March 2004

So let’s see, the major news of the day, at least according to Democratic sources, is a joke George Bush made about himself at a correspondants dinner last night. John Kerry even weighed in "If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he’s even more out of touch than we thought." (Kerry: WMD `joke’ no laughing matter).

From a Yahoo! News story:[Author Unattributed] : Bush’s Joke About WMD Draws Criticism 3/26/2004:

President Bush’s humorous references to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have drawn criticism from Democrats as inappropriate for wartime. The White House and Republicans contend the president was just poking fun at himself.

"This is a very serious issue," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said Friday on Good Morning America on ABC. "We’ve lost hundreds of troops, as you know, over there. Let’s not be laughing about not being able to find weapons of mass destruction."

Bush provided amusing descriptions of photographs Wednesday night during the annual dinner of the Radio and Television News Correspondents Association. Some showed the president in awkward poses as he looked behind furniture in the Oval Office. For those photos, Bush told the audience, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere … nope, no weapons over there … maybe under here?"

Laughter erupted from the crowd of journalists, politicians and their guests then and at other times during Bush’s remarks. For years the dinner has featured political and topical humor, most of it playful if barbed at times.

"The Democrats will go after anything," Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie told ABC. "The fact is that this is the custom in these things. Presidents have made jokes about very serious matters at these dinners.You can hear the laughter, the people in the room obviously saw the humor in it at that moment, and to play it back now in a different context is unfair."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday she has treated the subject with respect and doesn’t find it funny. "I had thought that that was a little casual about a serious subject, but now the president has made it open season," said Pelosi, who attended the dinner.

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said Thursday the president’s comments were meant to be light. "It’s traditional at events like this dinner for the president to poke fun at himself," Buchan said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was asked Thursday about the appropriateness of Bush’s comments and the audience’s reaction. He said he was "not in a position to be judgmental about that" because he had not been present at the event.

Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton called the joke "one of the most despicable acts of a sitting president" when he spoke Thursday night during a Democratic National Committee reception. "Well, that’s not a joke to us, Mr. Bush. Five hundred soldiers lost their lives, looking for weapons that weren’t there. Billions of taxpayer dollars were spent looking for weapons that weren’t there," Sharpton said. "But guess what? You gonna look out that window in January and see a moving van to send you back to Texas."

McAuliffe said legitimate questions have been raised about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a principal reason for going to war there. Nearly 600 U.S. soldiers have died since the war began in March 2003. "They’re not there. That is the issue. We should not take it to a new step to make fun of the situation," McAuliffe said

I would really like to be able to find a way to sympathize with the Democratic outrage. But somehow the fact that there’s ‘outrage’ at all about this shows how silly everything has gotten.

No one would suggest that the lives of US soldiers lost are a laughing matter. And Bush is President, not Letterman or Leno (who clearly have made much bigger jokes on the topic).

When the news was full of ‘outrage’ expressed over Bush’s campaign commercial that showed a glimpse of an image from 9/11, all we could do is wonder exactly why someone was trying to make an issue out of nothing. We could see that the three people constantly quoted in the ‘outrage’ and ‘criticism’ stories had either had ties to Kerry election campaign or to other anti-Bush organizations… but maybe that was just a coincidence.

This time it’s ‘criticism’ and ‘outrage’ again. But why exactly? Because they can call for criticism and get it published in the paper as news? If criticizing George Bush is news, then it’s no wonder why the DNC would get the headline every day… they seem to do nothing else.

It’s a wonder that anyone actually listens to McAuliffe anymore. I’m not even sure that even the Democrats do anymore. But if you want to Bush-bashing comment for your ‘news’ story, he is a reliable source.

And finally, a memo to Rev. Sharpton: if you want to discuss "despicable acts of a sitting president", let’s rewind the tape to the Clinton administration and really have a talk. on Who? digg:Jokes on Who? spurl:Jokes on Who? wists:Jokes on Who? simpy:Jokes on Who? newsvine:Jokes on Who? blinklist:Jokes on Who? furl:Jokes on Who? reddit:Jokes on Who? fark:Jokes on Who? blogmarks:Jokes on Who? Y!:Jokes on Who? smarking:Jokes on Who? magnolia:Jokes on Who? segnalo:Jokes on Who?

