John Cusack’s McCain-Bush Challenge

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Not long ago, I chastised State Rep. Chuck DeVore for his involvement in funding (partially?) an anti-Obama/anti-Clinton TV ad produced by smearmaster Floyd Brown. The ad, which ran in North Carolina before the primary there, used opinion pieces and cherry picked quotations for its claims, which, in comments, Chuck challenged me to dispute the facts.  And when I did, he said the retort was weak.

Please click on the McCain-Bush challenge ad above featuring actor John Cusack.  A little more direct with the facts than Brown’s spot, so I’ll invite Chuck and Right Wingers to refute the facts in this spot too.

  43 comments for “John Cusack’s McCain-Bush Challenge

  1. Jubal
    June 17, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    “War profiteers”?

    I can’t believe Cusak left out “malefactors of great wealth.”

    You have to be kidding. Like the Lefties who get ginned up by this stuff are ever going to vote for McCain. This’ll work with all those voters who are already voting for Obama?

  2. June 18, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Matt/Jubal-

    I think you know what’s up. There are many undecided voters out there who really believe that McCain is a “moderate” who isn’t like Bush. Cusack and MoveOn are doing this to educate these folks about McCain’s real record. I mean, isn’t he a “true conservative”? I remember him calling himself conservative all the time during primary season.

    And btw, I have more on “The McCain Myths” at my new blog: http://clintonistasforobama.blogspot.com :-)

  3. Jubal
    June 18, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Andrew:

    I know the Obama strategy is to tie McCain to an unpopular president by claiming his administration would be a third Bush term. It’s a smart strategy.

    That doesn’t make it true. McCain isn’t an across-the-board conservative, and neither is he an across-the-board moderate.

    John Cusack can he’s just like Bush until he’s blue in the face. it doesn’t make it true.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    June 18, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Matt — McCain voted with Bush 100 percent of the time in 2008 and 89 percent of the time throughout the Bush term. McCain even thinks there’s a place for Dick Cheney in the McCain cabinent.

    If it look like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then Dick Cheney will shoot it.

  5. June 19, 2008 at 8:13 am

    “War profiteers”?

    I can’t believe Cusak left out “malefactors of great wealth.”

    This comment of Jubal’s has been bouncing around in my head for a couple of days. What, in his circle, is it *uncool,* or *retro,* to mention war profiteering? Has he been following all the missing billions, the shoddy and paid-for-but-never-done work, and the no-bid contracts which are pracically the hallmark of this stoopid war? What do we call all this, Jubal, if not war profiteering? If there’s a hipper term, one less reminiscent of Senator Harry Truman’s tirades, let us know!

    Too much, I realize, to expect you to have seen “Iraq For Sale” (which infuriated my Republican parents – in the right way that is)… but this invasion and occupation of Iraq has taken profiteering to such an unprecedented level that it sometimes seems like the war’s bloody raison d’etre.

  6. June 19, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Dan,

    By the way, I am chairman of a 527, not an express advocacy group. As such, I did not work to fund the ad you referenced. You ought to get your facts straight before you falsely claim my involvement in an effort I did not have any role in whatsoever.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assembly, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    June 19, 2008 at 11:56 am

    From a Bill Berkowitz story on MediaTransparency.org, 5/5/2008

    …On another front, a group called Citizens for a Safe and Prosperous America, headed by California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, teamed with Brown to attack both Obama and Hillary Clinton for wanting to raise taxes on the American people. According to DeVore, both senators “want to raise taxes. Americans should have this information and be aware of the other extremely liberal positions Obama and Clinton hold.”

    “The ad draws a parallel between Obama and Clinton’s records on taxes,” said Brown. “The bottom line is that they can’t deal with our economic problems by raising taxes. International competition cannot be addressed by raising taxes and raising the costs of business in America.”

    This is the two-sided coin ad. Produced by Brown. You head the 527 that paid for the ad, yet you had no role in it? Sure.

    Vern — Outstanding documentary reference!! I picked up Control Room at Amoeba Records in Hollywood cheap too. I also recommend “This Divided State,” “Shut Up and Sing,” and “God Spoke.”

  8. June 20, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Dan, the ad you initially criticized was not the same ad, so far as I could see. There are three entities in play. A 527 can raise unlimited amounts, but it is bound by more strict rules. As such, we can only use material that mentions actual policy positions and statements from the candidates. I am leading this effort.

    A different political vehicle, limited to $5,000 contributions, can do express advocacy. It was these ads that were apparently criticized when you wrote, “The ad, which ran in North Carolina before the primary there, used opinion pieces and cherry picked quotations for its claims.”

