Thursday, February 12, 2004

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To care or not to care

Megan McArdle has adopted an official position on the Kerry Kerfuffle:

I don't care. I don't care so much that I wish I could hit myself in the head wtih a hammer right now until all memory of this story falls out and makes room for something useful....

It's mildly interesting from a sociological standpoint --are these guys all having affairs with their interns?-- but in the final analysis, who the hell cares? Not me. I'm going to go have a stiff drink and try to forget I ever heard about this. Not that I imagine my drinking companions will let me. Sigh.

I mostly agree with Megan's first sentence, in that this sort of information would be unlikely to affect my vote. However, I will confess to being interested in a) how this story became a story, and; b) whether Kerry will be able to ride it out. My gut-level responses are a) Lehane and b) yes.

On Megan's socioligical question regarding fascination with interns, David Plotz penned a Slate essay during the Chandra Levy disappearance that's worth excerpting cause it's true:

Washington's interns are valuable more for psychological reasons than economic ones. Though Hill rats would never admit it, interns decynicize D.C.; Washington thrills them (at least for the six weeks till their disillusionment). They may be calculating and ambitious, but they remind their beaten-down editor, their dispirited chief of staff, their venal executive director of why what they do is important and interesting and exciting. Their idealism is fuel for the city.

This vitality is also why it's so easy to understand the not-infrequent affairs between female interns and powerful men. (Though there are no good numbers on this, anecdotal evidence suggests that females are a growing majority of D.C. interns.) The intern is attracted to the man for obvious reasons: The interns are young, they're hormonal, and they're political junkies. To them, a second-rate congressman looks like Mick Jagger.

And why are the men infatuated? It's not just because the interns are young and sexy. It's because the interns still honestly believe in Washington, believe that a congressman is just as important as he thinks he is. In a jaded city, that faith is the rarest and most enticing quality of all.

UPDATE: Sorry about the technical errors in the first version of this post.

posted by Dan on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM


I was wondering when the scandal would erupt. It's a pattern. The media bring out an old absurd accusation (Bush AWOL)that has been already been thoroughly vetted and then as if by magic some Democrat garbage comes gurgling up from the tar pits.

It's far more likely that Hillary is behind this. She must discredit Kerry so he won't win enough primary votes to win the nomination. His wife might be backing her too. Maybe Teresa can be the secdef. She'll have all the qualifications that she'll need. She speaks fluent French and I think several other languages, none of which are English.

posted by: erp on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

This entry is an EXCELLENT example of inverted pyramid reporting.

posted by: anne.elk on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I am a theological modernist. Still, I feel a bit uneasy with some people’s claimed indifference concerning someone’s violation of their marriage vows. Can an individual who betrays this sort of trust, be relied upon in other moral matters? I have my doubts.

Will these charges, if true, hurt John Kerry in the long run? The answer is a modest and hesitant yes. The voters will overlook a lot of misbehavior if they truly desire one candidate over another, as they did in the recent Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign. But in a tight election, it probably will hurt the adulterer by around 2 to 3 percentage points.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Hey Dan:
Could we get one of YOUR interns to turn off the italics? Thank you.

Hope they're not, er, busy with other things.


posted by: SteveMG on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Explaining it, of course, doesn't justify it.

posted by: Crank on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Your indenting seems kind of messed up.

posted by: Kevin on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I care. I care about whether the press will display the same dogged determination to ferret out all the details that they have shown on the Bush AWOL story. Until that story goes away you can bet I will be DEEPLY concerned--we're talkin' full Daschle mode here.

posted by: Rocketman on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Maybe he's allowed as part of the conditions of the prenup with Heinz?

ie, "I don't get to touch your money, but I do get to touch the occasional young lady".

posted by: Jon H on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

What's the difference between a senator sleeping with an intern a fraction of his age, and a university professor bonking one of his students?

If an intern's fresh face and enthusiasm provide such high-powered juice to sagging Washington insiders, does that NECESSARILY mean shagging must commence? And if shagging does not automatically commence, what's that say about the guys and gals who don't fornicate/commit adultery? Are they superior beings or beyond the redemption of cheap sex?

