Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A Rather Odd Mood




Tommy Mischke
once hosted a two-hour talk-radio show in which he didn't say a word. If you didn't hear it, you have no idea how superb his radio talent is, because he pulled it off with flying colors. The show was hillarious and riveting. Talk radio - with no words from the host. None.

That's the sort of mood I'm in tonight. But I don't think it would work quite as well in a blog.


Oh well....

The Rather thing is something we'll be talking about 20 years from now. A watershed that continues to defy all expectation. But as of tonight, what can one say? I listened to the CBS statement tonight with a combination of glee and utter bewilderment. What on earth are those guys thinking? Even their fellow legacy media leftists are starting to throw sharp jabs at them over this.

I listened to Paula Zahn interview Howard Kurtz and Andrew Sullivan over this issue tonight. That's three Kerry voters folks (Andrew likes to pretend he's Prince Hamlet and still torn over the decision, but in spite of the entertainment value of his dramatic floundering we've already read ahead to the last act). And the kindest they ever managed was to portray Dan Rather and CBS as practicing shoddy jounalism. But CBS still shows no sign of righting this thing, so those kind of judgements will linger.

In typical fashion, it's some of the tiny, less-discussed aspects about this that most fascinate me.

I mean, first of all I think back to the end of the Republican convention. The Kerry backers were clearly rocked by both the content and the bounce. In the aftermath, they rather openly declared that their counter-strategy was going to be to go negative and attack Bush's character. That was their stated political strategy.

In that light, how in God's green earth did CBS think it was going to get by with this story being just coincidentally timed to come out at the exact moment the Democrats began an ad campaign questioning Bush's National Guard service? Apparently the answer is - they planned to stand on their sterling reputation. And unlike everyone reading this, that phrase didn't make them burst into a giggle-fit. They meant it seriously, and thought we'd take it the same way.

What's more, and when you take a step back perhaps most puzzling, is that this is not a new story. True, there has never been documented evidence that the young George W. Bush shirked any of his National Guard duty. But the Dems have spread that rumor for a long, long time. And the press have kindly assisted spreading that impression. Like it or not, this was already lodged in the minds of most voters as probably true even before this CBS "shocker". In fact it fits rather neatly into Bush's own autobiographical impression as an irresponsible young man, before he straightened himself out (literary geek aside: Did anyone at the DNC ever read Shakespeare's history plays about the carousing, irresponsible Prince Harry, who later became the great hero Henry V? Because this story could almost effortlessly be spun that way, even if their most fantastic claims about Bush's Guard Service were totally true. So what's the freakin' political point of this tactic?!)

Ok. Fine. If you're a big Bush supporter, that issue may piss you off, but it doesn't worry you. Bush has been Commander-in-Chief in time of war since then. Think as many awful things as you want about him when he was in his twenties. The Repub strategy was always going to be to respond with the current war, and his far more recent record as Commander-in-Chief. Didn't the convention make that clear enough?!

Even Democratic strategists have been suggesting for a while that Kerry needed to get the heck away from talking about the war 30+ years ago, because while he may think it defines his character, no polling data, anecdotal data, or common sense supported the notion it was going to make anyone change their mind about the current president.

In that light, why the heck is anyone even trying to make this an issue when, true or false, it's of minimal value to Kerry campaign?

To answer that we have to leave rational company and dive into the fever-swamp that has become the heart-and-soul of the Democratic Party lately. Hardcore leftists think that support for the military is all about flag-waving, and being a veteran, and having medals, and that sort of thing. They haven't a clue that people seriously think about this as a matter of policy. They think that by presenting Kerry as a greater warrior than Bush, than ends debate on the issue. From that point on Kerry's word outranks Bush.

Not that they think this way mind you. God no. They hate the military. This is what they tell themselves the right thinks, unnuanced morons that they are. And thus their bewilderment and anger when they nominate a war hero, and still can't win the national security debate.

And, incidentally, thus the logic of their response - challenge Bush's military record. They assume that the problem is that they haven't made it clear enough yet: THEY NOMINATED A WAR HERO!!!

Hello??! Is this on?!!


Why won't the stupid pro-military troglodytes bow down and surrender yet? Do we HAVE to point out how much NOT a war hero the other guy is?!!

Apparently they think they do. Expect more of the same through November. And the more they go this direction, the more one can begin to suspect a Bush landslide.


Blogger pinkmonkeybird said...

Yeah, Doug.
Landslide. Kerry is such a bad candidate. Many pundits, including the Bush campaign advisor, Matthew Dowd, says we should expect the race to tighten up again.
I'm finding that difficult to imagine. I see Kerry-Edwards continuing to crumble in upon itself until there is nothing left but a pathetic, ruined pile with smoke and a foul stench emanating from it.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below is a RatherGate story that says Guard Officer Denies Seeking Help for Bush.

( )

Air National Guard Col. Walter Staudt, far right, is pictured with George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and an unidentified woman in this photo from the younger Bush's time in the Guard. Staudt denies he received preferential treatment.

(ABC News)
Air National Guard Colonel Denies Bush Got Preferential Treatment

Sept. 17, 2004 — The man cited in media reports as having allegedly pressured others in the Texas Air National Guard to help George W. Bush is speaking out, telling ABC News in an exclusive interview that he never sought special treatment for Bush.

Retired Col. Walter Staudt, who was brigadier general of Bush's unit in Texas, interviewed Bush for the Guard position and retired in March 1972. He was mentioned in one of the memos allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian as having pressured Killian to assist Bush, though Bush supposedly was not meeting Guard standards.

"I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.

The memo stated that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance.

Staudt said he decided to come forward because he saw erroneous reports on television. CBS News first reported on the memos, which have come under scrutiny by document experts who question whether they are authentic. Killian, the purported author of the documents, died in 1984.

Staudt insisted Bush did not use connections to avoid being sent to Vietnam.

"He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate.

"He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."

Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody."

When he interviewed for the job, Bush was eager to join the pilot program, which Staudt said often was a hard sell. "I asked him, 'Why do you want to be a fighter pilot?' " Staudt recalled. "He said, 'Because my daddy was one.' He was a well-educated, bright-eyed young man, just the kind of guy we were looking for."

He added that Bush more than met the requirements for pilot training. "He presented himself well. I'd say he was in the upper 10 percent or 5 percent or whatever we ever talked to about going to pilot training. We were pretty particular because when he came back [from training], we had to fly with him."

Bush has repeatedly said he completed all of his Guard commitments. Critics of the president say he got special treatment because his father was a congressman and U.N. ambassador. There also have been questions about why the young Bush skipped a required medical exam in 1972 and apparently failed to show up for Guard activities for six months.

Records show Bush stopped flying F-102As in April 1972. He has said he moved to Alabama to work on the Senate campaign of a family friend. Staudt retired from the Guard in March of that year and said he was never contacted about Bush's performance.

"There was no contact between me and George Bush … he certainly never asked for help," Staudt said. "He didn't need any help as far as I knew."

He added that after retiring he was not involved in Air National Guard affairs. "I didn't check in with anybody — I had no reason to," he said. "I was busy with my civilian endeavors, and they were busy with their military options. I had no reason to talk to them, and I didn't."

Staudt said he continues to support Bush now that he is president. "My politics now are that I'm an American, and that's about all I can tell you," he said. "And I'm going to vote for George Bush."

ABC News' Ariane DeVogue contributed to this report.

7:13 PM  

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