The attack ads mounted by the Independent Contractors and Business Association are nothing new. They are in fact a reflection of an era rapidly passing away in American politics. I refer specifically to the campaign launched against then Democratic Presidential candidate, John Kerry (a Vietnam war veteran), by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, in 2004.
This campaign led to a new term in the glossary of the political vernacular, “swiftboating” (meaning a political smear campaign).
As time has passed, it has become abundantly clear that the SBVT ads were not only mendacious and vicious, but were also being undertaken on behalf of the Republican Party candidate, George W. Bush. An early member, Steve Hayes, eventually left the group and voted for the man against whom its smear campaign was directed, John Kerry. He commented that the SBVT had morphed “…from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth”. John Kerry, having endured the outright slander directed at him by this group, was not destined to become President.
That honour went to a man who is now remembered throughout the world as the most destructive international leader in recent memory and the worst President in America’s history: George W. Bush. It was by the Bush campaign in Florida that fliers for SBVT events were distributed and it was Bush’s brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who wrote to a member of that group, thanking him for having supported his brother’s campaign through the SBVT.
So there is really nothing very novel about an ostensibly “independent” interest group seeing fit to orchestrate a smear campaign against a politician with whom they have ideological differences. While it is true that Adrian Dix backdated a memo, it is also true that he has repeatedly admitted this and apologized for his actions. Further, it is true that the resulting scandal over Premier Glen Clark’s deck was resolved and the principal cleared. Yet these advertisements continue to assault a public alienated by smear campaigns of all kinds in the realm of politics. I tend to think this tactic may prove a very expensive “own goal” by this organization and the political interests it is clearly serving. I hope and trust that both the ICBA and the governing party will heed this message and step up to a bar which has been raised by those in the political sphere unwilling to engage in such mudslinging.
I’m sure the ICBA will claim it is running these ads independently and that the current government has absolutely no hand or interest in them. What I know, though, is this: These ads are strikingly reminiscent of those which have been run by the governing party, itself. I also know that I’ve seen this movie before.
Jennifer Woodroff, Chilliwack