So the 9/11 Commission has finished the second day of public testimony from key administration officials. And the centerpiece, according to the media, was the testimony of Richard Clarke. One can argue that both days were really about Richard Clarke, because the parties involved had to start by reacting to Clarke’s 60 Minutes accusations from his new book.

Clarke started the day by serving up some lobs for the headline writers to use:

Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard. But that doesn’t matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.

I’ve said before that I believe that the hearings should be held behind closed doors, not to hide information, but rather to keep this from becoming a platform for sound bites and strange testimony. We shouldn’t have to worry about it possibly being perverted into a book promotion opportunity. Someone could ask Mr. Clarke why he repeatedly stated the opposite position he now seems to take (Transcript: Clarke Praises Bush Team in ’02). Is he an opportunist, a liar, a misunderstood genius, or someone who will say whatever he thinks you want to hear? (And where have we seen that lately).

This should not be about trying to assign blame, either to the 8 months of the Bush Administration prior to 9/11 or the 8 years of the Clinton Administration prior to Bush. It’s not a singular action that ‘allowed’ 9/11 to occur. It’s about intelligence, how it’s gathered, analyzed, and acted upon. It’s about how we react to more than just isolated instances, but no one can ignore that our reaction to the USS Cole, Embassy Bombings, and the first World Trade Center bombing must have provided encouragement. The international reaction to events of this type has to be considered, including how we effectively deal with state-sponsored terrorism. Revisionist history is trying, right before our eyes, to rewrite the role of Iraq to somehow twist this into an empire-building exercise. But Iraq, like Afganistan before it, served notice to states. Is this the end – certainly not – but it’s not time to lose our nerve.

So this Commission can help. Maybe not help the families of the victims of that day. Maybe not help a particular political candidate get their next slogan for a campaign commercial. Certainly shouldn’t be helping a mid-level administrator from getting rich on a book deal, even if they have to make things up. But it should help us understand our current environment, our failings leading up to that day, and appropriate ways to act in this new world.

Days like 9/11 do not just happen and then go away. They are not just ‘footnotes in history.’ They have to be chased away. and Pony Show? digg:Dog and Pony Show? spurl:Dog and Pony Show? wists:Dog and Pony Show? simpy:Dog and Pony Show? newsvine:Dog and Pony Show? blinklist:Dog and Pony Show? furl:Dog and Pony Show? reddit:Dog and Pony Show? fark:Dog and Pony Show? blogmarks:Dog and Pony Show? Y!:Dog and Pony Show? smarking:Dog and Pony Show? magnolia:Dog and Pony Show? segnalo:Dog and Pony Show?

It’s not surprising that John Kerry has "no intention whatsoever to apologize for my remarks" – those, of course, being that

These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I’ve ever seen.

These guys, in this case, refers to Republicans in general. Although candidates routinely say things they don’t really mean (as evidenced by Kerry’s ongoing position shifts with himself), you don’t appologize for something you really believe in. And I think that Kerry, and he is certainly not alone, truely believes in his heart that Republicans are crooks and liars at their core.

Trying to explain and do damage control really only makes things worse in this case, because you end up with more ridiculous statements. First, it was clarified that " I didn’t say it about the Republicans, I said it about the attack dogs." (Kerry: Comment aimed at ‘attack dogs’). Then there was the blather by aide Stephanie Cutter (Kerry: No Apologies for GOP Remarks):

"Four years ago, John Kerry saw what the Republican attack machine did to John McCain. Two years ago, he saw what it did to Max Cleland," Cutter said, recalling the Arizona senator who challenged Bush for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000 and the Georgia Democratic senator turned out of office in 2002. "What he was saying is he’s not going to take it."

Apparently the GOP ‘attack dogs’ can’t recognize one of their own, since John McCain is a Republican as well. (Or maybe more accurately Kerry sees that McCain is more of a liberal ally than Republican, but that’s a different story. It could explain why the media suggested McCain as a Kerry running mate even though they are from different parties!)

