Tags: National | Guard | Stuff | Waste | Time

National Guard Stuff Is A Waste of Time

Monday, 20 September 2004 12:00 AM

For the time being, National Guard has become synonymous with the questions raised about the liberal media. Did CBS fall for a hoax, or did the right-wing conspiracy set up CBS? How could the conservative bloggers have known, even before CBS got off the air, about supposed inconsistencies in documents that were yet to be released publicly? CBS is down but not out. The problem is, it'll be fighting its battles until the next election cycle.

Meanwhile, how could this be any better for George Bush? The impact of a very bad story, albeit on a peripheral subject for him, is totally blocked.

It's different for Bush than it is for Kerry. Bush wasn't running for re-election on the strength of his record in the National Guard. Did anyone ever think he was anything other than the privileged son of a rich Texan who did what he could to fly planes here and not risk his life in Vietnam? Did he ever deny it? Not that I heard.

So how much does it matter if he did or didn't show up in Boston or Alabama, if there was or wasn't sugarcoating, or pressure, or missed flight checks? What do you get if you win? Does it really raise questions about Bush's competence to lead in the future, or only about CBS' competence to report?

And yet day after day, there are still news reports of the war about the war - not this one but that one; about the DNC Privileged Son campaign and the use of interview footage, and whether Kerry did or didn't comment on the controversy, as if it matters. Is it the press feeding the story about itself? Is it Democrats? Why?

Bill Clinton is right, as he usually is about politics. Enough about Vietnam.

Bush is losing nothing in this comparison. He didn't run on his National Guard record. He wasn't trying to get anything from it, so he isn't losing anything. Big surprise: Did you know George Bush is a child of privilege? His record might have been sugar-coated, and now it turns out it wasn't.

John Kerry gets hit because he tried to meet the toughness test as a war hero. The Swift Boat Veterans called that into question. Even if they got their facts wrong, they challenged his claim to toughness. And then they became the media darlings, which earned them $32 million, and still counting.

Terrible luck. Unfair. Should've seen it coming. Whatever. It is the past. Kerry has to move on.

Enough with the war hero. Enough with having things both ways. The war is the measure of toughness. Not the war 30 years ago. This one. It's harder to make it simple. If you're that smart, you can do it. Raise the level of the debate by making it simpler.

For now, George Bush has managed to go from being the dumb president to the tough president, from the president depicted by Michael Moore to the president depicted in the Republican Convention. Democrats need to get off Vietnam and challenge him. Raise the stakes. Make the toughness real. One mistake. That's all it will take.

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For the time being, National Guard has become synonymous with the questions raised about the liberal media. Did CBS fall for a hoax, or did the right-wing conspiracy set up CBS? How could the conservative bloggers have known, even before CBS got off the air, about supposed...
National,Guard,Stuff,Waste,Time
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2004-00-20
Monday, 20 September 2004 12:00 AM
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