    The claims we made in the ad I helped fund were very simple: Obama and Clinton want to raise taxes (undeniably true), while Obama wants drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and Clinton wants national healthcare. Are these not, in fact, the policy positions of these candidates? I would be glad to hear that they are not, in fact, true policy positions of the candidates. From a January 17, 2008 article in a Nevada newspaper: “Hillary Rodham Clinton is accusing rival Barack Obama of proposing a $1 trillion tax increase with a plan to require high income earners to pay more Social Security taxes.” Was Clinton wrong? Or, was Clinton right, meaning the ad I helped fund is correct?

    Or this, from the San Francisco Chronicle on Janaury 28, 2008, “Sen. Barack Obama easily won the African American vote in South Carolina, but to woo California Latinos, where he is running 3-to-1 behind rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, he is taking a giant risk: spotlighting his support for the red-hot issue of granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.” So, is the San Francisco Chronicle wrong? Or is it correct, with my ad also being correct?

    So, what you are really saying is that telling the truth is a dirty trick when a conservative says it.

    What a piece of work you are, Dan.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  9. June 20, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    From an April 22, 2008 article in Time magazine:

    The new ad recounts the deaths of three Chicago residents in 2001 at the hands of criminal gangs. “That same year, a Chicago state senator named Barack Obama voted against expanding the death penalty for gang-related murders,” an ominous female narrator intones. “So the question is, can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?”

    This ad was not funded by my 527 as it was an “express advocacy” ad and, as such, cannot be funded by a 527.

    Again, do you dispute the three claims made in the ad I did help fund?

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    June 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Chuck ..I was only talking about your two-sided coin ad. I referenced the other ad as proof that Mr. Brown is less than honest about the truth.

    I do dispute the claim on raising taxes, because taxes will only be raised on the upper 2 percent of all taxpayers, not everyone as your ad suggests. Just saying “wil raise taxes” tests the truthiness mark. The driver’s license for illegals issue is more nuanced. Obama in his own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNvdOYl63q0 as his answer is far more nuaced than you suggest. Republicans have doen little to enforce bordersecurity or fine employers who hire undocumented workers.

    And national health care was a part of Hillary’s platform, but she’s out of the equation. But for what we’ve spent in Iraq, we could be offering some form of national healthcare for those who don’t have insurance or who are underinsured. We’re providing national healthcare for Iraqis in Iraq. Too bad we can’t do the same for Americans.

    Thanks for clearing up the express advocacy and 527 positions. Do you dispute anything that John Cusack says in his ad?

  11. Chuck DeVore
    June 20, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    I couldn’t care less what some actor who had a year of college has to say about politics. I go to see John Cusack, if at all, to get entertained. I don’t ever see myself relying on him for policy and political advice — if you want to, fine, you only help prove my point about Hollywood and liberals.

    Also, by your reply, I see you ignore Senator Clinton’s comments about Senator Obama’s positions. My ad said no more (but quite a bit less) than Clinton said about Obama during the campaign…

    Bye!

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District

  12. just...asking?
    June 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I couldn’t care less about some mystery writer has to say about national politics. In fact couldn’t care less about him being an assemblymember from California!

    But guess that’s why your book is selling for $0.25 in the (no)bargain bin…

  13. Chuck DeVore
    June 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Suit yourself. My book sold over 10,000 copies in Chinese in Taiwan. Retired as a lieutenant colonel intelligence officer. Have traveled to over 20 countries. Got a degree with honors in Stategic Studies from Claremont McKenna College. Served as a Reagan appointee in the Pentagon. Worked as the Senior Assistant to a U.S. Congressman. Graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Hey, if you want to get policy and political advice from a college dropout actor, knock yourself out! Again, you prove my point.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore

  14. June 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Taiwan? That’d be Mandarin. Chinese ain’t a language.

    Why Taiwan anyway? Did the book have a Taiwan plot?

  15. Paul Lucas
    June 21, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Chuck DeVore, on June 19th, 2008 at 11:30 am Said:

    Chuck DeVore, on June 20th, 2008 at 2:22 pm Said:

    Chuck DeVore, on June 20th, 2008 at 2:35 pm Said:

    Can some one tell Chuck to get back to friggin work and stop surfing the net on the damn job already??!! :o)

    All the best,

    Paul Lucas

  16. Dan Chmielewski
    June 21, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Chuck – you’re projecting Cusack’s ad into something it’s not. He is not giving policy advice, he’s asking people to look into McCain’s record. I missed the part where you said he was wrong about anything he said.

