House Joins Senate In Condemning ‘Betray Us’ Ad

The House of Representatives has joined the Senate in condemning the infamous “General Betray Us” attack ad.

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to condemn the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org for a recent advertisement attacking the top U.S. general in Iraq.

By a 341-79 vote, the House passed a resolution praising the patriotism Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and condemning a MoveOn.org ad that referred to Petraeus as “General Betray Us.”

The liberal group’s full-page ad appeared earlier this month in The New York Times and has served as a rallying point for Republicans. President Bush called the ad “disgusting” and criticized Democrats such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the party’s nomination, for being afraid of irritating the group.

Actually, there’s an interesting bit of parliamentary shenanigans going on here. This condemnation of the ad was actually entered as an amendment to a much larger piece of legislation aimed at “stopgap” funding on ongoing appropriations.

Still, I find it bizarre that both houses of Congress felt the need to actually vote to condemn a political ad in a newspaper. Don’t Congresspersons have better things to do with their time?

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    Don’t Congresspersons have better things to do with their time?

    I can probably reel off at least a half a dozen things without thinking too hard, and none of them involved meaningless gestures by congress.

    I think it is fine if congress members would like to state their opinion on the ad, but I don’t get why they needed to actually take time write an amendment and take a vote on it.

  2. markm says:

    “Don’t Congresspersons have better things to do with their time?”

    Depends. Right after an election the sky is the limit. They can do whatever they want. On the other hand, in the lead up to an election pandering is job #1. Timing is key.

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    MarkM is spot on, the only real difference between the national parties is the constituency to whom they pander.

  4. Michael says:

    Still, I find it bizarre that both houses of Congress felt the need to actually vote to condemn a political ad in a newspaper. Don’t Congresspersons have better things to do with their time?

    I’m going to assume that this, like it’s Senate counterpart, was introduced by Republicans, in which case, no, they don’t seem to have anything better to do these days. I suspect the entire GOP message in the next election cycle is going to be: “Vote Republican, because someone placed a mean ad one time”.

  5. Kent says:

    Still, I find it bizarre that both houses of Congress felt the need to actually vote to condemn a political ad in a newspaper. Don’t Congresspersons have better things to do with their time?

    I doubt much time was involved. As you point out, this was a small rider on a very large appropriations bill. An extreme libertarian might even argue that “useless gestures” are in fact a useful distraction from passing burdensome legislation.

    But the real point is that this was no ordinary political ad. It crossed a line, and Congress thought this worth pointing out.

    MarkM is spot on, the only real difference between the national parties is the constituency to whom they pander.

    So they’re the same, only different?

  6. Michael says:

    But the real point is that this was no ordinary political ad. It crossed a line, and Congress thought this worth pointing out.

    I’ve heard this claim a lot, can someone tell me exactly what “line” was crossed, and why it shouldn’t be crossed?

  7. laura says:

    The line is this: Republicans think it is ok to tell lies about vets, but not ok for Democrats to say anything at all, true or not. Hence Swift Boat liar ads are ok, ads which compare Cleland to Bib Ladin are Ok, ads that claim a combat vet (Patrick Murphy) never saw combat are ok, and so on, but Berayus isn’t.

  8. markm says:

    “The line is this: Republicans think it is ok to tell lies about vets, but not ok for Democrats to say anything at all, true or not. Hence Swift Boat liar ads are ok”

    Not to go through the Swift Boat thing again…but some of those “lies” hit close enough to home for John Kerry to change postings on his website…remember???. Also, John Kerry used his past military resume’ as the focal point of his campaign which opens the door to fact checking. What did Petraeus do that opened the door for him to be smeared????

  9. Michael says:

    What did Petraeus do that opened the door for him to be smeared????

    So asking if the General was going to give an honest and accurate assessment, or merely repeat the White House line is “smearing”? Or are you still hung up on the title?

    And I think any assessment on war progress automatically opens the door to fact checking, do you think?

  10. Jim Henley says:

    It’s not enough to insist that every politician in America condemn MoveOn. I don’t understand why the UN General Assembly just spent a week on climate change and Iraq without spending even a minute issuing a worldwide condemnation of MoveOn. Where are their priorities? And where is the Bush Administration’s leadership on this topic? Why have none of our so-called “allies” – Britain; Italy; Australia – issued their own condemnations of MoveOn? I’ll tell you why: Because they’re on the other side!

  11. Michael says:

    Why have none of our so-called “allies” – Britain; Italy; Australia – issued their own condemnations of MoveOn?

    Don’t forget Poland!

  12. markm says:

    “So asking if the General was going to give an honest and accurate assessment, or merely repeat the White House line is “smearing”? Or are you still hung up on the title?”

    Again, looking at his track record, what did he do to deserve what he got????. He’s been successful where others have not been. He’s said both the good, the bad and the ugly when asked.

    “And I think any assessment on war progress automatically opens the door to fact checking, do you think?”

    Are you saying what he got was fact checking????. I have not seen one piece of digging that said he was lying about anything. I’ve seen plenty of pre and post smearing though. There is a difference.