Thursday, August 05, 2004
Bush Supports Our Troops: Unless They Are His Opponents
Ok, I'm being kind of hard of George W Bush on this blog, but frankly even as a Republican I think he deserves it. Anyway, I was reading the attack on John Kerry over his service in Vietnam and felt a strange case of Deja Vu. It hit me last night on the subway. Despite all his public comments about supporting our troops, the Bush camps desire to hang on to power pushes them to attack people for their service to our country. The scenario that's playing out in the press this week on John Kerry's service is merely a rehash of the same attacks the Bush campiagn made on war hero John McCain back in 2000 during the South Carolina primary.
The nadir moment occurred February 3rd when a smiling Bush stood in front of television cameras as a fringe Vietnam veteran, Thomas Burch, denounced McCain as a POW who â€œcame home and forgot us.â€� Governor Bush knows Burch well. The same Thomas Burch had accused President Bush of abandoning veterans during his administration, but alas, all old wounds must have been healed in time to neutralize McCainâ€™s war hero factor. Push polling by Bush activists was standard fare and leaflets distributed by Bush allies described McCain as â€œpro-abortionâ€� and â€œthe fag candidateâ€� (because McCain was the only Republican presidential candidate to meet with the gay Republican menâ€™s group, Log Cabin Republicans). One particularly offensive missive distributed via the Internet and to the press was from the Christian Fundamentalist Bob Jones University, where Bush had staked his Christian conservative claim one day after the NH Primary. A professor named Richard Hand wrote that McCain â€œchose to sire children without marriage,â€� among other hallucinations.
McCain fought back (much like a sailboat might take on a battleship) with a regrettable political ad in which he accused Governor Bush of using campaign tactics that were â€œtwisting the truth like Clinton.â€� Clinton is the Anti-Christ to conservative Republicans in South Carolina and Bush was able to use the Clinton comparison to his full advantage throughout the campaign. By the weekend of the primary vote, more South Carolinians blamed McCain for going negative than they did Bush, despite the fact that McCain pulled all broadcast political advertisements critical of Governor George Bush in the last week of the campaign and promised that â€œI will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.â€� (McCain pulled his ads after hearing the story of Donna Duren, who told McCain at a February 10th Spartanburg Town Hall Meeting that her 14-year-old son, who considers McCain his hero, had been push polled and told that McCain was a â€œliar, cheat, and a fraud.â€� )
Change the tone in Washington, A leader who wants to restore moral guidance to America and a man who consents to the worst kind of attack politics. Yes, there's no direct connection to Bush-Cheney 2004 (yet), but as someone whose worked on campaigns in various states and in DC I can tell you this- the announcment this week on Kerry was carefully planned. Of course now no one is talking about Bush's still vague service record.