Saturday, August 14, 2004
Gary Alan Fine's article [Ire to the Chief, op-ed, Aug. 6] is a perfect example of bad sociology. In arguing that people's hatred of George W. Bush stems unfairly from Bush's "follies of youth," Fine reduced the feelings of hundreds of thousands of people to one grandly simplistic narrative, for which he offered not a shred of empirical support.
I imagine that different people have different reasons for their animosity toward Bush. An African American may be outraged by what seem like continual assaults on hard-won voting rights in Florida. A gay voter may resent Bush's attempt to write bigotry into the Constitution. A humanitarian may abhor the needless war deaths induced by incompetence or lies. An abortion rights advocate may loathe the use of breast-cancer disinformation to scare women about abortion. A civil libertarian may despise the denial of counsel to hundreds of people secretly locked up for months but never charged with any crime. Or a fair-minded American may be disgusted by a seeming personality trait - utter shamelessness - that links all these things.
In the nearly three years since Sept. 11, Americans have experienced a dizzying swing from unparalleled though bittersweet social harmony to simply bitter division. Some may blame the destruction of that unity on Bush, who exploited that goodwill to push a brazen right-wing agenda.
Personally, I hate what he has done to my country. He and his people are the greatest danger America faces today. And his shameless supporters keep stealing Kerry lawn signs in my community!
The people running the vaunted Republican political machine appear to have taken complete leave of their senses. The organization of “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” has to be one of the politically stupidest attempts at a smear in our time.
What on earth do the Republicans hope to gain from these smears? Do they really want to make the election a referendum on the Vietnam War records of Kerry and Bush? While President Bush served in the National Guard, John Kerry actually saw combat in Vietnam. President Bush—to put it diplomatically—has been unable to put to rest questions as to whether he really fulfilled his commitment. John Kerry received three Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and the Silver Star.
An editorial in the Washington Post takes apart the allegations by “Swift Boat Veterans for Lies.” George Elliot, John Kerry’s commander in Vietnam, claims that Kerry is lying about his service in Vietnam. Yet, Elliot recommended Kerry for the Silver and Bronze Star and called Kerry “calm, professional and highly courageous in the face of enemy fire.” So did Elliot lie then or is he lying now?
In contrast, Kerry’s shipmates stand united behind him. Jim Rassmann, the man who claims that Kerry bravely saved his life, had no contact with Kerry over the 35 years between the events of 1969 and the 2004 primary campaign. Kerry did not beg him to come forward; he volunteered. While Rassmann and his crewmates actually witnessed the events in question and are obviously not political flacks, “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” is financially underwritten by prominent Republicans.
When he announced his run against Obama, Keyes was asked by reporters about this blatant hypocrisy. He gamely countered that he wasn't a hypocrite because he was running on behalf … of God.
Besides the fact that most Republican elected officials appear - by their actions and words - to, in actuality, be running away from God, we, here on earth, believe hypocrisy is hypocrisy. And thus far, neither Alan Keyes nor George W. Bush nor Pat Robertson have offered us any proof that God is on "their side" or even talks to them.
We used to think that it was only guys on street corners with a brown paper bag and a half of bottle of Ripple who really believed that God talked directly to them. Now, we've discovered that these poor fellows have moved into leadership roles in the Republican Party.
Keyes says that he doesn't need to know any facts about Illinois, because he is championing the issues of the Lord: keeping gays out of schools, putting guns in every pocket, and forcing women to bear children conceived by rape or incest.
When Republicans get backed into a corner, they often resort to invoking (or blaming) God.
The factors that make President Bush a vulnerable incumbent have almost nothing to do with his opponent, John F. Kerry. They stem directly from two closely linked, high-stakes policy gambles that Bush chose on his own. Neither has worked out as he hoped.
The first gamble was the decision to attack Iraq; the second, to avoid paying for the war. The rationale for the first decision was to remove the threat of a hostile dictator armed with weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found. The rationale for the second decision - the determination to keep cutting taxes in the face of far higher spending for Iraq and the war on terrorism - was to stimulate the American economy and end the drought of jobs. The deficits have accumulated, but the jobs have still not come back.
If Bush can win reelection despite the failure of his two most consequential - and truly radical - decisions, he will truly be a political miracle man. But as his own nominating convention approaches, the odds are against him.
Time is short for changing people's minds. Bush is dragging two huge weights - and he has no one to blame but himself.
