Jewish World Review Feb. 11, 2004 / 19 Shevat, 5764

Peter A. Brown

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Dems trying oh so hard to keep tired issue alive


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The presidential campaign is already so nasty that the Democratic establishment is taking its cues from filmmaker Michael Moore.

It shows, sadly, that the Democrats believe their core supporters hate President Bush so much they don't care about the truth of accusations that impugn his character.

Moore's politics are so bizarre that even the politically correct Hollywood crowd booed him last year when he slammed Bush during the Academy Award ceremonies when he received an Oscar for his ``Bowling for Columbine.''

A few weeks ago Moore called the president a "deserter," making the unsupported charge that Bush did not complete his military service requirement in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972-73.

The allegation is an article of faith among those who still wrongly believe Bush didn't fairly win the 2000 election. They don't seem to care that there is no proof the charge is true.

Bush has said he completed the meeting and flying requirements, and his honorable discharge proves the point. The loony left raised this issue during the 2000 presidential campaign, but it didn't get any political traction. Democratic nominee Al Gore declined to be associated with the charge, apparently believing that it was both erroneous and politically risky.

The officer to whom Bush was to have reported for duty in 1972, retired Brig. Gen. William Turnipseed, has said he doesn't remember seeing Bush on the base. But Turnipseed concedes that he may not have been there during much of the time in question himself.

The lack of any new evidence to give their smear campaign legitimacy doesn't seem to have made a difference to the Democratic hierarchy this time. Perhaps that's because the economy and the situation in Iraq are improving, and the Democrats are desperate for an issue on which to impugn the president's character.


Donate to JWR


In 2000, they insinuated that Bush wasn't smart enough to be president, but the public's approval of his performance after the 9-11 attacks made that a non-starter. Democratic presidential wannabe Wesley Clark, the former general Moore has adopted as his candidate, refused to dissociate himself from Moore's remarks after the filmmaker made them at a Clark campaign rally.

When ABC's Peter Jennings, hardly a Bush supporter, suggested to Clark in a nationally televised debate that Moore's remarks were "a reckless charge not supported by the facts," Clark responded by defending Moore's right of free speech. Hardly reflecting the good judgment that he brags his military background gives him, the general ducked the issue, telling Jennings that he didn't know enough to judge the matter.

Clark must realize that the charge of desertion during times of war such as Vietnam is so serious that the punishment could be death. His failure to dissociate himself from Moore's charge, despite the president's honorable discharge from the Guard, constitutes cowardice under political fire.

Not only is Clark's shuffle a sorry comment on his own ethics, it highlights the belief that pandering to Democratic voters by bashing Bush without regard to the truth will win points with the party faithful. Yet, Clark, despite his Oklahoma primary-election victory, isn't going to be the Democratic nominee for president.

What is especially disconcerting is the apparently orchestrated effort to keep the issue alive by front-runner John Kerry, whose primary victories have brought virtually the entire party establishment to his corner.

Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who would not go to the bathroom these days without Kerry's assent, said that, although he thought "deserter might not be the right word - AWOL (absent without leave) is more appropriate" to describe the president's behavior.

McAuliffe's allegation that "the facts are that George Bush didn't show up when he was supposed to in the National Guard" is almost as embarrassing as it is unsupported.

When asked about his view of these allegations, Kerry showed his well-honed political skills that allowed him at various times to portray himself as both a supporter and opponent of the war in Iraq.

Bush's military record is "a question that I think remains open," said Kerry. There is some irony that Kerry, who won a Silver Star for bravery as a naval officer in Vietnam, then tried to weasel away by adding, "I don't even know what the facts are."

And that's the point.

There are no new facts, only the same ones that were reviewed four years ago.

The only explanation is that the Democrats are desperate - so desperate that they're stooping to taking their marching orders from Michael Moore.

If Kerry and McAuliffe have new evidence, let's hear it. If not, they ought to shut up and move on to an issue that's not based on a lie.



Peter A. Brown is an editorial page columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Comment by clicking here.

Up


01/21/04: Can whiners ever see positive side?
12/23/04: UN proves yet again it's dangerously misguided
11/18/03: U.N. oversight of Internet: Dumb idea
11/11/03: Absent change, GOP trend continues
10/28/03: Soft-on-defense stereotype — no wonder
10/22/03: Bet on Bush and the economy
09/23/03: France's time to decide: Friend or foe
09/16/03: Alabama no fluke in rejecting tax hike
09/03/03: Why Bush, Dean will win big in California recall
08/12/03: Hypocrisy from anti-death-penalty crowd
08/05/03: The rule of law or the Golden Rule?
07/22/03: A cautionary tale for those who naively believe that political posturing can override the laws of economics
06/24/03: Let seniors make their own choices
06/03/03: Bush bucks NRA to woo soccer moms
05/28/03: Bail out states? It's not D.C.'s job
05/20/03: Lawyers' party hits a new low
05/13/03: Bush mimics Nixon, Reagan by going against the political grain


© 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services