The ‘smear machines’ and ‘attack dogs’ may not appear as such when they are the mainstream press. How else do stories about being AWOL and false repetitions of every statement get repeated so often? But let’s not miss the point here. It’s not about who really has ‘attack dogs’. It’s about who really believes their opponents are truely evil at the core. Think about that for a while and try not to be scared. and Liars digg:Crooks and Liars spurl:Crooks and Liars wists:Crooks and Liars simpy:Crooks and Liars newsvine:Crooks and Liars blinklist:Crooks and Liars furl:Crooks and Liars reddit:Crooks and Liars fark:Crooks and Liars blogmarks:Crooks and Liars Y!:Crooks and Liars smarking:Crooks and Liars magnolia:Crooks and Liars segnalo:Crooks and Liars

Apparently nuance is something important to have. According to the NY Times, John Kerry has nuance (not flip-flop or indecision or the need to tell people what they want to hear… it’s nuance): "What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances."

Apparently only ‘thinking people’ can understand the ‘nuance’ that is John Kerry’s position. From the MSNBC (Kerry’s world):

For instance, Kerry voted in the 1980s against several weapons systems that were workhorses in the Afghan and Iraq wars, including the B-1 bomber, the F-14 and F-15 fighters and the Patriot missile system. Three of the four had serious cost overrun and design problems, which could explain the votes. But the nuance might well be missed in a well-produced Bush television spot.

An interesting alternative position from the UK (John Kerry is all tied up in nuances):

It is in trying to reconcile both of his strong, clear positions that Senator Kerry winds up tying himself up in nuances. He was at it again this weekend. "This President always makes decisions late," he huffed apropos Haiti. Hang on. He’s just spent the past year complaining that Bush makes decisions too early, rushing in when he could have spent another year or so chit-chatting with the French.

But when George Bush talks, it’s not about ‘nuance’. For example, we he speaks of John Kerry, it can’t be said any more clearly:

My opponent spent two decades in Congress. He spent a long time in Washington and he’s built up quite a record. Senator Kerry has been in Washington so long that he’s taken both sides on just about every issue. Senator Kerry voted for the Patriot Act, for Nafta, for the No Child Left Behind Act, and for the use of force in Iraq. Now he opposes the Patriot Act, Nafta, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the liberation of Iraq. My opponent clearly has strong beliefs–they just don’t last very long. . . .

Some are skeptical that the war on terror is really a war at all. Just days ago my opponent indicated he’s not comfortable using the word, "war," to describe the struggle we’re in. He said, "I don’t want to use that terminology." He also said the war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law enforcement operation. I disagree. Our nation followed that approach after the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. The matter was handled in the courts, and thought by some to be settled. But the terrorists were still training in Afghanistan, plotting in other nations and drawing up more ambitious plans. And after the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States of America, and war is what they got.

One very important part of this war is intelligence-gathering, as Senator Kerry noted. Yet, in 1995, two years after the attack on the World Trade Center, my opponent introduced a bill to cut the overall intelligence budget by one-and-a-half billion dollars. His bill was so deeply irresponsible that he didn’t have a single co-sponsor in the United States Senate. Once again, Senator Kerry is trying to have it both ways. He’s for good intelligence, yet he was willing to gut the intelligence services. And that is no way to lead a nation in a time of war. Nuance digg:No Nuance spurl:No Nuance wists:No Nuance simpy:No Nuance newsvine:No Nuance blinklist:No Nuance furl:No Nuance reddit:No Nuance fark:No Nuance blogmarks:No Nuance Y!:No Nuance smarking:No Nuance magnolia:No Nuance segnalo:No Nuance

It’s probably a big surprise to most people, but this weekend John Kerry actually accused George Bush of doing a bad job. I know, I know… it sounds like some fabrication of the right-wing smear machine again, but it’s true. This time it was that Bush is resisting attempts to get to the bottom of 9/11 and any intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq (Kerry attacks Bush for ‘resisting’ probes):

Sen. John Kerry yesterday accused President Bush of "stonewalling" inquiries into the events leading up to the September 11, 2001, attacks, as well as into the intelligence suggesting that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. "Why is this administration stonewalling and resisting the investigation into what happened and why we had the greatest security failure in the history of our country?" Mr. Kerry said at a hastily arranged news conference.

"The American people deserve an answer now," said the Massachusetts Democrat, his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. "The immediate instinct of the Republicans and this administration was to shut it down."