Florida, the Fun State, is off to a fast start on election shenanigans this year. Undeterred by the state's electoral disgrace in 2000, elections officials there have all but publicly announced, "We're going to cheat again this year." In July, voting rights groups asked for the audits of the 2002 gubernatorial election, supposedly collected by new electronic voting machines. Ooops. Records gone.
Two computer crashes last year, officials said, erased the records of both the primary and general elections. Here's my favorite part: A spokesman for the Miami elections office said the reason no announcement was made at the time was officials believed "it was merely a record-keeping issue." Said Seth Kaplan, "There's always a fine line between speaking out about things that are truly necessary to speak about and not unnecessarily alarming the public." How true that is.
Furthering the festive atmosphere is the unfortunate fuss over the felons' list. You may recall that in 2000, thousands of Floridians were deprived of the right to vote because they have the same names as someone, somewhere who was once convicted of a felony. If, for example, a "Bill Smith" in Kansas City had done time for burglary 20 years earlier, any "Bill Smith" in Sarasota, Seminole or Solana also found himself knocked off the voter rolls. It was a horrendous injustice and a scandal at the time. Who would have guessed that Gov. Jeb Bush would choose to simply repeat it? This guy has chutzpah out the wazoo.
In 2000, a firm with GOP connections was hired by then Secretary of State Katherine Harris (also chair of the state Bush-for-Prez campaign) to scan felon records nationwide and then purge Florida voters with similar - or almost similar - names. Bush officially carried Florida by 537 votes that year. Florida newspapers later found 8,000 of the blacklisted voters had been convicted of misdemeanors, not felonies.
My goodness. Florida Republicans seem to make no effort to even try to hide their chicanery. And they get away with it! What a state.
One-third of President Bush's tax cuts have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, shifting more burden to middle-income taxpayers, congressional analysts said on Friday.
The report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and calculations by congressional Democrats based on the CBO findings fueled the debate over the cuts between Bush and his Democratic challenger in November, Sen. John Kerry.
Using the CBO's figures, Democrats in Congress said the top 1 percent, with incomes averaging $1.2 million per year, will receive an average tax cut of $78,460 this year, and have seen their share of the total tax burden fall roughly 2 percentage points to 20.1 percent.
In contrast, the report showed that households in the middle 20 percent, with incomes averaging $57,000 per year, will receive an average cut of $1,090 while their share of the tax burden would move to 10.5 percent from 10.4 percent.
"It is bad enough that George Bush has no plan to help middle-class families squeezed by declining wages and skyrocketing costs for healthcare, energy and college tuition," Kerry said in a statement.
"Now we find that he is deliberately stacking the deck against them. This is the straw that will break the back of middle-class families."
Did we really need a "study" to tell us that Bush's policies favor the rich?
Friday, August 13, 2004
President Bush has been repeating his mantra about a sound economy for months now, despite numbers that reveal a more alarming truth. Last week's employment report showed that only 32,000 jobs were created in July, stunningly short of forecasts that predicted more than 200,000 new jobs.
Other indicators also undercut the White House's rosy spin. Overall economic growth slumped to a 0.3 annual rate in the second quarter, down from 4.5 percent in this year's first quarter. Consumer spending fell 0.07 percent in June, which was the steepest decline in nearly three years.
Bush's unyielding reliance on tax cuts have so far failed to be the magic potion for a long-term robust economy. The country is facing a record $445 billion national budget deficit and the 10-year outlook has gone from predictions of a $5 trillion surplus to a $2.7 trillion deficit. Added up, the economic indicators are all wrong for a president running on a platform of heightened prosperity.
At some point, either Bush is going to have to admit that the economy is not turning the corner or hope that there's a sudden economic surge to justify his preachy optimism. This week, Morgan Stanley's chief economist called the current approach the "Mythical Recovery.''
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Contrary to the theory of Gary Alan Fine [see the Aug. 10 Chronicle Outlook article Why do so many liberals have this hatred for Bush? Emotional juices bubble from the springs of the past], the intensity of the opposition to the re-election of George W. Bush is because of his policies, not his past.
The president's sermonizing about individual responsibility is irritating, especially since he is the poster boy for the bailout of individual failure by family wealth, name and influence.
However, this hypocrisy is trivial compared to the Bush administration's economic policies that squeeze the working poor and middle class in order to further enrich wealthy and corporate campaign contributors.
