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October 25, 2006

Googlebombs away!

Lancaster Silhouette, originally uploaded by RichardLowkes.

Chris Bowers and the crew at MyDD have compiled the most damning news story about each of these Republican candidates. They are calling on all liberal bloggers to post the list, to maximize the visibility of these stories online:

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavic
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Get the html source code and post this list on your blog.

HT to Republic of Palau, hence the Lancaster bomber.


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I don't know if I can get behind this. A lot of the links are to stories that are sleezy and not really substantial politics.

I just checked the links for NY, and this is what I got.

Sweeney: Drunk at a frat party
Reynolds: Too close to Foley
King: Endorses ethnic and religious profiling.
Kuhl: Drunk driving, marital problems.

Of these, only the story about King is something I would really call good politics. They others have some merit, but I'd like to stay cleaner than that.

Reynolds being too close to Foley is directly relevant. Reynolds was in a position to cover for Foley's misdeeds and during that time received a $100,000
campaign contribution from Foley, which suggests hush money. The cover-up was the worst part of the Foley scandal and Reynolds was right in the middle of it.

Drunk driving is a serious crime. If you drink and drive you're directly endangering other people's lives. I think it's perfectly relevant to raise the issue of a drunk driving offense in a campaign. a) It's a case of endangering others, b) Drinking and driving suggests that the perp holds him or herself above the law.

Of course, the fact that John Sweeney showed up drunk at one party isn't a big deal. Except perhaps to the people in his district. All things being equal, I'd prefer a Congressman who doesn't make a fool of himself in public.

I would prefer to identify Sweeney with his 2001 trip to the North Marianas with Abramoff associate Tony Rudy and his "F" from the Drum Major Institute on middle class issues, his extensive dealings with other lobbyists and special interest groups.

If you want an alcohol-related back story, here's what Wikipedia has to say about a suspicious accident Reynolds had on his way home from a bar in 2001:

On the night of January 23, 2001, around 10:00 p.m., Sweeney lost control of his 2001 Jeep Laredo and hit a utility pole on a rural upstate road, shutting down power to the homes of several residents and to the nearby Willard Mountain ski resort, stranding skiers aloft on the chairlifts. Sweeney was not charged or ticketed, and the state trooper on the scene refused the offer by a volunteer-fire-department chief to send a crew to the site to direct traffic (instead, a local resident did this, for an hour and a half, with downed and live electrical wires about). In early February, a local newspaper reported that Sweeney had been in a bar before the crash. Witnesses came forward to insist that Sweeney had only one or two glasses of wine. The newspaper noted that Sweeney was not given a sobriety test by the state trooper on the scene.[11]

Once again, IOKIYAR.

Why isn't Joementum included?

Rob Helpy-Chalk: Well, I for one think cleanness in campaigning, particularly against these scum, is a much overrated virtue. The moral high ground can be a cold and lonely place.

Your mileage may vary: if so, don't participate in the googlebomb and feel smug. Problem solved.

Please add this story about my representative from Wyoming, Barbara Cubin, to the Googlebomb target list:

Wyo. Opponent Says Incumbent Made Threat (bold face my emphasis)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Thomas Rankin, the Libertarian running for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat, said Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., threatened to slap him after a televised debate.

During a debate Sunday that also included Democrat Gary Trauner, Cubin and Rankin had a testy exchange over campaign contributions Cubin received from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

Rankin, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric wheelchair, said Monday night in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the confrontation occurred immediately after the debate.

"My aide and I were packing up to leave the debate, and Barbara walked over to me and said, 'If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face.' That's quote-unquote," Rankin said.

Kos and others have already covered this story, but the more the merrier!

BTW, Cubin's race against her Democratic opponent Gary Trauner is a fairly close one (7-point spread a week before the debate), so anything could help right now. Cubin is consistently ranked as one of the worst Representatives, so please help us rid ourselves of this scourge.

One more for WA-08:

--WA-08: Dave Reichert
"Reichert touts law record, but critics don't see it his way"

(Frank) Atchley, another supervisor (in the King County Sheriff's office), said Reichert "actually was more of an impediment to the investigation (of the Green River killer)."

"He was probably the worst detective I've ever worked with," Atchley said. "He developed tunnel vision."