And, finally, aren't there any discreet call girls left here in Washington, or have they been driven out of business by horny interns?

Just curious (and, yes, I think I DO care).

posted by: Kelli on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I think David Plotz is right. Mick Jagger *does* look like a second-rate congressman. A little more Botox and a lot more work on his gravitas might put him in the big leagues.

posted by: Joel on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I don't get it. We're supposed to take "Drudge"'s muckracking word for it. Why not look for the Bush story in the National Enquirer. Laughable.

posted by: ch2 on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Drudge is now reporting that the alleged woman fled to Africa.

On the one hand, Africa seems like it would be pretty low on one's list of desirable hideout spots when caught in an affair with a rich politician.

On the other hand, Teresa Heinz is supposedly of African origin. Maybe the love interest is her niece (or great-niece?).

posted by: Jon H on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Just wait, once this intern scandal is over, drudge and the rnc are about to blow apart the whole kerry/berkeley link.

That's right, Heinz 57 used to have a major factory in Berkeley, RIGHT ON SAN PABLO Avenue!

posted by: anne.elk on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I had the unworthy thought at the time he wrote his Slate piece that David Plotz was merely rationalizing his frustration at getting turned down by so many Washington interns with the assumption that they must all be infatuated with Congressmen. There are not really that many other good explanations for his going on about members of Congress dating their interns, something that can happen but usually doesn't for very good reasons having to do with the close quarters Congressional members and staff have to work in. If John Kerry had been dating one of his own interns we wouldn't need Drudge to find out about it for us -- it would have been all over the Senate cafeterias within weeks of starting.

As far as Kerry's marital history is concerned, we were bound to hear about this sooner or later. I don't have a strong opinion about it right now. Private failings can be worth overlooking in an extraordinary public servant, but it's a stretch to call Kerry that, and we don't know how far his failings extend. I suppose we'll find out, as we would with any Democratic nominee, and as we would have with Bush if he'd had anything to hide.

posted by: Zathras on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Anyone who takes the high road this year is going to get his ass handed to him in November so I say screw taking the high road. Since the gloves are obviously off let's pursue this story with the same dog on a hambone tenacity that has fueled this Bush AWOL fairytale. You can't bring a knife to a gunfight and expect to win.

posted by: zubby on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

From all that I've read, zabby, I'd say the AWOL thing isn't a fairy tale. There are alot of discrepancies that the Bush team, for some reason, seems unwilling or unable to clear up. Check out CalPundit for all the details.

posted by: Dave on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

The Democrats have been trying to make this an issue since George Bush's second term as governor. If there was anything legitimate to this story it would have surfaced in the 2000 election. The fact that Terry McAuliffe resurrected it immediately tells you its bogus.

John Kerry is the one auditioning for the job and I find him ... lacking. His 20 year voting record on national security matters will expose him as the weak, UN butt-kissing liberal that he is. I really want to see how his "band of brothers" schtick plays to a national audience of Vietnam Veterans once his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee becomes part of the public discourse again. Bring it on? Oh, I can't wait.

posted by: zubby on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Will these charges, if true, hurt John Kerry in the long run? The answer is a modest and hesitant yes. The voters will overlook a lot of misbehavior if they truly desire one candidate over another, as they did in the recent Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign. But in a tight election, it probably will hurt the adulterer by around 2 to 3 percentage points.

I agree, but I think a more important point is this: this sort of "misbehavior" is going to hurt certain _types_ of candidates more than others. Arnold was big and macho and tough; his "misbehavior," if anything, added to his image. Clinton was slick, down-to-earth, the sort of guy who could play a sax on Arsenio.

But Kerry has to win by appearing more "presidential," for lack of a better word, than Bush. And this is not "presidential" behavior. It could definitely cost him a bit. Not a ton, but a bit.

posted by: David Nieporent on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

At this point, this seems like incredibly bad taste to link to, from what I think of as a "higher brow" Republican site. Sad, actually.