The Bush administration's incompetent management of the invasion and occupation of Iraq is likewise far more troubling than the president's individual history. All of these ill-advised policies deserve a strong response.
Bush's historic pattern of covering hard-right policies with centrist-sounding rhetoric muddies the campaign waters. The reality is that more than 50 percent of recent poll respondents believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
George W. Bush and John Kerry have been trading questions about their past views and actions on Iraq. Their campaign exchange is worse than pointless - it is a distraction from the debate they should be having about Iraq's present and future.
Such a debate might force Bush to recognize that he is losing his moral and pragmatic bearings in Iraq as his administration dilutes its commitment to democracy and the rule of law there. And it might force Kerry to spell out a clear, realistic alternative to the current miasma, if he has one.
The candidates' obligations and options are not equal, of course. The president's decisions are not couched in the tactical subjunctive, as are Kerry's promises. Iraq, the United States and for that matter the rest of the world all live with the consequences of Bush's words - if he sticks to them.
Last fall the president gave three stirring speeches in which he vowed to end 60 years of reflexive American support for repression by Arab governments: Morality and pragmatism required Washington to support democracy in the region. Iraq would be the model.
But Bush's priorities seem to be different today, as his administration engages in or condones cynical maneuvering designed not to create democracy in Baghdad but to create political cover at home and fear and turmoil in Tehran.
Mr. Bush has created plenty of fear and turmoil right here at home as well.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
From Clarke's Against All Enemies, Woodward's Plan of Attack, Suskind's The Price of Loyalty, Phillips' American Dynasty, Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud and Imperial Hubris, by 'Anonymous,' to Fahrenheit 9/11 and Outfoxed and The Hunting of the President. Go ahead, Google any one (or all) of those titles. The list is endless and stunning in its depth and in the heat of its unanimous BushCo condemnation.
Hell, it's getting so you can't turn a corner or have a nuanced, humane thought without confronting another hunk of undeniable proof that what these media documents say is true: The Bush administration is quite possibly the most economically destructive, environmentally devastating, ethically corrupt, internationally loathed, deliberately tyrannical, worst-dressed administration in American history.
What, too harsh? Hardly.
When the professors and other intellectuals and the artists and the social workers and the mystics and the truly spiritual among us are appalled and mournful, and the homophobes and the rednecks and the religious zealots are cheering and shooting their guns in the sky, this is how you know.
When America has become a global punch line, a petulant and screeching child in an oversize Texas cowboy hat throwing oily little tantrums on a WMD whim, and the global community can only sit there, stunned and enraged, as every ally withdraws all offers of support and overtures of concern for our well-being, this is how you know.
George Bush is attacking John Kerry again, this time because Kerry reiterated his support for the Iraq war authorization. Beyond the dishonesty and inaccuracy of Bush's statements, what is remarkable is that he presents this as a more important issue on which to campaign than his own record. But given his record, dismal as it is, he may have no choice.
Just what would he say about the economy? Well, he's been saying that it's in good shape and getting better. The truth is just the opposite: growth is slowing; job creation is still lagging; wages are stagnant. He could also claim that his tax cuts have helped the economy, and therefore should be made permanent, an argument he's made since the moment the "temporary" cuts were enacted into law. But all the evidence suggests that his kind of tax cuts -- those that target the wealthy investors -- do little to stimulate the economy and help it grow. The economy, it appears, doesn't lend itself to the kind of bumper sticker Bush needs to get his campaign out of the doldrums.
Bush has also failed in education, in health care, in global relations, in protecting our liberties, in championing the rights of women and minorities, and in uniting the country. Everything he and his neoconservative backers have taken on has turned to failure. And George Bush, with a record he must want to bury somewhere in the middle of the night, chooses to attack John Kerry.
Considering Bush's failures in so many policy areas, it's amazing that he retains so many supporters. What are they approving of?
One of the great mysteries in my life is how so many Republicans read the Wall Street Journal and yet remain Republican.
Because, aside from its extraordinarily right-wing editorial page, no newspaper does a better job explaining just how unfair the American economy has become to the middle class and continually documenting the growing divide between America's rich and poor.
Just the other day the bible of the business world reported on the progress - or lack thereof - of the nation's economy. President Bush, of course, insists that all Americans are making economic gains thanks to the tax cuts he rammed through Congress despite the country's record deficits.
