September 8 2004
BIG MEDIA COUNTERATTACKS: Old Media and the Left,
enraged by President
Bush's surge in the polls and what they view as an illegitimate
examination of Kerry's record, has decided that today is
the day they will counterattack hard in an attempt to reopen
the Bush National Guard story as an issue in the campaign.
Boston Globe unloads an above
the fold, front-page story: "Bush
Fell Short on Duty at Guard: Records Show Pledges Unmet."
The Globe's parent corporation, The New York Times
Company, gets into the action with Nicholas
Kristof 's "Missing in Action." Then of course
there is the headliner with CBS's Dan Rather interviewing
former Democratic Texas House Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes
Minutes II later tonight.
steered clear until now of how Mr. Bush evaded service
in Vietnam because I thought other issues were more important.
But if Bush supporters attack John Kerry for his conduct
after he volunteered for dangerous duty in Vietnam, it's
only fair to scrutinize Mr. Bush's behavior.
it when post-hippie 1970 liberals indignantly throw around
words like "evaded service in Vietnam." Of course
for eight years while Bill Clinton was Commander in Chief
this was a non-issue, but suddenly they are enraged that
somebody might have "evaded service in Vietnam"
by serving in the National Guard. Now liberals will say
the issue is not that Bush served in the National Guard,
but rather how he got into the National Guard. But Kristof's
own words accuse the President very directly of "evading
service in Vietnam."
hypocrisy here is so stunning and the gall of baby boomer,
anti-war lefties getting all self-righteous about "evading
service" is a joke. The fact the Left has decided to
go back to the trough on this issue just shows how few attractive
avenues of attack they have left against the President.
This is a sign of weakness, not strength.
Kerry campaign, The New York Times, the Boston
Globe and CBS are all excited that they are going to
"swift-boat" George W. Bush and turn these next
two weeks into the equivalent of John Kerry's August for
the President. But after the heat of the 2000 Presidential
campaign and then the attempt several months ago to reignite
the National Guard issue, the likelihood that there is going
to be something substantive in all of this noise is extremely
the Kerry folks and the liberal glitterati in the press
will say that there was nothing substantive in the swift-boat
story yet it caused tremendous damage to John Kerry. It
is this logic that has probably deluded them into thinking
that this old National Guard issue can be used effectively
against President Bush.
they are missing two key points to why this re-attack on
President Bush's National Guard service will not have nearly
the effectiveness of the swift boat attacks on Senator Kerry.
First, and this is not a small point, George Bush has not
made his stint in the National Guard one of the primary
reasons to vote for him as President. Bush is more than
happy to run on his 6-year record as Governor of the second
largest state in country and his four years as President
of the United States. It is Senator Kerry who decided to
make his four-month service in Vietnam the prime qualification
to lead this nation in war as opposed to his twenty-year
public record in the United States Senate.
and it is this point that infuriates the elites in the media,
there happens to be quite a lot of substance in the swift-boat
attacks. The Kerry campaign and their friends in the press
like to pretend that this is all just a pack of lies conjured
up by the right-wing slime machine, but the facts seem to
suggest a different story. The reason the swift-boat controversy
continues to resonate is there is significant evidence supporting
media did their best to cherry pick one story here and another
story there in an attempt to discredit the swift-boat veterans,
but when you have over 90% of the people Kerry served with
corroborating the story, at some point it becomes difficult
to suggest the whole thing is all a pack of lies. As Bob
Dole said very devastatingly just a couple of weeks ago:
every one of these people can be Republican liars. There's
got to be some truth to the charges.
Kerry is truly the victim of a right-wing slime attack and
all of these scurrilous charges are really just a pack of
lies, then why hasn't he put this story to bed by walking
out in front of the press and the American people, stared
in to the camera, and explained how his honor has been trashed?
Why hasn't he been willing to talk open and fully about
his Vietnam service and dispel once and for all these vicious
attacks on his character? More than anything else it is
Kerry's reluctance, or inability, to answer these questions
personally that is the most damning piece of evidence for
the American public.
see where this George Bush National Guard service story
goes on the umpteenth go around on this issue, but because
of those two key points it is going to be difficult for
this story to really hurt the President the same way the
swift-boat story has hurt John Kerry. None of this is going
to stop the Bush-haters in the press from trying to make
it an issue, but it is going to be really hard unless there
is something legitimately new, and substantive - and right
now that doesn't seem to be the case.
tag-team follow up to the National Guard foray is the unrolling
of the Kitty Kelly personal attack on the Bush family that
is scheduled for next week when Kelly is lined up to appear
Today Show for three consecutive days. This should
be of more concern to the Democrats than Republicans for
this story has every bit as good a chance to hurt Kerry
as it does Bush, because of the very real possibility of
a backlash over the personal and tabloid nature of the attack.
the intensity of this campaign over the last few months
and the vitriol (if not almost pathological hatred for Bush
on the Left) it is not surprising that this campaign will
continue to get uglier and uglier. The Democrats and the
media began banging on Bush as far back as last fall when
the Democratic primary campaign began in earnest. In August
when Bush and Kerry's opponents struck back the Democrats
howled at all the negative campaigning. This is going to
be an intense two months and it is going to get considerably
uglier between now and election day. J. McIntyre
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