But, since, as atrios is saying, there is unsourced linking to the National Enquirer, etc, here's a National Enquirer claim about Bush having an affair:

Now, at this point, I would take both of these stories, the Kerry one and the Bush one, and think they are full of it.

But Dan, why in the world, at this point, link to this? How is your linking to this affair story for Kerry (at this point of course) any better than the link to the Bush affair story?

posted by: JC on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Just out of curiosity, why do you guys think the AWOL story is resolved? Bush said on Meet The Press that he'd release all his military recoreds, and surprise, surprise, he STILL hasn't. Bush could shut everyone up by just releasing ALL his records. He refuses to do this. How is this a non-story?

What part about Bush taking back his word is a non-story? What part about people heckling clinton for being a draft-dodger did you forget?

posted by: Nadeem Riaz on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Dear Kelli,

The oldman doesn't think this rumor is true about Kerry. While the oldman does think that Kerry has bedroom dirt smeared about someplace, he's pretty sure that this isn't it. The man simply has different tastes. Besides, the poor bastard has just had prostrate surgery which often leaves men impotent. Is it really fair to bash a guy who probably can't even perform anymore, taunting him about his exploits and indiscretions decades ago? Personally, the oldman would rather take his chances with his prostate intact. It just makes me wince to think about losing that aspect of my masculinity. I truly sympathize with Kerry on this one.

posted by: Oldman on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

“Bush could shut everyone up by just releasing ALL his records. He refuses to do this. How is this a non-story?

What part about Bush taking back his word is a non-story? What part about people heckling clinton for being a draft-dodger did you forget?”

President George W. Bush could release every single record, and it wouldn’t make the least bit of difference. The liberal establishment would still harass him over this non-story. He was just another airman at the time and his father a mere unknown congressman. There is no reason why anyone should remember the particulars of his service. The fair thing to do is to take him at his word unless you have solid proof of chicanery---and you don’t. At the very worst, Bush merely did the bare minimum required by his superiors who could have cared less about the adherence to the nitpicky aspects of his original orders. The VietNam war was winding down and many military people were going back to their lives in the private sector.

The Bill Clinton situation is entirely another kettle of fish. He has been caught outright lying about his draft status. There is no ambiguity or confusion to deal with. We do have solid proof of Clinton’s lies!

posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Hey Oldman,

Wow, this makes a great topic for debate on the eve of Valentine's Day! Always good to get a man's perspective ("Honey, I was worried about being able to, you know, perform for you. Thought I'd test out the old engine--with a boost from viagra, levitra? enquiring minds wanna know!--before parking it in our garage.")

I'm interested in seeing how Kerry deals with this. Being scrappy is as important in this sweepstakes as being moral. Can't tell you how many times I've stopped people mid-sentence as they went on about how Gore "won" the election by saying, "yeah, but he didn't FIGHT for it in the end, and possession is 100% of the law." No scrappy, no prize.

Let's bring this back around to the romance/Valentine's Day stuff for a moment: chicks dig scrappy. A guy can get the pants kicked out of him by a bigger guy, but if the little guy goes down fighting, he can still win with the ladies. And what works on the personal level can work with the electorate (sorry guys, but elections are all about wooing and being wooed--we're all "girls", they're all "guys").

In short, if Kerry stands tall here, I'll probably overlook the (alleged) inability to keep the pecker in the pocket. If he runs or ducks the punch, I go home with the other guy. All's fair in love and politics.

posted by: Kelli on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

I wait for the day, when one of these little sex scandals comes out, for the politician to get up and say:

"Yes, the charge is true. And I have spent ever day since I broke it off trying to make it up to my spouse. Now, I don't think there's any more to be said, do you?"

But, now that Kerry has denied all and perhaps (cue dramatic music please) "Lied About It",the press has its cue to go investigate away. Though none of this is any of its (supply obvious pun here)-ing business.