Here are just a couple of paragraphs:
"Upper-income families, who pay the most in taxes and reaped the largest gains from the tax cuts President Bush championed, drove a surge of consumer spending a year ago that helped to rev up the recovery. Wealthier households also have been big beneficiaries of the strong stock market, higher corporate profits, bigger dividend payments and the boom in housing.
"Lower- and middle-income households have benefited from some of these trends, but not nearly as much. For them, paychecks and day-to-day living expenses have a much bigger effect. Many have been squeezed, with wages under pressure and with gasoline and food prices higher. The resulting two-tier recovery is showing up in vivid detail in the way Americans are spending money."
Who is Bush talking about when he says the economy is "strong and getting stronger"?
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
“Unbelievable” is usually a word reserved for breathtaking circus acts or the kind of astonishing oddities found in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but it has now become the defining term for the Madness of King George the W. As I’ve crisscrossed America since the Bushites took power, person after person has come forward — mouth agape, head shaking, eyes wide — with yet another horror story of the mind-boggling arrogance and downright weirdness of this bunch. And every one of their stories is punctuated with: “Unbelievable!”
Bush & Co. have made the bizarre commonplace. So common that whenever there’s another White House announcement of some action they’ve either taken or proposed, people instinctively cringe: “Oh no, here it comes again.” What “it” is doesn’t matter, for people know it’s going to be yet another awful step backward, yet another dollop of unfathomable ideological excess—and another wallop for the rest of us.
When I say “people” cringe, I don’t merely mean yellow-dog Democrats — but also political switch-hitters, Libertarians, non-voters, none-of-the-abovers and — grab your stuffed elephant, George! — Republicans. Not only are lots of mainstream, moderate, Rockefeller Republicans appalled by Boy Bush’s wacked-out, right-wing policies, but so are many Barry Goldwater conservatives. They don’t think of the USA PATRIOT Act, profligate federal spending, unlimited war on whomever, the relentless assault on local sovereignty, the proliferation of executive secrecy, unfettered corporate welfare … et cetera, et cetera, as being “conservative.”
A middle-aged lady came up to me in a coffee shop this spring and said: “I don’t want to bother you, but I want to say that I’m a lifelong Republican who thought I was a good conservative. But I didn’t know what a lefty I must be until these people came into power. Who the hell are they?”
Exactly what I've been wondering.
When President Bush picks up a microphone, bounds onto a stage and engages his cheering audience in a rambling discussion of topics from Iraq to the economy, it comes off as relaxed, informal and largely spontaneous.
"I feel like a talk show host," Bush often says as he roams the platform in the center of the arena.
But these "Ask President Bush" campaign forums, the eighth of which was held at Northern Virginia Community College here Monday, leave little to chance.
The national Bush campaign staff works through a local Republican office to assemble an audience of 1,000 to 2,500 people, depending on the site. The party offers registered party volunteers two tickets — and says more are available if volunteers want to bring open-minded friends.
Depending on the message Bush wants to put across, the local office also lines up some carefully chosen locals to take the stage with him and explain how Bush's policies are helping them afford college, buy a home, save money on health insurance or expand a business. They are given "talking points" ahead of time.
The whole thing reminds me of those weird infomercials that are made to look like a talk show, complete with cheering audiences - and commercials!
This year, the American psychodrama, eh, is the election, and Canadians are taking unusual care, even by their standards, to try to phrase their questions delicately. "You couldn't possibly..." they begin, only to break off. "Are you not aware of what..." "Surely you realize how..." But they can think of no polite way of asking if we are such freaking idiots we haven't noticed the damage that has been done by the Bush administration to the American reputation all over the world.
One tries to explain that, "Who cares what the rest of the world thinks?" is a common American reaction, leaving the poor Canadians to quietly mutter, "Oh dear."
Just FYI, of the many allies the Bush White House managed to gratuitously insult on the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, we miffed the Canadians by blowing off their last-minute attempt to work out a deal for continued inspections under a strict timeframe - we not only blew it off, we went to the trouble of being rude and arrogant about it. Among its other unpleasant traits, bad manners rank quite high on this administration's list of failings. In addition, some right-wingers weighed in with juvenile taunts along the intellectually brilliant lines of "nyah-nyah-nyah."
Sadly, it remains a possibility.
Monday, August 09, 2004
While Bush and Cheney have no problems asking our children to sacrifice their lives for their lies, when their opportunity to do their duty for their country came they hid behind their social status and in Cheney's case took deferment after deferment (Cheney took five).