Mr. Kerry said the public deserves an answer as soon as possible about what went wrong leading up to the attacks, which killed about 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. "Nothing could be more important to the American people at this moment," Mr. Kerry said. "They need to know why we had such a failure of intelligence." He also argued that Mr. Bush has pushed the deadline on a report on potential intelligence failures to next year, "which just happens coincidentally to not be an election year."

Sen. Kerry has a point. So far the Bush administration has been implicated during the primaries in many conspiracies so far, including:

  • Having pre-knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, but not stopping them (Gov. Dean)
  • Inventing the invasion of Iraq as a political tool (Sen. Kennedy)
  • Being AWOL from the National Guard Service (Sen. Kerry, Clark, others)
  • Kidnapping deposed Haitian President Aristide (Sen. Kerry)
  • Personally firing the shot from the grassy knoll that killed JFK, but then brainwashing the Warren Commission into the ‘magic bullet’ theory
  • Operating the controls of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union when it had the world’s worst accident
  • Accepting large campaign contributions from the Chinese and then in turn relaxing export restrictions allowing China to get technology necessary to develop their ballistic missile technology… (oops, that was Clinton. Sorry.)
  • Sinking the Maine in the harbor in Havana
  • A few others that will be pulled out just before the election

In all seriousness, Kerry does have something right. We should seek to understand all of the conditions that have led us here, including the intelligence information about WMD. We should not do this for the benefit of a report to the American people, nor because it is an election year. Remember that the chain of events has started long before George W. Bush came into office, or in fact, his father. It includes Clinton as well, although I’m sure he and those from his administration are not likely to cooperate. It does need to focus on how things happened, so that we can understand and better work in the future, regardless of who is the next President. Remember, this is the most amazing thing about our country, the Presidency is larger than any one man. (Except, that is for FDR. Most don’t remember, but the Investigation into the Pearl Harbor attack was released in 1946, significantly after the event occurred in 1941. Why? two reasons – (1) it takes time, and sometimes the benefit of hindsight, to understand some of the issues in the larger picture surrounding an event and (2) the capabilities and failures are should not be publically discussed while they can be aid and assistance to those who seek to attack you in the first place.

I know that John Kerry seeks to find some reason that will justify his flip-flop position of being both for and against the war in Iraq. Or is that for the war but against the stabilization and support of the troops? Or is it only acting with international cooperation and universal agreement, unless the action happens in Haiti? Or is it against war when one country invades another (like Iraq into Kuwait), but for it if polls indicate the action is overwhelmingly favorably received?

John Kerry now says that he voted for the war in Iraq because he thought that Bush wasn’t really going to do the things that he was plainly saying at the time to both Congress and the UN. Say one thing in public, do something entirely different in practice. I can understand how Kerry might have come to this understandble conclusion, because that’s probably what he would have done facing the same situation… say one thing, but mean and do another. Only Wants Answers digg:Kerry Only Wants Answers spurl:Kerry Only Wants Answers wists:Kerry Only Wants Answers simpy:Kerry Only Wants Answers newsvine:Kerry Only Wants Answers blinklist:Kerry Only Wants Answers furl:Kerry Only Wants Answers reddit:Kerry Only Wants Answers fark:Kerry Only Wants Answers blogmarks:Kerry Only Wants Answers Y!:Kerry Only Wants Answers smarking:Kerry Only Wants Answers magnolia:Kerry Only Wants Answers segnalo:Kerry Only Wants Answers

So the first Bush commercials started airing. I doubt that you’ve seen them, except as excerpts on the news programs reporting the evil that is George Bush. Remember that this week John Kerry became the nominee of the Democratic Party. No, the convention has not been held, but it is a mere formality.

In the weeks of the the Democratic primaries to date, each candidate has been merciless on their attacks on Bush, usually mostly rhetorical in nature, and most certainly personal. So this is the first official ‘response’. Several times before the Republicans have been accused of ‘attack ads’ and other troubling charges, when in fact the attacks are all one-sided. At least they have driven people to see the ads which otherwise would have only appeared on websites for party faithful. But the ads in this case do not target the opponent. They most certainly could have, but that’s another story. We have the case being made by Bush that he has had to lead the country in difficult times. What could possibly be more difficult than in a post-9/11 world? So this culminates in a few seconds of images of the post-WTC attack.