I hope, for Kerry's sake and his wife's sake that it's not true. Because if it is,and there's any proof anywhere, it's going to get very very bad. And then, after the damage is done, the press can stare at its navel for a while, beat its breast and inquire "Why do we keep doing this to people"? Just before doing it all over again.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Well, AM, I think Bill and Hillary pretty much poisoned the well as far as the approach you are recommending. "Making mistakes" and admitting them before they become a big deal is a good idea, but if the "mistakes" are then repeated you look like a jerk and all the people who believed you feel used. And the media will use you as their excuse not to believe anyone with a similar story in the future.

posted by: Zathras on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Once you admit a specific accusation of a personal nature, you tend to take it off the table, because there is nothing left to investigate. And you make the press look like creeps for trying. Clinton did not do that because he admitted bad behavior, but did not admit the actual (true) Gennifer Flowers story.

Suppose Bush admitted specifically that his National Guard service was kind of pathetic. "I was a kid and frankly I was pretty worthless back then." There would have been the story. Then it would have gone away. (When was the last time you worried about his DUIs?) Think there'd be this big huge hue and cry?

Politicians seem to think that they must seem to be infallible human beings with perfect family lives, and nothing to regret in their past. (Alas, I think a great many are narcissitic enough to believe that about themselves.) If they did not work so hard to conceal all their failings, I think you'd find the press and the people not particularly caring much about them.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

"It's mildly interesting from a sociological standpoint --are these guys all having affairs with their interns?"

It's my understanding (from reading most everything I could find on this) that, assuming there was some kind of sexual relationship between Kerry and an intern, Kerry was divorced (or at least legally separated) at the time of the alleged relationship, and the intern was not one of his.

Also upthread was a comment to the effect of a Kerry sleeping with this intern being analogous to a professor sleeping with one of his or her students. A superior sleeping with a very junior staff member is indeed analogous to a professor sleeping with one of his students. It's reprehensible and a clear violation of all professional ethics. However, I'd argue that a Senator sleeping with an intern not part of his staff is analogous to a professor sleeping with a student whom he does not have in class. A bit murkier, probably distasteful, but as long as all parties are consenting single adults, is there really any foul?

posted by: arr-squared on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

“Suppose Bush admitted specifically that his National Guard service was kind of pathetic. "I was a kid and frankly I was pretty worthless back then." There would have been the story. Then it would have gone away. (When was the last time you worried about his DUIs?) Think there'd be this big huge hue and cry?”

But what if there isn’t anything to admit? Is President Bush suppose to plead guilty, nonetheless? Hasn’t this episode begun to remind you of a Stalinist trial---you are to plead guilty even if you’re innocent.

I will give you something else to chew on. What if Bush’s superiors decided to say that his duties have essentially been completed---even if weren't---and never told him? Once again, this was the end of the Vietnam war. Many of the National Guard commanding officers were focussing on closing down shop.

posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Since some will contuniue to steer any thread to their ridiculuous ends, I offer this for your benefit Nadeem:

