The wholesale descent into Swift Boat campaigning has been blocked - for now - by a federal judge in Virginia. But voters should not rest easy. A group calling itself The Real Truth About Obama is appealing the ruling.
The group aims to block federal regulations so it can spend unlimited money on a commercial smearing the Democratic nominee as a zealous proponent of any and all abortion on demand - "at any time during pregnancy, as many times as a woman wants one."
If the group were to win on appeal, it would signal open season for countless stealth groups to flood the remaining weeks of the campaign with underhanded attack ads. The courts must uphold the law, heeding the Federal Election Commission's warning of "serious harm to the public" if the attack group prevails.
Posing as a mere "issue advocacy" operation, the group's ad attacks Mr. Obama's character and accuses him of "lying" about his abortion record. In truth, it trashes the candidate's nuanced position. It even employs an Obama-like voice pledging to make taxpayers pay for abortions, help minors conceal abortions from their parents, and legalize late-term abortions.
To spread these lies, the group wants an injunction against the election commission's disclosure and spending rules, instituted after the Swift Boaters of 2004 were belatedly ruled in violation of election law.
The Times editorializes that a group called The Real Truth About Obama should not be allowed to run its ads, which it deems to be filled with "smears" and "lies." The group, writes the Times, "even employs an Obama-like voice pledging to make taxpayers pay for abortions, help minors conceal abortions from their parents, and legalize late-term abortions."
Obama told Planned Parenthood in July 2007, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." That bill would require taxpayer funding of abortion, eliminate parental-involvement laws, and end restrictions on partial-birth abortion. That's what the plain language of the act means, and it's what its leading advocates say it would do. There's a reason the Times doesn't try to back up its claim that this organization is lying; it can't. No wonder it would rather the group be silenced.