--Why isn't Joementum included?--

Because Joltin' Joe is gonna kick Ned Lamont's ass nine ways to Sunday, that's why. There's no point. The only victory you're gonna get there was in the Primary.

"Your mileage may vary: if so, don't participate in the googlebomb and feel smug. Problem solved."

Woah, which end is all the smugness on here? If there are legitimate reasons to be skeptical of some of the stories on this list, then shouldn't our desire for good journalism and clean politics outweigh the need to smear as many Republicans as possible? It would be difficult to find one Republican candidate who did not at some point in their career have dealings with the likes of Abramoff or Delay or Ney. The whole party is so coated in scandal that it's easy to slime someone by proxy.

And this list is supposed to include the "most damning" story about each of these reps, right? Well, if the most daming story about R-Pa Hart is that she once raised some money with Bob Ney that netted her less than $20,000, I'm sorry but that's pretty thin. The fact that Denny Hastert's PAC gave her roughly the same amount of cash while she was on the Republican Committe on Standards of Official Conduct is a little stinkier, but again not enough in itself to really convict her of anything but bad luck and timing.

I AM NOT A PRO-HART TROLL. Were she in my district, I would not vote for her, mainly because her tv ads bleat constantly about her "character," which in itself makes me suspicious. Nevertheless, I agree with Helpy that we need to be more careful about tossing around accusations of corruption, if only for our own integrity.

The records speak for themselves.

We Googlebombers are cooperating to push certain stories higher in the search rankings.

This is a team effort. Chris Bowers and his crew of volunteers at MyDD picked the specific articles. Like any committee decision, there must have been compromises and differences of opinion about emphasis.

I think that the Sweeney item they chose isn't nearly as bad as a lot of other reports on Sweeney, but the project only works if we take it as a package deal. Of course, nothing's stopping me from blogging about any of these candidates and bringing other issues, perhaps issues I think are more important to light.

The articles were chosen because they were factual reports from independent news organizations, not blog posts, not hit pieces, just news reports. The Googlebombers aren't accusing anyone of anything.

Liam, what you seem to be arguing is that SIMPLY BEING A REPUBLICAN OFFICE-HOLDER necessarily ties you to some very sleazy people. Is Hart as tainted as some? Perhaps not. However, voters need to know how deep this corruption runs within the party itself. Promoting an article about Hart's ties to Ney isn't accusing her of corruption, it's highlighting facts.

My impression of the Googlebomb (and really, a war metaphor?) effort was that they were singling out Republicans who deserved to lose their office because of corruption. If that's not the case then I apologise for misinterpreting it. Making people aware of the general level of corruption in the current Republican party is indeed a worthy goal, it just seems to me that the authors are casting too wide a net where that isn't really necessary. I would like to see more substantial evidence of actual corrupt practices on the part of these named politicians who seem to be guilty only by association.

I would be interested in your analysis, Lindsay, of the ethics of googlebombing generally, since philosophy is your academic field. While your position is probably clear from the fact that your site does googlebomb, I would be curious as to your opinion about it generally and whether you would criticize or condemn certain forms of googlebombing.

Chris Bowers and I had a brief but unpleasant exchange on this topic. Thank you in advance for any comments that you might offer.

The ethics of Googlebombing depend largely on the content being promoted.

The genius of Google is that it ranks pages based on what the collective intelligence of web-users. So, deliberately linking terms with URLs in the hope of raising an item's ranking in searches is within the spirit of the search engine itself.

Google and Google users want the most relevant content, and if large numbers of people "vote" with their links, that's presumptive evidence of relevance. I.e., a lot of humans have decided that certain things go together, for whatever reason.

I don't approve of deceptive Googlebombing--i.e. linking words and URLs to take people to stuff they're not searching for. I also don't approve of link farms other other devices that attempt to influence Google without adding value.

Thank you - that makes sense.

I pasted, I posted. If anyone has links to articles, in MSM preferably, that touch on more substantial shortcomings of thes bush leaguers, don't hold back!

If you googlebomb to fight congressional corruption, then make sure you add Robert Menendez to your list.

It's way too late in the piece to be setting up a Googlebomb - Google index updates simply don't happen that fast/often. If you were going to do this effectively you'd want to have started last month.

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