Dictator Dubya now want to stop them using legal means
Um, he only made that statement because Kerry and the entire Democratic Party have been screaming for Bush to "denounce" the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and conservative 527s while giving MoveOn.org and liberal groups a pass. Bush's solution was elegant in that it shut up the Kerry camp but avoided endorsing or condemning the SVFT ads.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Not only does Kerry want the Swift Vet ads pulled off the air and the group shut down, his campaign even sent letters to publishers trying to stop Unfit for Command
from being printed and distributed. That's much closer to censorship than what the Bush campaign has stated.
Cooperation between the Bush campaign and the Swift Vets is no greater than that between the Kerry campaign and liberal 527s like MoveOn.org and America Coming Together. There has been considerable overlap between these groups, the DNC, and Kerry's staff (link
). The fact that a wealthy Texas Republican donated to SVFT is no more remarkable than George Soros pouring money into MoveOn.org as well as Kerry's campaign.
Under the ill-considered (and IMHO unconstitutional) McCain-Feingold Act as well as the First Amendment, 527s are legitimate political groups with the right to free speech. The ban on the major parties' use of "soft money" has simply diverted funds from the national party committees to unaccountable and at least nominally unaffiliated fringe groups. Opponents of McCain-Feingold predicted this would happen years ago. In this respect, 527s are a negative development and should be statutorily eliminated by repealing McCain-Feingold.
Nevertheless, whatever the inherent flaws of 527s, political campaigns don't get to shut down opposing groups because they don't like getting pulled through the mud. Neither John Kerry, George Bush, nor John McCain has any standing to demand 527s to stop.
[Edited 2004-08-27 00:43:58]