In case you missed it, the Pentagon recently announced that Bush's records from his time in the National Guard have now been mysteriously destroyed. How convenient. Now we'll never get the full story on the time he spent AWOL from his unit while men of lesser social standing were spilling their blood in Vietnam.
The Bush White House is a reality television show as twisted as anything seen on The Osbournes and the president seems just as out of touch with reality as Ozzy. The only difference is that on The Osbournes it's Ozzy that's the butt of the joke. With Bush and Cheney it's the American people who have been made to look foolish.
When a television show is played out and it's ratings drop it gets cancelled. While it's something he's not familiar with, the truth will be staring Mr. Bush in the face this November when the American people cancel his tired show.
Sunday, August 08, 2004
But as President Bush is so fond of reminding us, everything changed after 9/11. There are a new set of rules in place, and we as a nation can no longer ignore the cancers of our government or our society. We cannot accept a petty tyrant who wields the U.S. Armed forces as his own personal mercenaries. We cannot be drowned out by the continuing mental assault of blatant lies and willful ignorance of the truth. This is not an administration that has simply made mistakes. This is an administration that has gone out of its way, has distorted intelligence and strong-armed the national media in order to garner enough public approval to make those mistakes. In short, this was an administration that knew it was in the wrong, and planned accordingly.
It's not just a matter of "politics as usual". That excuse doesn't hold up. Politicians lie. Of course they do. My dwindling faith in the electoral process and in the electorate itself forces me to accept this uncomfortable fact. But what the Bush Administration has done goes far beyond the normal scope of political lies and disingenuous information. They have crafted lies with a specific military agenda in mind. They are not "politics as usual". They are not the Status Quo.
We are dealing with a very different sort of beast this election year, and a very different sort of choice. Voting for the lesser of two evils has been the ugly fact of American politics for quite some time now, but to call John Kerry (or any number of other politicians, both Democrat or Republican) simply a "lesser evil" than the Bush Administration drastically understates the tremendously negative impact that George W. Bush's policies and actions have had on the United States as well as on the entire world.
The election campaign intensifies "a general tendency to exaggerate worst-case scenarios — that terrorists can destroy our way of life," [Ohio State University political scientist John] Mueller said. "That strikes me as basically wrong. Most likely there is some destruction here and there, which is very tragic — we can't downplay the horror to the people directly involved — but the idea that a tiny group of terrorists on the run can actually destroy the U.S. is extremely questionable."
Other experts agree that the climate of danger and concern is out of proportion to the reality of terrorist capabilities.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national-security adviser to former President Carter, is not so sure, and he worries about the degree to which perceived political imperatives drive leaders in both parties.
"My grave concern is that we are hyping ourselves into a state of panic which is going to discredit us internationally even if it has some utility in the short run for the administration," Brzezinski said. "It reinforces the theme that we are at war. In a war you don't change your commander in chief. This is a pretend war. If it was a real war, we would have a draft, special taxes and a sense of sacrifice, posters with Uncle Sam pointing a finger at you and saying, 'I want you.' "
In anticipation of the day when George W. Bush is no longer in office, it is perhaps appropriate to give some thought to the prospect of a George W. Bush Presidential Library. The concept may seem oxymoronic to some. After all, how do we go about building a library for a man who appears so proud of his alienation from printed matter? He boasts of not reading newspapers, and there is little to be found in any of his public statements to suggest a familiarity with any book whatsoever. The thought of our current president reading, say, Shakespeare, defies imagining. It is difficult to think of him reading Danielle Steele, or John Grisham, let alone the Bard of Avon.
But if the Bush presidency has been about anything, it's been about breaking free of the fetters of the traditional past. It was the Bush presidency, after all, that did away with the fussy old notion about the U.S. not engaging in unilateral acts of first-strike aggression against sovereign nations. It was George Bush, after all, who redefined a "conservative" as someone who believed in enormous deficits. And it was the Bush administration that accelerated the separation of language from action by constantly saying one thing while meaning another; i.e. "Clear Skies" initiatives, and "No Child Left Behind."
Given all that, it may turn out that the George W. Bush Presidential Library (or, perhaps, "Liberry") will be equally surprising in the ways it breaks with tradition, and with meaning.