Some families are upset. You can not help but understand. 3000 innocent people died there that day. The people who worked in those buildings did not go into the office that day to work for George Bush. The police and firefighters did not rush in to meet their end at the command of Bush, nor did they know they were fighting a battle in an attack on the war on terror. It’s understandable that some relatives find any images too painful a reminder of that horrible day where loved ones were lost. But their comments were played out universally in as the media beat the anti-George Bush drum lodly across the nation:

  • Bush ads on 9/11 attacked (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
  • Bush Ad Criticized for Exploiting 9/11 (LA Times)
  • Bush ads outrage 9/11 families (Newsday)
  • 9/11 Images in Bush Ads Raise Furor among Firefighters, Kin of Victims (Miami Herald)
  • Bush ads with 9-11 images stir controversy (Seattle Times)
  • Bush Ads Using 9/11 Images Stir Anger (Washington Post)

And the hit parade just keeps on coming in too many outlets to count. How many people who repeated this actually saw the ads before repeating the charges? One who did was full of stinging criticism, Ellis Henican (Bush ad blitz is off to a tasteless start):

Some politicians wrap themselves in the American flag. George W. Bush is taking that trick to a whole new level. He’s wrapping his re-election hopes in the tattered stars-and-stripes of the World Trade Center terror attack. Take that, you amateur flag-wavers! This is one president who will never be out-pandered by the gratuitous exploitation of the red-white-and-blue!

The political manipulation of 9/11 hit a new crescendo yesterday, as the first three commercials from the Bush-Cheney campaign hit the TV airwaves. Two of those ads employ highly emotional images of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, doing precisely what the president promised not to — twisting the attacks and the war on terror for selfish political gain.

One of the Bush campaign commercials features the charred wreckage of the Twin Towers, where so many people died, and a fluttering American flag. Another ad uses the same flag image, but this time firefighters are carrying a flag-draped stretcher through the rubble, as sirens wail. Talk about heavy-handed yanks at the heartstrings! These have all the subtlety of a Haliburton sweetheart deal.

So it’s no surprise that various 9/11 family members are already howling in outrage. "Political propaganda," complained Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband, Ronald, died in the attack. And that was one of the tamer comments. "Unconscionable, that any political candidate or person would use Ground Zero, the hallowed ground of 3,000 dead, including my husband," add Monica Gabrielle, wife of Richard.

These two wives were joined yesterday by many other 9/11 relatives and by Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "Disgraceful," he thundered at the ads. "Hypocrisy at its worst."

Some of the usual apologists rushed forward to defend the tacky ad buy.

Again, I can’t imagine the difficult days that have followed the tragedy for family members of victims. I hope that Mr. Schaitberger is speaking honestly, not simply as a union leader who’s part of "Firefighters for Kerry". As Rudy Giuliani, who happens to know something about leadership in the face of the 9/11 tragedy, responded "This was done in a very tasteful way. It’s an ad about a group of challenges the president has faced — the recession, other things and September 11, 2001. You’d almost not be able to do the ad and talk about the challenges if you couldn’t mention the truth."

But the truth matters little to some who hate Bush. You didn’t have to be in New York City to feel the effects of 9/11. This is not something to be ignored, tucked away, no matter how difficult it is for us to relive. This attack shook people across the nation and the world to the core. These ads do not polticize the event or the War on Terror. (If you want to talk about that, there are some discussions we can have about why it was necessary to make airport screeners union employees, etc.).

Think what you will about Bush’s ability as a leader in the face of the world today. But one thing we should not do is forget. Or forget what’s at stake. don't mention 9/11...? digg:Please don't mention 9/11...? spurl:Please don't mention 9/11...? wists:Please don't mention 9/11...? simpy:Please don't mention 9/11...? newsvine:Please don't mention 9/11...? blinklist:Please don't mention 9/11...? furl:Please don't mention 9/11...? reddit:Please don't mention 9/11...? fark:Please don't mention 9/11...? blogmarks:Please don't mention 9/11...? Y!:Please don't mention 9/11...? smarking:Please don't mention 9/11...? magnolia:Please don't mention 9/11...? segnalo:Please don't mention 9/11...?

