Friday, September 17, 2004

Heir to the Ratfuckers 

Courtesy of our revered colleague Susan Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla, a story that will come as no shock to Zemblans, who learn their Nixonian lore in the cradle, and from childhood on frighten one another around the campfire by retelling the tale of how Karl Rove in 1986 had the brilliant inspiration to bug his own office:
It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.

The identity of "Buckhead," a blogger known previously only by his screen name on the site freerepublic.com and lifted to folk hero status in the conservative blogosphere since last week's posting, is likely to fuel speculation among Democrats that the efforts to discredit the CBS memos were engineered by Republicans eager to undermine reports that Bush received preferential treatment in the National Guard more than 30 years ago . . . .

MacDougald is a lawyer in the Atlanta office of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and is affiliated with two prominent conservative legal groups, the Federalist Society and the Southeastern Legal Foundation, where he serves on the legal advisory board and has been involved in several high-profile cases.

Founded in 1976, the Southeastern Legal Foundation advocates "limited government, individual economic freedom, and the free enterprise system," according to its website.

The foundation has fought affirmative action and domestic partner benefits for government employees, and successfully challenged a Clinton administration plan to use proportional sampling, rather than a hard count, to estimate the population in the 2000 census.

MacDougald helped draft the foundation's petition in 1998 that led to the five-year suspension of Clinton's Arkansas law license for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case . . . .

While bloggers and some conservative activists hailed Buckhead as a hero in their longtime efforts to paint the mainstream media as politically biased, some Democrats and even some conservative bloggers have marveled at Buckhead's detailed knowledge of the memos and wondered whether that suggested a White House conspiracy.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe even speculated openly to reporters that the whole thing could have been orchestrated by White House political advisor Karl Rove. The Bush campaign called the allegation "nonsense."

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