Monica who? On the eve of Dubya II, Salon‘s Peter Dizikes offers a short but comprehensive list of this administration’s scandals thus far. Thirty-four and counting…not that you’d know it from watching the evening news.
Seven months after the White House declared it had released all documents surrounding Dubya’s desertion, Bush’s resignation letter shows up. “White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the resignation was found in connection with a lawsuit brought by The Associated Press.” Yeah, I’ll bet it was.
Well, even Dan Rather is backing away from the Killian memos at this point, which obviously does not bode well for their authenticity. And as for the larger questions about where Dubya spent all those post-drug-test AWOL months in 1972…well, I’m sure the mainstream press will get to those in due time, aren’t you?
“He showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30 seconds ago. He was famous for that.” Harvard Business School professor Yoshi Tsurumi remembers young Dubya, and, yes, even back then he was a profile in character and courage. “[H]e was such a bad student that I asked him once how he got in. He said, ‘My dad has good friends.'”
The dispute over the CBS memos rages on, with both sides digging in. I must say, the additional information offered by the Post does seem to suggest that the controversial Killian memos may in fact be bogus (although USA Today did independently obtain them “from a person with knowledge of Texas Air National Guard operations,” for what that’s worth.) Which, if so, leads one to wonder who out there could have been so base and stupid as to falsify these documents, when there’s already so much legitimate evidence of Dubya’s desertion. That’s the GOP’s racket, not ours. Still, I’m not yet 100% convinced.
Despite what Sharon Bush is saying now, the NY Daily News declares it has spoken to “an unimpeachable source” who can confirm her earlier declaration of Dubya coking up at Camp David. As Drudge might say, developing…
“Now, would the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron have extravagantly purchased typewriters that contained the th superscript key? Would the military want or require typewriters with the ‘th’, ‘nd’, and ‘rd’ characters? Hmm. Ponder, Ponder. What would the 111th need with a th character… I’ll leave that to the enterprising among you to deduce.” So, as expected, the Bushies are pushing back hard on the 60 Minutes memos, and seem to have successfully managed shifting this news cycle from Dubya’s whereabouts to questions of possible forgery. Well, first off, The Daily Kos (quoted above) has written up a pretty good blow-by-blow explaining how all this new wrangling over font-technology adds up to less than its seems.
Regarding the documents’ authenticity, I think it’s entirely possible that somebody tried to “frame a guilty man” here, particularly given the depths to which we’ve already seen the Swift Boaters stoop. But, for now, I’m still thinking the docs are legitimate, as (a) CBS is strongly standing by them, and have a corroborative witness in Maj. Gen Bobby Hodges, Col. Killian’s (Republican) commanding officer, (b) unlike the Swift Boat allegations, they conform to what we already knew and to other information in the public record, and (c) Dubya’s White House, who knows the full story, certainly didn’t act like these could be fake documents when the story broke. At any rate, remove these Killian memos from the picture and the original question still stands: Where was Dubya, and why did he skip out on a required medical exam? Update: Experts in today’s Boston Globe back up the authenticity of the documents, including one examiner, Philip Bouffard, who had earlier suggested doubts to the NY Times.
“‘It is outrageous and shameful to make the war on terror an instrument of their politics,’ Kerry said. ‘I defended this country when I was a young man, and they chose not to. And I will defend this country as president of the United States.'” John Kerry pushes back hard at Cheney for his indefensible remarks on Tuesday. Whatsmore, Kerry has keyed in on a way to concisely tie together two of Dubya’s most grievous sins. To wit: “George W. Bush’s wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction in Iraq and left America without the resources we need here at home.” Simple, eloquent, and effective.
(No Bill Frist jokes, please.) With the GOP in full attack mode, the press weighs how to handle Kitty Kelley’s book. Newsweek, for one, has already passed on publishing excerpts from The Family. Yes, the same Newsweek who just published this ridiculous Evan Thomas puff piece about Dubya’s personal “transformation.” C’mon, now.
Play with matches, Mr. President, and you’re gonna get burned. With the Kitty Kelley cocaine allegations making the unofficial rounds (I’ve heard the book promotion begins in earnest on 9/14) and the Ben Barnes 60 Minutes interview coming up in short order, journalists start taking a harder look at Dubya’s missing years. Adding fuel to the fire, a group called Texans for Truth has created this ad that will apparently begin airing on Friday.
The fallout from the forthcoming and much-awaited Kitty Kelley book on the Bushes breaks on Drudge today, with Kelley exposing a new twist on what has basically amounted to an open secret: In the book, Kelley “quotes…former sister-in-law Sharon Bush who claims: ‘Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either.’ Other acquaintances allege that as a 26-year-old National Guard, Bush ‘liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine.’” Again, not surprising, given other stories, previous rumors, and Dubya’s nervous habit of incessant sniffling, but it’s nice to see heroic Bush’s wastrel years finally get some play. Perhaps the media will manage to put two and two together.