You know, I wish I were eloquent, but sometimes you just have to let the professionals do their thing. Morton Kondracke had an excellent piece about the Presidential campaign so far (So far, it’s the Democrats who have been throwing low blows):

IT’S conventional wisdom now that this may be one of the nastiest presidential campaigns ever. But those keeping score should observe that, right now, the muddy epithets thrown at President Bush outweigh those thrown at Democrats by tons.

That’s not the way things are being reported, though. The media seem to be uncritically accepting the Democratic charge that any criticism of Sen. John Kerry’s, D-Mass., public record is ‘sliming’ or ‘smearing.’

But for months now, Democrats have accused Bush of being a ‘liar’ who ‘misled’ or ‘deceived’ the nation into the Iraq war; a ‘usurper’ who ‘stole’ the 2000 election in Florida; ‘a right-wing extremist’ on tax, social and foreign policy; and a ‘menace to the nation’s basic liberties,’ owing to his employment of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Former Vice President Al Gore said Bush had ‘betrayed’ the country in Iraq. No major Democrat said afterward that Gore had gone too far.

Democrats claim that Republicans either have questioned or will question their patriotism in this campaign, but actually the only accusations of lacking patriotism have come from Democrats.

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., when he was a candidate, said that Bush’s Iraq policy was ‘anti-patriotic at the core.’

Last September, Kerry said that Bush ‘lives out a creed of greed for he and his friends’ and that it was ‘unpatriotic’ for Bush’s ‘friends’ (i.e., corporate executives) to move jobs offshore.

It was a regular staple of retired Gen. Wesley Clark’s campaign to say that Bush’s policies were ‘not patriotic.’

Howard Dean, when he was a candidate, charged that Ashcroft ‘is no patriot. He’s a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy.’

After all of the Democratic attacks, I think Bush and his campaign should start devoting their energy and advertising dollars mostly to explaining his policies and re-educating Americans about basic economics and what it takes to create jobs.

When an incumbent president is up for re-election, the contest traditionally is a referendum on his performance and prospects. And, right now, many polls put Bush’s public approval rating at the lowest point in his presidency.

On the other hand, the Bush campaign has every right to raise doubts about Kerry’s record and programs, including on defense issues. And the media ought to cry foul when the Kerry campaign tries to put such discussion off limits.

Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, for instance, said about criticism of Kerry’s defense record: ‘These attacks and smears against us are just one more example of the fundamental need to change the direction of the nation from Bush’s extreme agenda.’

Kerry said in mid-February that ‘given the record of this administration and their stunning lack of vision, the Republican attack machine may well have no choice but to resort to smear and fear.’

In a public letter to Bush last Saturday, Kerry implied that Bush was questioning his Vietnam service and said ‘it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain.’

In fact, the Bush campaign and the GOP have acknowledged time and again that Kerry was a war hero and is due honor for his service, but that his record on defense and foreign policy is open to criticism.

Indeed, it is. Kerry is on record as opposing the MX missile, the B-1 bomber, the Tomahawk missile, the Apache helicopter, the Patriot missile, the Harrier jet and the F-15 fighter aircraft and has called for deep cuts in the intelligence budget.

After Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie recited that list in a press conference last week, Kerry’s campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, sent out an e-mail charging that ‘today, RNC chair Ed Gillespie made another desperate attack on the patriotism of John Kerry.’ It was no such thing.

Defending Kerry more substantively, Rep. Norm Dicks, D- Wash., and former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., claimed that Republicans were unfairly accusing Kerry of opposing such weapons systems because he voted against one Defense appropriations bill in 1991, at the end of the Cold War.

But as one of his own campaign press releases shows, Kerry favored all those cuts in 1984, long before the Cold War was over. He also supported a nuclear freeze that would have left the Soviet Union with a missile advantage in Europe.

And, in September 1995, Kerry introduced a deficit-reduction bill calling for the phasing-out of two Army divisions over a five-year period, cancellation of the Army’s tank-upgrade program and five years of $300 million reductions in the intelligence budget.

Kerry has claimed that the Bush campaign’s upcoming advertising campaign is code- named ‘Operation Carpet Bombing’ and has charged this is somehow a slur on his Vietnam service.

In the first place, Bush ad guru Mark McKinnon denies ever hearing that term. In the second, the Bush campaign estimates that of the $6.7 million Kerry has spent on advertising during the primaries, 73 percent has been devoted to attacking Bush. Certainly, Kerry hasn’t attacked other Democrats and they haven’t attacked him, either.

