Jewish World Review July 15, 2003 / 15 Tamuz, 5763

Michael Graham

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Keep your eyes on the lies | When the Democratic National Committee sends out a press release about lying, I snap to. It's like getting a stock tip from Martha Stewart or advice on race relations from Dusty Baker.

They know of what they speak.

"Details Emerge of Bush Administration's Year-Long Deception!" screams the DNC headline. "This may be the first time in recent history that a president knowingly misled the American people during the State of Union address [emphasis added], that last phrase being absolutely vital in preventing Clinton wingman Terry McAuliffe from being laughed into Canada.

Presidents who go on TV and knowingly mislead the public? Why no Democrat could imagine such a thing.

The Democrats are desperately trying to knock President Bush off his solid poll numbers with claims about "misstatements" and "deception" regarding Iraq. But the press is going to have to land the punches for them. Thanks to their defense of "President O.J." (we all knew what he did, we just wanted to see if he could get away with it), the American Democratic Party simply has no standing.

The same people who appeared on TV and told us — with a straight face — that the behavior Clinton engaged in with his intern that resulted in his "DNA material" ending up on her dress WASN'T sex, can't exactly expect a standing ovation in their new role as self-declared defenders of the truth.

It isn't helping that the Democrats still can't get their story straight.

The DNC is running TV ads that attack President Bush for his "false claim" in the State of the Union speech that "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

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What President Bush actually said was "The British government has learned [emphasis added] that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." But for some strange reason, the DNC left out that whole "British government" part. Gee, that changes the entire nature of the president's statement. You don't think the DNC left it out on purpose, do you?

Naaah. Probably just a typo. Maybe another intern doing whatever it is that isn't sex instead of proofreading the copy.

In a recent interview, I asked the DNC's P.R. flak, Tony Welch, to explain to me what the Democrats think President Bush lied about. Do they think Saddam Hussein wasn't trying to get his hands on uranium? Do they doubt the obvious truth of Saddam's lifelong obsession with building nukes, stopped only by an Israeli air raid in 1981 and the first Gulf War in 1990?

He confirmed all of that. "But President Bush put something in his speech that the CIA knew wasn't true." Sorry, Tony, but the CIA doesn't know TODAY that Saddam wasn't trying to get uranium from Africa. In fact, if they had to bet one way or the other, they would assume he had been and they just don't know about it.

But where's the lie — other than the DNC's own attack ad? Where's the actual lie?

Well, there is one. The lie was the Bush Administration's claim that the war in Iraq was primarily about WMDs. Perhaps "lie" is too strong a word. It's more an example of what advertisers call "puffery," not actually false, but not to be taken as fact, either.

President Bush lied when he made WMDs the centerpiece of his arguments in favor of war. Yes, the WMDs in question were mostly chemical and bio weapons, not nukes. Yes, the reference to the African uranium was (let's say it together) "16 words out of an entire speech." But the deception was there. Instead of leveling with the American people and saying flat out "We're going to the Mideast because that's where the terrorists are and we're going to whack Saddam because he's one of them," President Bush fed our fears of Saddam's VX canisters in the backpack of an Al Qaeda stowaway headed for New York.

If we find Saddam's weapons, that story stands. But until we do, President Bush's credibility is damaged to some degree. And it should be. He took the easy way out.

The only reason his reputation hasn't suffered more is because the accusers have such sorry records themselves. It was hilarious watching Dan Rather try to take down President Bush with CBS's "Bush Knew Iraq Info Was Dubious" story. Five paragraphs into it, CBS acknowledges that Bush's statement about the uranium was "technically correct." Then they go onto insist that it was still false.

Huh? Of course, this is the same Dan Rather who told an interviewer that Bill Clinton is "an honest man…I think at his core he's an honest person…I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

So George W. Bush's "correct" statement is a lie, but Bill Clinton's lies make him "an honest person?"

Give it up, Democrats. Go back to scaring Grandma about her Medicare and waving coat hangers at soccer moms. Talking about lying is a no-win proposition for the modern Democratic Party.

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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.


07/08/03: ‘LIBERIALS’
07/01/03: Our Strom
06/24/03: Like white on Rice
06/20/03: Security begins at home
06/16/03: DEAR HIL—
06/11/03: Madame Hillary's Lessons for Young Ladies
06/03/03: War games
05/28/03: A few small reparations
05/22/03: Springtime for Hitler?

© 2003, Michael Graham