    I’m tired of your self-promotion of your book which seemed to get lousy reviews on Amazon from readers. Its a self-published tome, is it not?

  17. June 21, 2008 at 10:53 am

    well… in chuck’s defense it WAS “just asking” who brought it up.

    I feel, after pondering on Paul’s observation, that the busier we keep Mr. DeVore here, the less harm he can cause in Sacramento! :-)

  18. Dan Chmielewski
    June 21, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Chuck brings up a big misconception conservatives have about Hollywood. A big target for conservatives of all stripes, Hollywood is very business driven and is directed by national and global market forces. The success of failure of Hollywood movies or TV programs is determined by money; Americans vote with their wallets and pocketbooks. Hollywood actors may be a bastion of liberalism, but Hollywood responds to their markets, and being very business drivem Hollywood is generally pretty conservative about their money.

    Desperate Housewives is a top commercial TV hit. Sex and the City is a huge draw. Conservely, films like Hostel 2 and Red Dawn did lousy at the box office.

    I would certainly argue that Hollywood is a reflection of what their customers want.

    Curious Chuck, since our oldest kids are the same age, have you ever watched The Godfather with your oldest? It’s my son’s favorite film to the point of buying the Godfater Trivia game at B&N last night.

    Anytime you want to tell me what Cusack got wrong in the ad, I’m all ears.

  19. Jubal
    June 21, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Red Dawn did lousy at the box office.

    Actually, Red Dawn did pretty well. So did Rambo II back in that wonderful year of 1984.

  20. June 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Hey there you are Matt. Can you answer my question above? Is there a hip term now for war profiteering, or is it just a phenomenon that doesn’t exist?

  21. Jubal
    June 22, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Well, Vern, tell me under what circumstances providing goods and services to the DOD is not considered “war profiteering” by libs like you? Is it not war profiteering if it involves military action ordered by a Democratic Administration?

  22. June 22, 2008 at 12:44 am

    If it is done at a competitive rate, the work is completed, ideally there are a few companies bidding who are not all cozily connected to government officials, billions doesn’t just regularly vanish without a trace… all of that would constitute NOT war profiterring, lib or not.

    You should really try to watch Iraq for Sale. Most of the folks interviewed are contractors, military guys, conservatives, Republicans, all disgusted with what they’ve seen out there. I really think you’ve got huge blind spots when it comes to this war and this administration. More than you need to have as a Republican.

  23. June 27, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Hey Vern (had to say that), I know I’m not a college drop-out actor or anything like that that you’d look up to, but WRITTEN Chinese is all the same, Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. As I am sure you know, Chinese is a character-based language. Traditional written Chinese is mainly used in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Simplified Chinese is used in the PRC. The Chinese language version of my book, China Attacks, is written in Traditional Chinese characters which may be read aloud in Mandarin, Wu, Min or Cantonese. For the Chinese language edition, see: http://www.silkbook.com/main/content/4th.asp?goods_ser=sb0084448

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    California State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  24. Paul Lucas
    June 27, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Chuck,
    Go to bed already dude. :o)

  25. from a conservative
    June 27, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Dan says: “I would certainly argue that Hollywood is a reflection of what their customers want.”

    The following Hollywood liberal propaganda box office bombs are examples of what their customers do not want.

    The “political thriller” Rendition didn’t crack $10 million domestically and only made $5 million overseas!

    The Redford/Cruise/Streep big-star movie, Lions for Lambs – less than $14 million domestically, plus $20 million overseas! Whoopie !!

    Redacted, the Brian de Palma fiasco portraying American soldiers as rapists and murderers failed miserably.

    You are correct Dan, Hollywood is a reflection of what their customer’s want – and don’t want.

  26. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Geez Chuck, are you still here?

    BTW, Red Dawn only did $35 million at the Box Office in 1984, so I’m not sure what that translates into 2008 box office,but I made a slight error in the reference. I meant “Rescue Dawn” with Christian Bale. Lousy. Box. Office.

  27. Mike Tardif
    June 27, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Dan says: “I would certainly argue that Hollywood is a reflection of what their customers want.”

    The following Hollywood liberal propaganda box office bombs are examples of what their customers do not want.

    The “political thriller” Rendition didn’t crack $10 million domestically and only made $5 million overseas!

    The Redford/Cruise/Streep big-star movie, Lions for Lambs – less than $14 million domestically, plus $20 million overseas! Whoopie !!

