriot Act, and Bush signed it into law. The ad makes two main charges against Kerry, both false.

  1. Pressured by fellow liberals, he's changed his position.
  2. Kerry would now repeal Patriot Act's use of wire taps, subpoenas and surveillance [against terrorists].
In support of the first claim, the Bushies provide the same evidence they did months ago, when they claimed that Kerry 'flip-flopped' on the Patriot Act. But as we discussed when debunking that lie, Kerry explicitly expressed concerns about the surveillance powers granted in the Patriot Act on the very day he voted for it. So there is no reversal in stating now that changes must be made to the surveillance provisions.

In support of the second claim, the Bushies provide . . . nothing. That's because there's no evidence, anywhere, that remotely suggests that Kerry wants to repeal the use of wire taps, subpoenas and surveillance against terrorists. What Kerry has advocated is stricter judicial oversight of such surveillance, which is a far cry from repeal of these provisions. FactCheck.org has the details, along with a discussion of the Republicans who agree with Kerry's point of view.

This is about the most bald-faced lie I've yet encountered out of the Bush campaign (but it's only May, I'm sure worse is yet to come).

Now, there's nothing better than following up a bald Bush lie with a hefty helping of Bush hypocrisy. In the supporting 'evidence' for the ad, the Bush folks try to convince us how great the Patriot Act is. The first statement comes from a Department of Justice web site which is dedicated to promoting the Patriot Act (could it be any more objective?), and claims among other things that '176 individuals have been convicted or pled guilty after being charged with terrorism-related crimes'.

That sounds really great. Except the Department of Justice has a track record of consistently inflating the numbers of folks arrested, charged and convicted under the Patriot Act by including crimes which had nothing to do with terrorism. In other words, the Bush campaign, via the DOJ, is lying about the efficacy of the Patriot Act in order to smear John Kerry. Does it seem to you that they're politicizing the Patriot Act a little bit?

Interestingly, although arrests and convictions which have nothing to do with terrorism still count under the Patriot Act, it would appear that civil rights abuses caused by the Patriot Act don't count. The final bit of evidence the Bushies give that the Patriot Act is so great is that although 'over 3,500' allegations of abuse have been reported to the DOJ, none of them 'had anything to do with a substantive provision of the Patriot Act.' Isn't that amazing? 3,500 people come forward to state that they had experienced civil rights violations related to the Patriot Act, and every single one of them was wrong.

But wrong they were. The Justice Department's Inspector General says so.

10:36 PM