P.S.: I got a lot of critical e-mail (and blog-back!) when I suggested the AWOL issue was being brought to a boil too soon to help Democrats--that it would be better for them to bring it up later. Comes now WaPo's John Harris reporting that "Kerry aides" complained to DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe when he pushed the AWOL idea because
they were worried that the party chairman had raised the charge too early--preventing Kerry from making more effective use of a potent issue later this year if he is the Democratic nominee.
Ha! ... Now the story is almost tapped out and its only February. By November it will probably have an anti-Bush valence approaching zero. But it has helped boost Kerry over Edwards and Dean right now in the primaries, which may have been McAuliffe's goal. [Then why did Kerry aides complain?--ed. I don't know. It might be Kabuki--they want to seem to have complained. As was noted in tonight's Wisconsin debate, Kerry himself could have publicly tried to shut down the AWOL frenzy. He did the opposite.] 11:15 P.M.
Forget Fonda. Check out Kerry's original chin. ... Contraindications: Although a rare occurrence, men who have this chin for more than four hours should seek immediate medical attention. ... 10:59 P.M.
What the Republicans really think: From Sunday's NYT--
And [former National Republican Congressional Committee chair] Representative Tom Davis of Virginia said the White House should sit back and wait until Mr. Kerry had the nomination wrapped up, and not risk helping Senator John Edwards of North Carolina snatch it away from him, since Mr. Bush should be better off running against Mr. Kerry.
On the other hand, I'm beginning to think my candidate, Edwards--while clearly a bigger threat to Bush than Kerry--does not have perfect pitch. The NYT's non-lib, John Tierney, effectively mocks Edwards' imaginary example of a 10-year old girl who prays "tomorrow will not be as cold as today, because she doesn't have the coat to keep her warm." (Second-hand coats "typically sell for about $5 in thrift shops," Tierney notes.) Like "surveys" of hunger and malnutrition, stories of children without coats appeal to sentimental paleolibs, even though--as Edwards surely knows--the problem of U.S. poverty is not, by and large, a problem of this sort of abject material want. Poor housing, yes. Poor schools, yes. Bad neighborhoods with bad services, yes. Never-formed families, yes. Restricted contacts, horizons and opportunities, yes. No coats, no. ...
And am I the only one who finds Edwards' award-winning spiel--about unemployed workers with "that vacant look, 'What do I do now?'" because "this is what they have done their entire lives and they know nothing else"--a bit condescending? Are these people or sheep? I mean, most Americans these days know there is a risk of unemployment and recession as the economy stumbles forward and that they need to be prepared to switch jobs. This isn't 1955. Shouldn't Edwards be "optimistic" enough to convince voters that these difficulties can be surmounted even as he pledges to help if he's president? ... Does Edwards, as a former plaintiff's lawyer, spend too much time finding victims? (Don't blame him. It's what he's done his entire life and he knows nothing else!) ... 10:50 P.M.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
The Perfect Hack:
The always provocative Spy takes the plunge - some might say right into the sewer of sleaze and unnamed sources.
The cover story of its July/August issue discusses George Bush's supposed infidelities and publishes the name of longtime aide Jennifer A. Fitzgerald, around whom rumors have long circulated. The piece by Joe Conason also details other supposed liaisons, including a 1980 relationship with ''Ms. X,'' then a 30-ish news agency employee.
--"Slinging Sex on Bush's Campaign," U.S.A. Today, June 17, 1992
Is American politics suddenly returning to the bad old days, when Washington journalism became frenzied with sheet sniffing and keyhole peeping? ...
Once again, Drudge has raised questions -- but they may not be the ones he seeks to raise. The first is about journalistic standards. The second is the identity of his anonymous sources. Journalists must ask themselves why the rumor of a private peccadillo deserves their attention and resources in the 2004 campaign.
--Joe Conason, Salon, Feb. 13, 2004