Thursday, September 16, 2004

What was that story again?

Last night Dan Rather almost cried on TV. I caught the part of his interview where he whined like an accused teen-ager that he didn't mean to publish forged documents, and if they were forged, he'd certainly like to know it (lie--ABC News has found experts that he ignored in chasing the documents story), and besides, he said, the story was true, except for those pesky documents everybody keeps going on about.

What story was that,Dan? From what I've heard (and I confess that I didn't see the original 60 Minues broadcast), the documents were the story. "We've been telling you that Bush was AWOL in the 1970s,that he used his connections to get and stay in the National Guard, that he was a lout and a roust about, and now we've got documents and witnesses to prove it." But the documents are forgeries and the witnesses are deceived, compromised or left out because they weren't on-message, so you're back to your original assertions, made every year or so since you discovered that Texas Gov. George W. Bush wanted to run for national office--and probably before that.

In truth, nobody cares about Bush's Air National Guard record, beyond the factthat he got that "honorable discharge" certificate. He's not claiming that he National Guard experience qualified him to be Commander in Chief ;he's not"reporting for duty" at the national convention; he's not claiming to be a hero; he didn't throw any medals over any fence,and he didn't sell out his fellow soldiers to advance his own political career.

What makes Democratic operatives, such as Rather, so obsessed with Bush's National Guard stint is that they think moderate and conservative voters are stupid. They can't imagine what we think qualifies Bush for office, and all Kerry can imagine is that it must be military experince. In reality, as the elder Bush once said, it's the vision thing.

And so,Dan Rather, with or without forged documents, Bush's National Guard experience is a non-story. There are no National Guard vets out there defending their honor from Bush distortions and slanders, so "rich young man goes into the National Guard and doesn't go to Vietnam" isn't ever going to play against the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. The problem, Dan, is that your man and your party are trying to be something--or several things--they're not.

Then again, so are you.

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