Tags: Tale | Told | Idiot

Tale Told by an Idiot

Wednesday, 22 September 2004 12:00 AM

Right on, Bill! If ever there was a campaign "full of sound and fury" it is Kerry's, which gets more shrill with each drop in the polls. And not to belabor the subject, but it's hard to avoid the comparison between Lady Macbeth and Senator Kerry's outspoken wife (even more bizarre is the fact that Lady Macbeth was a sleepwalker - just like John Kerry).

But enough of the Bard of Avon. I'm sure that hordes of my very literate readers will find even more similarities between the feckless Kerry campaign and the wise observations of William Shakespeare.

Most shrewd political observers are appalled by the disarray in the Kerry campaign structure, which looks more and more as if it was indeed organized and is being run by some clueless idiot.

On the very day he launched his campaign a year ago, Kerry pledged that he planned on making no staff changes. When asked a few days later whether he stood by his statement that there would be "no changes," Kerry replied that he had "great confidence" in his campaign team, but then flip-flopped, claiming: "Those weren't precisely my words. They were the words of the press release sent out." He then fired his campaign manager.

Since then his campaign staff has played musical chairs, and nobody can ever be sure who's in charge. Moreover, the theme of the campaign keeps changing, being altered every time it falls flat with the voters.

Don't take my word for it. The idiot's tale has been observed up close by none other than long-time Democrat pro Tony Coehlo, who ran Al Gore's campaign early in the 2000 presidential race. "There is nobody in charge and you have these two teams that are generally not talking to each other," he told CBS News, which adds that Coehlo and others see the campaign as involved in a civil war.

Coehlo noted that Mary Beth Cahill, the campaign manager who left the staff of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and veteran Democrat strategist Bob Shrum are at war with the Clintonoids who have been added to the staff. Coehlo said: "Here are two groups that have never gotten along and have fought, and it is a lot over money. Because in the Democratic Party the consultants get paid for the creation and the placement of [advertising]. Republicans only pay you for the creation.

"In 1992, Clinton - nothing to do with Shrum. They don’t want Shrum in any way," Coelho says. "In 1996, they do not want Shrum in any way. In 2000, Gore doesn’t want Clinton people. We go forward, 2004, all of a sudden it’s the Shrum/Kennedy people." Campaign staffers, Coelho adds, "are in serious trouble now, so they want to bring in the Clinton people.

"Our problem here is a national message," Coelho told CBS. "What is it that we [Democrats] are? If you go to Kerry, that’s a disaster because the candidate should not be involved in solving disputes or the creation of his message. "You need a [campaign] boss, somebody who says ‘Shut up, we are going to work this out.’ Not someone who can go around to Kerry, and that’s Shrummy’s forte," Coelho said about Shrum, who has never won a presidential election, from George McGovern to Edward Kennedy to Al Gore.

The Kerry campaign told CBS this is not the case, that Mary Beth Cahill is still in charge despite the hiring of strategist John Sasso as a senior adviser. Moreover, three ex-Clinton staffers have come aboard recently, including former Clinton press secretaries Mike McCurry and Joe Lockhart and Joel Johnson, Clinton's former legislative strategist. With Election Day nearing, it's safe to predict that there will be more changes and even more disarray.

Now we have the latest insanity, born of the serious wounds inflicted on Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on his Vietnam and post-Vietnam record. As I wrote last week, the Kerry campaign settled on the idiot idea that Kerry's wounds can be healed by dredging up the old slander that George W. Bush received preferential treatment as a member of the Texas Air National Guard and failed to fulfill his obligation to the Guard during the Vietnam War.

This was near insanity. The charges have been made and disproved every time George Bush has run for office, as a gubernatorial and later a presidential candidate. They always fell flat with the voters. It didn't seem to occur to the mad geniuses who devised this crazed strategy that it had failed time and again and was doomed to fail again.

Intended to challenge Bush's fitness to command, it ignores the fact that the president already has demonstrated his fitness during his four years in the White House. As a result of wedding themselves to this strategy, the Kerry campaign has now been wedded to Rathergate, a sorry example of just how badly a news organization can hurt itself by tying itself to one side of a political campaign, a fact now obvious with the connection between "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes and the allegedly legendary Clinton mouthpiece Joe Lockhart.

No matter how much the Kerry campaign protests, it is obvious that it was primed to jump on the Rathergate broadcast the moment it aired, as Terry MacAuliffe, Kerry himself and the disreputable Sen. Tom Harkin demonstrated by immediately shooting their mouths off about a story based on provably false documents.

To further illustrate the Mad Hatter aspects of the matter, enter stage left Mary Mapes, the producer CBS hails as a red hot journalist. By a strange coincidence, she shares her name with a 19th century writer of fiction, Mary Mapes (Dodge), who wrote children's stories such as "Hans Brinker" or "The Silver Skates."

Mapes, 48, who is married to Dallas Morning News reporter Mark Wrolstad, is best known for producing the "60 Minutes" exposé on the physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison last May. But the blogger "The Mudville Gazette" wrote that TV reporter Gail Shister claimed, "The scoop was the result of more than two months' legwork by 60 II producer Mary Mapes."

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Mapes described how hard she had worked to find the incriminating pictures: "We ended up chasing it, chasing it halfway around the world and back again. Trying not just to chase the rumors of it, but - but to find out the reality of it. And in the beginning, a lot of it was whispered accounts of pictures that existed somewhere, an investigation that was going somewhere against someone, and we were able luckily to narrow that down and get our hands on the pictures, which really gave us our first real hard proof that this was real."

Oh? Whispered?

As The Mudville Gazette blogger points out, on Jan. 26 CNN reported for all the world to hear: "The U.S. military's criminal investigation into potential abuse of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers at Abu Gharib prison in Iraq now includes reports from soldiers that military police took photographs showing soldiers hitting detainees, CNN has learned. Earlier, several Pentagon officials who declined to be identified by name confirmed to CNN that investigators were looking into the reports - all coming from fellow soldiers - of photographs showing male and female detainees with some of their clothing removed."

That's some loud whisper. Anyway, long after the CNN report, "60 Minutes" ran its story.

Mapes reportedly spent five years tracking down the Bush National Guard non-story - and that kind of behavior is manic, rooted in her furious bias against the president. And that's not just me saying she has a built-in leftist bias.

Appearing on a recent radio talk show on KVI in Seattle hosted by John Carlson, Mapes' father, Don Mapes, said he saw a political agenda behind his daughter's work. "I'm really ashamed of what my daughter has become. She's a typical liberal. She went into journalism with an ax to grind, and that was to promote radical feminism." He added, "When I heard about '60 Minutes,' I suspected she would be the producer of the show."

He confessed to being disappointed in his daughter's role in the controversy. He told Talon News he believed the "60 Minutes" show was "... a farce, it was fraud. I'm sorry as a father that my daughter was the producer of it." His daughter, he suggested, is intellectually dishonest: "She ought to look closer at George Soros or Michael Moore," he advised.

By the way, the idiot is not finished spinning his tale - there's a lot more to come. Stay tuned (but not to CBS).


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Right on, Bill! If ever there was a campaign "full of sound and fury" it is Kerry's, which gets more shrill with each drop in the polls. And not to belabor the subject, but it's hard to avoid the comparison between Lady Macbeth and Senator Kerry's outspoken wife (even more...
Wednesday, 22 September 2004 12:00 AM
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