Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I really should pay more attention

So last week CBS makes a play to sieze center-stage in the election coverage by putting on the air an entire episode of "60 Minutes"devoted to deconstructing President Bush's National Guard service from many moons ago. They had new memos, they had then-Speaker of the Texas House Ben Barnes--they had, they said, all of the ingredients of a major news-maker in the late stages of this election. And, of course, they have the entire "power" of the Democratic National Party waiting to spring into action as soon as the episode was finished. The setting was right for a major momentum shift in the election. . .

Well, you're not a reader of this blog or others if you don't know that the memos have been proven (for all intents and purposes) to be forgeries. The blogosphere took the lead in casting doubt on the memos, from both a content and a technical standpoint. Slowly but surely, certain outlets of the mainstream media have joined in, and every name that has been associated with the "authentication" process has recanted, until the only source vouching for the memos is Dan Rather--who not only has ZERO CREDENTIALS to authenticate the questionable memos, but also, being the "host" of CBS's "news" hour last week, has more than a little personal interest in seeing the contents of that show hold up to the scrutiny of the masses. The only thing left of interest in the story is how long will Rather be given the opportunity by CBS to extricate himself and the network from the hole that has been dug.

But to the point of this post: So much has been made of the memos that I find it interesting that I have seen very little written about the "bomb" that Ben Barnes was supposed to drop in that same episode. Of course, I didn't watch the show itself--I didn't see any need to, 'cuz I felt that the whole Bush-National Guard thing had run its course. Which leads me to tangent #1:

I have written at length about the Swift Boat Vets' campaign against John Kerry, not because I care what Kerry did in those 4 months in Vietnam but because I care greatly about how Kerry has REPRESENTED those 4 months throughout his entire political career. As I wrote before, the words of today are an important epilogue to the events of yesterday.

Well, I feel that the same should be said for President Bush. EVEN THOUGH he has not even come close to using his service in the National Guard in the same manner as Kerry has used his service in Vietnam, Bush has made some statements about his service, most notably this one:

"Any allegation that my dad asked for special favors is simply not true," said Mr. Bush. "And the former president of the United States has said that he in no way, shape or form helped me get into the National Guard. I didn't ask anyone to help me get into the Guard either"

In saying that, Bush essentially made his representation of his service in the Guard an issue for the current election. So I, for one, actually thought that the leftys had quite a lot to gain from the CBS episode last week: if they could present a valid position that Bush was lying regarding his entry into the National Guard, then that would be a victory on the credibility front. With questions about the lead-up to war never fully answered for the left (despite the clean slate provided to the administration by both the SIC and the 9/11 commission), and with the Swiftees message being so very quiet in the last couple weeks, Kerry could make some serious in-roads with this new attack. IF it was legit. . .end of tangent #1.

Back to Barnes: Why haven't I heard more about his interview?

To answer that, let's first look at how he fits into the big game: to follow the Dems' logic, somebody out there must KNOW that either young George W. or--more likely--his father did in fact ask for special favors to get the "fortunate son" into the Guard, since (in lefty thinking) favors HAD to be done for W to get in. I'm assuming that big "somebody" was going to be Ben Barnes, who was to jump out of the shadows last week and assert with factual certainty that special favors--AT THE REQUEST OF THE BUSH FAMILY--were used in '68 (when Barnes was the Speaker of the House, NOT YET the Lt. Governor) to get W the cherry--and highly cherished--Guard spot.

But that IS NOT what Barnes said. In Barnes' interview, he states that Sid Adger was the person that "came to see me and asked me if I would recommend George W. Bush for the Air National Guard."

Who was Sid Adger? Well, he was an oilman, and a friend of the Bush family, to hear Barnes tell it. Of course, Sid Adger was also a friend of Barnes himself, and more than likely was a Democratic financial supporter, since the Dems were largely in control of the state at that time. It is unfortunate (although interesting, in a conspiracy-minded sort of way) that Adger has passed on--he could probably answer some questions for us. But there is one thing that I do know FOR CERTAIN about Sid Adger:

HE IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE BUSH FAMILY! Certainly, he is not either one of the two Georges.

Barnes' interview did nothing to disprove Bush's assertion that neither he nor his Father sought special favors to get young W into the Guard. That is why Barnes' play has been so thoroughly understated in the last week--he didn't really bring anything to the table. Did he make a call on behalf of young George? Sure, I'll grant him that--but since it wasn't done at the REQUEST of the Bush family, it doesn't add a lick to the theory that the Dems are trying to sell to the public.

Undaunted, McAuliffe has held the Barnes interview and the rest of the CBS story up as evidence of Bush's deceitful ways: "George W. Bush needs to answer why he regularly misled the American people about his time in the Guard and who applied political pressure on his behalf to have his performance reviews ‘sugarcoated'" (the use of a form of the word "sugarcoat" is in direct reference to one of the now-debunked memos). Two questions lurk in the middle there: why did he regularly mislead the American people about his time in the Guard?; and who applied political pressure on his behalf? Factual basis for these questions: zero. THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE THAT PROVES--or even legitimately implies-- that Bush has misled ANYBODY about his service in the National Guard. Also, there is nothing out there that legitimately proves that there was pressure applied to Bush's evaluators to "sugarcoat" reviews of the young Lt. Bush.

To recap: A big hour-long exclusive (that was probably free to the DNC, I would think. Someone should look into that. . .) attacking the President that doesn't help establish a single new legitimate charge against him; the thoroughy-discredited "new evidence" from that propoganda-fest is being used TODAY (5 days after their virtue is called into serious question) by your party leadership as the basis for ridiculous accusations against the administration; and Kandidate Kerry hasn't said word one in front of the cameras in three days (I'll not give credit to his phone interview with Time on Sunday--he chose time, place, medium and length. The whole thing wasn't very Presidential, if you ask me).

That's some message!


Blogger Michael said...

Good points about Barnes, both here and in your comment. I was thinking about this point while writing my post, but was trying to stick to one point. I'll refer people here for your much more-to-the-point discussion.

8:49 AM  

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