Last week provided a good example of the dilemma facing the [British] government in its handling of homeland security. The Pakistani authorities captured a laptop computer which provided important information about al-Qaeda’s operations. This led to a flurry of intelligence activity on both sides of the Atlantic. The US response was to mount guards at key points in New York and Washington, a move which created substantial public panic. The British response was less dramatic. We instead released information about a possible, not a certain, al-Qaeda attack on Heathrow. There was also the arrest of 12 suspected al-Qaeda operatives.
Yet only later did it transpire that the information was up to four years old and, in the case of the Heathrow data, there was no specific threat identifying the airport, nor any specific target. The same was true of the supposed threats against targets in New York. Was this old info dressed up as new? And how could we decide on its veracity? To a public sensibly sceptical about the trustworthiness of so-called intelligence, any information following the episodes of now officially “dodgy” dossiers on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction may seem to be another case of the government crying wolf, or at least attempting to scare us into submissiveness.
Yet, as we make clear this week, there is no diminution of the threat posed by al-Qaeda. Its leader, Osama bin Laden, has declared a global holy war on the West and is determined that this will be waged without regard for the number of civilian casualties. Bin Laden has also made clear that his war will be waged until it has been won – by al-Qaeda. The threat against Britain, therefore, remains very real, not least because of Britain’s support for Bush’s war in Iraq. Membership of the “coalition of the willing” means membership of a coalition of the vulnerable.
It's strange how often parallel events seem to occur in America and the UK.
The first thing to notice about the elevated orange terror alert is that it is confined to Democratic stronghold cities and states. The next is to realize that no battleground states will be subjected to formal elevated alerts, lest the security interruptions sour the swing voters residing therein.
Terror alerts are mini-"October surprises" for this administration, ready to be employed anytime President Bush wants to move the Kerry-Edwards campaign off the front page for a few days. The "cry wolf" factor is high. Tom Ridge's claim that his Homeland Security Department "doesn't do politics" rings hollow, given his political background and the boss he is beholden to. Bush can shout, "We're a nation in danger" in the Rose Garden anytime he wishes, but the public may yet conclude that the danger is the president's judgment.
George W. Bush, though, has begun a new campaign of limited candor: He told the National Urban League on July 23 that the Republican Party has "a lot of work to do" if it wants to gain black support and votes. And last week he told an Ohio crowd that the economy "lags" there and that he had spoken with Timken workers who were "nervous about their future" - which they should be, because Timken has laid off more than 1,200 employees in Ohio just this year.
But such admissions are just that: Bush says them and just does what he does. The remarks are to prove he is not completely out of touch; though, in Ohio, as Bush tried to boast of a rebounding economy, his host, Republican Sen. George Voinovich, had already admitted, in introducing him, that Ohio's economy hadn't improved "as robustly as some other states."
I have noticed that Bush always seems to say the right things (how could he not? they've been written down for him to read), but then what he actually does is typically the exact opposite of his words.
[John McCain has] called on the George W Bush campaign to condemn the recent anti-Kerry TV ads questioning the Democratic contender's Vietnam War record, saying, "I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War."
The contrast is killing. The advertisement, paid for by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", alleges to be from a group of veterans who seem to have some form of recovered-memory syndrome, since they have only chosen to speak out some 35 years late. They have ties to the Republican Party going back as far as Richard Nixon. But as McCain so subtly implies, they all inadvertently confirm one thing. Kerry was in Vietnam, in combat.
In contrast, not even the best investigator's dirty-tricks department can find a single veteran who saw Bush in any military capacity whatsoever in Vietnam. Nor during his National Guard service in Alabama for 12 months from May 1972.
Indeed, there are no veterans to dispute the merit of First Lieutenant George W Bush's combat medals or the quality and depth of the wounds that he suffered for his Purple Hearts. Because he was never in combat.
Of course, that is the whole barb of Vietnam veteran McCain's nuanced knockout. Bush "honorably" chose the height of the Tet Offensive to engage in aggressive maneuvers - using his family influence to get into the Texas Air National Guard specifically to avoid being drafted to go to Vietnam.
To do so, he overcame a 25% score on his pilot aptitude test - and a series of driving convictions that should have required a special waiver. He was commissioned an officer despite having no pilot experience, no time in the Reserve Officer Training Corp, and without attending Officer Training School. He ticked the box saying "no" to overseas service.
It was not that he disagreed with the war. Not at all. He kept taking time off to go to campaign for Republican pro-war candidates around the US South.
What a hypocrite our little President is. And always has been.
[Also, check out this article in The Nation about Bush's military "service".]