Back in September, when I wrote a column lamenting that this could be the ‘nastiest’ campaign ever, I anticipated that Republicans would help make it so by repeating their 2002 tactics against Cleland, who basically was accused in an ad of aiding Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden by voting against Bush’s Homeland Security Department.

This hasn’t happened at least, not yet. Education Secretary Rod Paige referred to the National Education Association as a ‘terrorist organization’ clearly it was hyperbole, not a real accusation and was carpet-bombed into an abject apology.

Besides that, no Republican of any stature has yet thrown what could even remotely be described as a low blow. If that changes, I’ll scream. But so far, if anyone’s ‘sliming,’ it’s Democrats. And the media should call them on it. blows digg:Low blows spurl:Low blows wists:Low blows simpy:Low blows newsvine:Low blows blinklist:Low blows furl:Low blows reddit:Low blows fark:Low blows blogmarks:Low blows Y!:Low blows smarking:Low blows magnolia:Low blows segnalo:Low blows

An absolutely essential must-read from David Limbaugh today (Democrats hiding the ball):

Political campaigns ought to be about helping the electorate to determine the candidates’ respective positions on the issues, but Democrats, in a number of ways, are determined to obscure rather than clarify, and there has to be a reason for that.

Just look at some of the things they do, all the while pretending to champion "democracy." They try to disenfranchise the military vote. They try to muzzle political speech through draconian campaign finance reform legislation.

They circumvent the will of the people through judicial activism and by blocking the appointment of constitutionalist judges. They seek to intimidate Republicans from discussing the Democratic candidates’ records on the issues, such as Kerry’s softness on crucial weapons systems, by falsely characterizing such legitimate inquiries as negative campaigning. (All the while, by the way, they flagrantly engage in true dirty campaigning, such as falsely accusing Bush of felonious AWOL while in the Air National Guard).

They willfully alter their stated positions on issues, just to avoid giving President Bush credit for doing what they — the Democrats, not Republicans — wanted in the first place, such as throwing obscene amounts of federal money at public education.

They gratuitously attack the president for almost anything just to have something to criticize him about, such as their ridiculous rush to blame him for the unrest in Haiti. Their knee-jerk reaction to everything is "It’s Bush’s fault," rather than attempting to contribute constructively to formulating solutions for the problems. They criticize Bush for his unilateralism, then condemn him for not intervening unilaterally in Haiti.

They mislead the public by saying Bush misled the public about intelligence information on WMD to which they had equal access and upon which they based their decision to support his decision to attack Iraq. They mischaracterize the terrorist activity in post-war Iraq as discontented Iraqis longing for a restoration of Saddam’s benevolent rule.

They attempt to paint the president as insensitive to the "working class" because one of his economic advisors truthfully stated that "outsourcing" jobs can be beneficial to the economy because of comparative advantage — a concept even few liberal economists would dispute. They don’t tell their constituents, whom they would prefer to exploit, that while some domestic jobs are lost in this process, everyone’s prices for goods are reduced, including those whose interests they pretend to safeguard.

It’s not just the Democrats in general who play these games of obfuscation, but also their leading presidential contender John Kerry. At least with President Bush, you generally know where he stands on the issues. He is a strong conservative on defense and taxes, and mostly conservative on social issues. He is much less so on the spending side, particularly with respect to education. And his stand on immigration has angered many on both sides. But he has not been afraid to stake out positions, even if they are unpopular, which is relevant to both character and leadership.

John Kerry simply will not make his positions clear. Do you think there is any chance he will proudly proclaim to the general electorate the recent finding of the National Journal that he was the most liberal senator in 2003? And Kerry calls Bush extreme? Based on Kerry’s various statements and past record, a reasonable person with considerable intelligence would have difficulty determining his positions on: the propriety of making a candidate’s military service, especially in Vietnam, an issue; states’ rights concerning gay marriage; attacking Iraq; helping to rebuild and facilitate democracy in Iraq; free trade; deficit spending; No Child Left Behind; "special interest influence;" the Patriot Act; capital punishment for terrorists; and even his commitment to his faith.