“‘The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy’s wing,’” A widow of a Texas political operative remembers young Dubya. “Allison remembers encountering George W. Bush in the parking lot, urinating on a car, and hearing later about how he’d yelled obscenities at police officers that night. Bush left a house he’d rented in Montgomery trashed — the furniture broken, walls damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the Birmingham News reported in February. ‘He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people’s possessions,’ Mary Smith, a member of the family who rented the house, told the newspaper, adding that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid.” Yep, he’s presidential caliber.
Hmm. So the military records that would theoretically prove that Dubya was not AWOL and hiding from a drug test in 1973 have been “inadvertently destroyed” by the Pentagon. Funny, that. (Via Princess Diana/Medley.)
As Kerry readies for the big fight ahead, the GOP starts getting real ugly, with doctored Hanoi Jane photos and Drudge-inspired, Murdoch-driven tales of a possible extra-marital dalliance. Yep, the GOP sure loves them the adultery card, but I don’t think that dog will hunt this time around…not after the impeachment fiasco. Update: The accused woman says drop it, already, and Drudge — without apologizing for slandering her or Kerry — changes his tune about the alleged affair.
On the flip side of the card, Dubya’s Document Dump answers few questions about his guard duty, and reports are now surfacing of National Guard documents destroyed by Governor Bush’s people in 1997. And then, of course, there’s the matter of that skipped drug test…
The Dems held one more for the road last night in New Hampshire and, given that a rather bland Kerry didn’t stumble, it’s starting to look dire for Dean, who was subdued and chagrined most of the evening and only now seems to be turning the corner on his Muskie Moment. Edwards did reasonably well despite invoking states’ rights (which never sounds good with a southern accent) to support his convoluted gay marriage position. And I actually liked Clark better than usual, and thought he handled his recent party switch as well as he could.
But, I have to say, I was extraordinarily irritated by the way the whole Dubya Deserter thing played out last night. First Peter Jennings tells Wesley Clark that Michael Moore’s deserter comment was “a reckless charge not supported by the facts” and asks him if it’d have been “a better example of ethical behavior” to contradict him. Clark doesn’t go either way on it, claiming not to know all the facts. (Which is lame — What’s the point of having a General in the running if he’s not going to call out Bush on exactly this question?) Then, once the show’s over, Fox News pulls out Team Bespectacled White Guys (Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes), who both immediately argue that Clark irreparably damaged his candidacy by not refuting this baseless charge, yadda yadda yadda.
Um, am I missing something? It’s been substantiated quite well that Bush seems to have gone AWOL by the Boston Globe and others, and I’m not talking about the six or seven critical hours on September 11 when he was toodling around above the Heartland. While absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence, Dubya seems to have disappeared from the Air National Guard for almost a year between 1972-73, conveniently right before a drug test (an offense for which he was grounded), and, to this day, he has never satisfactorily explained where he was. (In fact, as the Straight Dope notes, later reports in The New Republic (by Ryan Lizza, if I remember correctly) even cast doubt on the half-hearted “some recollection” explanation Dubya gave during the 2000 campaign. (By the way, this all happened several years after Bush scored in the underwhelming 25th percentile on the pilot’s aptitude portion of the entrance exam, thus having to rely on his congressman-daddy’s connections to jump the year-long waiting list for the Air National Guard in the first place.)
Does all of this prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Dubya pulled a Cold Mountain? Well, no, but it’s definitely enough to suggest that Bush has some serious explaining to do. (And he revoked any “youthful indiscretion” type-defense when he began parading around in flight gear on the USS Lincoln.) So, I mean, c’mon, now, a baseless charge about Bush? At this point it seems more correct to say that the bases were “Bush-less.” Next thing you’ll know Fox News will be screaming at John Kerry for perpetuating the “vicious rumor” of Dubya’s DUI.
At any rate, regarding other matters, I didn’t see Diane Sawyer or Letterman last night so can’t ascertain how Dean damage control went there, but I did catch the Dallas-Laker game on TNT, and during Inside the NBA EJ, Kenny and Charles must have played the Dean Scream about thirty times…in fact Ernie had it connected to his desk button. “Nash kicks to Dirk, Dirk from the corner…YEEEEEAAAAGH! Sacramento’s up big in the third…YEEEEEAAAGH!” And so on, so on. Pretty much the first political content I’ve ever seen on the show, and, yeah, it was funny every time. Poor Dean.
The Congressional Sergeant-at-Arms nears the end of his investigation into a GOP scandal involving illegally stolen Democratic e-mails. It’d be nice to see some heads roll for this, (and they certainly would have if the parties had been switched) but somehow I doubt it. If the media can shrug off the Dubya deserter story, they certainly don’t care about this sort of shenanigan.
While General Clark comes out for national service, fellow candidates Dean and Kerry bicker over Vietnam. Hmm…while I’m very sympathetic to the idea that a war record should not be a prerequisite for political office, Kerry’s military service is obviously one of his main selling points, particularly when placed in contrast to Dubya’s AWOL year. So I’d say it’s a dumb call for Dean to begrudge Kerry’s mentioning of Vietnam, and especially given Dean’s own tour in Aspen during that time. For the Deanies, I’d think the less said about ‘Nam, the better.