    Redacted, the Brian de Palma fiasco portraying American soldiers as rapists and murderers failed miserably.

    You are correct Dan, Hollywood is a reflection of what their customer’s want – and don’t want.

  28. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 9:44 am

    And Fahrenheit 9/11 did $123 million in box office; your point again?

  29. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 9:44 am

    And Mike, Americas spend $11 billion a year on Porn; only $2 billion on politics.

  30. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I didn’t see your post at 6:30 AM Mike. And the comment was rude.

  31. Mike Tardif
    June 27, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Oh, you “didn’t see” my original posting. And that is why you didn’t put it up.

    It couldn’t possibly be that you were unjustly censoring my comment out. I will accept your explanation at face value.

    Then please post my “rude” and “very nasty” comment so your readers may judge. It is not fair of you to make such statements and not back them up with evidence.

    Very thin skinned bloggers indeed – “I want my mommy.”

    Get a life.

    PS: Please delete the important persons name when you post it. I do not go around posting important peoples names just to inflate my ego. You know that comment was not originally intended for posting. So with that caveat – post away !

  32. Liberal heart & soul
    June 27, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I for one would like to read this rude email. So why is it not being posted? Let us be the judge. Or are you afraid we won’t agree with you? We know how much differnt thinking isn’t much liked or tolerated here. But how about lets be fair, oh wait that isn’t tolerated here either ;(

  33. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Mike – I was in the shower at 6:30 and didn’t even log on until 8AM; I can’t censor what I didn’t see. And I usually start my day reading email and the blogs, not doing administrative stuff like approving messages.

    Thin-skinned?; look in the mirror pal. If you want immediate gratification, start your own blog

  34. Liberal heart & soul
    June 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Its not 6 am anymore Dan where’s my post to you at 4:34 pm…you just posted your own at 4:45 yours is here where is mine…did you just not see it. Wow maybe we should believe this conservative ouch!

  35. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    And Mike, how can you send us a note that says “don’t post this” and then send another note challeging us to post it? Make up your mind.

  36. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Mike –
    at the top of that note, you wrote “not for posting” so which is it?

  37. Mike Tardif
    June 27, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    To make this very clear to Dan – post the darn thing.

  38. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Knock yourself out Mike:

    Comment:
    Not for posting -

    Hey Dan are you going to put up my previous post ?

    I emailed it to Chuck – he knows that you have not put it up yet.

    I guess that you do not claim to be fair and balanced.

    Are you for censorship?

    I think the last two sentences were rude in light of the fact most of us were still sleepingwhen you posted. But please, go have another beer.

  39. June 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    FWIW, I also thought the comment was rude. And I also didn’t see the notification for either comment until later in the morning by which time the initial comment had been approved.

    A suggestion, if I may. Let’s all take a step back and a deep, slow breath and pause to count to 5 before banging on the keyboard again.

  40. Liberal heart & soul
    June 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Wow that was so rude, who does this Mike think he is?
    I am well aware this is a liberal blog since that is why I read it.
    I am in shock that you are all such cry babies.
    That was in all actuality in no way rude.
    The only people who seem welcome to comment here are the people that post the blogs.
    Seems to me that he was calling you on something, so then you decide to post it, seems fishy to me.
    I can see the question being very valid.
    If only there was another liberal site in the OC to post on :(.
    This site should be called The Liberal Lemmings OC

  41. Mike Tardif
    June 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Dan,
    Wow that was rude and very nasty.
    NOT !!
    Thin skinned bloggers, .. sheesh !

    Bill,
    Will I get a trial by jury? Or, do you make the final judgement?

    The evidence shows that Dan posted to his article 35 minutes before I sent him my, alledgedly, rude and nasty note for not posting my comment.

    He posted his comment and did not see mine posted a 1/2 hr. before his? Does the jury buy that?

    In jury selection we probably come up with 6 libs and 6 conservatives – sorry Bill, hung jury. Do you want to check with Tony R. to see if you should go for a re-trial?

    Dan – Are you buying the beer?

  42. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Cry-babies? Excuse me but mike is the one with his panties in a bunch because his posted didn’t go up just like that; he sends a nastygram with a tag “don’t post this” and then taunts us until we do.

    Mike, every one of your messages made it here; is that enough free speech for you? We censored nothing.

    Mike, I buy beer for my friends. Come to Drinking Liberally some night when I’m there; I’m known to buy the group a round.

  43. Mike Tardif
    June 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Dan – I will take you up on that – let me know when you will be there. mike@tardifsheetmetal.com

    I would like to meet you all.

    Second round is on me.

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