Why do Democrats work so hard to conceal their liberalism? What are they afraid of? Well, you can be sure that it is not that they are ashamed of their views; it’s that they know those views are unpopular with the public when presented clearly.

Democrats are always trying to create the illusion that their ideology is mainstream — it’s no accident that they are always the ones talking about the nation being divided 50-50. But that’s wishful thinking on their part. They know better, which is why they have had to resort to this litany of dishonest and antidemocratic tactics to compensate for the unpalatability of their leftist policies. If the candidates were required to ingest a truth serum before each campaign stop, the November election would be a blowout — not in their favor. And Democrats know it. So they’ll continue to hide the ball. the Ball digg:Hiding the Ball spurl:Hiding the Ball wists:Hiding the Ball simpy:Hiding the Ball newsvine:Hiding the Ball blinklist:Hiding the Ball furl:Hiding the Ball reddit:Hiding the Ball fark:Hiding the Ball blogmarks:Hiding the Ball Y!:Hiding the Ball smarking:Hiding the Ball magnolia:Hiding the Ball segnalo:Hiding the Ball

It’s yet another ‘Super Tuesday’, in fact this is the day on the primary here in Georgia. I thought I may take the chance to assemble a few random thoughts in no particular order:

  • There really isn’t anything that John Edwards can do to avoid the inevitable fact that this is Kerry’s nomination to lose. He took a pretty gutsy strategy: fly below the radar when the first battles occurred and then immediately announce himself the second most-viable candidate. That must have been quite a tweak to Dean and Clark who were also still in the race, but they were busy imploding. Then he survived to be the alternative to Kerry. Unfortunately, no one seems to need an alternative to Kerry. Although he looks nice and continues to accurately critcise Kerry about his ability to win in the South, Edwards has little better chance to deliver any Southern votes. I don’t think there’s any way he could make the ticket as VP… they are too similar. I wonder how long he will last. But there’s always Dennis and Al, who will remain in the race as long as there is any money left to spend, mearly because they like hearing their own names.
  • For anyone who doesn’t believe that you have to move completely to the left in order to win the Democratic nomination, a recent analysis concluded that John Kerry has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate (Kerry’s ‘liberal quotient’). John Edwards was fourth-most liberal. And amazingly enough, everyone had to move to the left even more during the primaries because of Howard Dean! Georgia’s Zell Miller showed to be the most conservative Democrat, moving to the right of half of the Republicans.
  • Speaking of Howard Dean, his implosion, and other musing, check out the Washington Post article Divide and Bicker : The Dean Campaign’s Hip, High-Tech Image Hid a Nasty Civil War. It’s a fascinating look at just how explosive the personalities behind the campaign were. No wonder Dean had such a remarkable fall from the top – it looks like it fell apart from the inside out.
  • The Democratic advertising here in GA has been pretty light. Universal healthcare, my Daddy worked in a mill, etc. But I keep wondering why John Kerry wraps himself up so tightly with Max Cleland, former GA senator who lost his last re-election bid. Since the 2000 race, Max has gone from being respected to being a charactature of himself, obviously so bitter about losing to Saxby Chambliss. Cleland keeps pumping Kerry’s military service in Viet Nam including such gems as "We need a real deal, like John Kerry, not a raw deal, like what’s in the White House now. We need somebody who felt the sting of battle, not someone who didn’t even complete his tour stateside in the Guard." Cleland did lose limbs in the service of his country, regardless of how the accident occurred. But that does not give him a free pass. In his sourness, it seems that he has revised history to believe that Republicans attacked his Patriotism and thus voted him from office. What Mr. Cleland needs to remember was that he stopped trying to represent the people and vote the Democratic Party line, such as holding up the Homeland Security bill until there were guarantees that that airport screens could be made Federal Union employees, in an attempt to deliver a new Democratic voting block. That’s what put Cleland out, and what Kerry should fear. Not that that a Yankee can’t win in the South because Southerners aren’t over the Civil War – but that cute slogans don’t always work, your record counts for something. Even Southerners can’t win in the South if they forget that! thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' digg:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' spurl:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' wists:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' simpy:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' newsvine:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' blinklist:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' furl:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' reddit:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' fark:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' blogmarks:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' Y!:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' smarking:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' magnolia:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday' segnalo:Some thoughts on the latest 'Super Tuesday'