George Bush and I were lieutenants and pilots in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Texas Air National Guard (ANG) from 1970 to 1971. We had the same flight and squadron commanders (Maj. William Harris and Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, both now deceased). While we were not part of the same social circle outside the base, we were in the same fraternity of fighter pilots, and proudly wore the same squadron patch.
It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today. If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush. They deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community's attention.
The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.
If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101, which required that more pilots be available for full-time instructor duty rather than part-time traditional reservists with outside employment.
The winding down of the Vietnam War in 1971 provided a flood of exiting active-duty pilots for these instructor jobs, making part-timers like Lt. Bush and me somewhat superfluous. There was a huge glut of pilots in the Air Force in 1972, and with no cockpits available to put them in, many were shoved into nonflying desk jobs. Any pilot could have left the Air Force or the Air Guard with ease after 1972 before his commitment was up because there just wasn't room for all of them anymore.
Sadly, few of today's partisan pundits know anything about the environment of service in the Reserves in the 1970s. The image of a reservist at that time is of one who joined, went off for six months' basic training, then came back and drilled weekly or monthly at home, with two weeks of "summer camp." With the knowledge that Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara were not going to call out the Reserves, it did become a place of refuge for many wanting to avoid Vietnam.
There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2½ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.
The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.
Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.
Well, as for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.
Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.
As a commander, I would put such "visitors" in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can't even recall their names. If a Lt. Bush came into my unit to "pull drills" for a couple of months, I wouldn't be too involved with him because I would have a lot more important things on my table keeping the unit combat ready.
Another frequent charge is that, as a member of the Texas ANG, Lt. Bush twice ignored or disobeyed lawful orders, first by refusing to report for a required physical in the year when drug testing first became part of the exam, and second by failing to report for duty at the disciplinary unit in Colorado to which he had been ordered. Well, here are the facts:
First, there is no instance of Lt. Bush disobeying lawful orders in reporting for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month's weekend drill assembly — the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons: The clinic is closed that month for special training; the individual is out of town on civilian business; etc.
If so, the pilot is grounded temporarily until he completes the physical. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain. Blood work is done, but to ensure a healthy pilot, not confront a drug user.
Second, there was no such thing as a "disciplinary unit in Colorado" to which Lt. Bush had been ordered. The Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver is a repository of the paperwork for those no longer assigned to a specific unit, such as retirees and transferees. Mine is there now, so I guess I'm "being disciplined." These "disciplinary units" just don't exist. Any discipline, if required, is handled within the local squadron, group or wing, administratively or judicially. Had there been such an infraction or court-martial action, there would be a record and a reflection in Lt. Bush's performance review and personnel folder. None exists, as was confirmed in The Washington Post in 2000.
Finally, the Kerrys, Moores and McAuliffes are casting a terrible slander on those who served in the Guard, then and now. My Guard career parallels Lt. Bush's, except that I stayed on for 33 years. As a guardsman, I even got to serve in two campaigns. In the Cold War, the air defense of the United States was borne primarily by the Air National Guard, by such people as Lt. Bush and me and a lot of others. Six of those with whom I served in those years never made their 30th birthdays because they died in crashes flying air-defense missions.
While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. We were the pathfinders in showing that the Guard and Reserves could become reliable members of the first team in the total force, so proudly evidenced today in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It didn't happen by accident. It happened because back at the nadir of Guard fortunes in the early '70s, a lot of volunteer guardsman showed they were ready and able to accept the responsibilities of soldier and citizen — then and now. Lt. Bush was a kid whose congressman father encouraged him to serve in the Air National Guard. We served proudly in the Guard. Would that Mr. Kerry encourage his children and the children of his colleague senators and congressmen to serve now in the Guard.
In the fighter-pilot world, we have a phrase we use when things are starting to get out of hand and it's time to stop and reset before disaster strikes. We say, "Knock it off." So, Mr. Kerry and your friends who want to slander the Guard: Knock it off.

U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard
Herndon, Va.5

Pb: Art Wellesley via link at instapundit. Sorry about the protocol, Dan - won't happen again. Sometimes there's nothing that can be said that's better than the original.

posted by: COL. Will Campenni on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Is that the same Campenni, who when asked why he chose just now to finally come forth with his story, he replied that "The stupidity reached a critical mass".
He also said that he doesn't know why it's been so difficult for the national media to get in contact with him to verify his story, though he believes that stupidity has something to do with it.

When asked about being stationed in Pittsburgh, not Alabama and the fact that his story leads one to believe he was in grad school from '71-72 (the same years as the hole in Bush's record) and thus incapable of vouching for where the president was, his reply? An evasive "Nice Try".

posted by: ch2 on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Dear Kelli,

You write:
"In short, if Kerry stands tall here, I'll probably overlook the (alleged) inability to keep the pecker in the pocket. If he runs or ducks the punch, I go home with the other guy. All's fair in love and politics."

Always fascinating to get the feminine perspective. Well we know Kerry is a bare-knuckles type fighter. He's hardly likely to wilt. The oldman still winces every time he hears Kerry speak since the man is as dry as a stick, but he's not likely to back down. Last I heard he was saying, "There is no story, move on." Dunno if that qualifies as "scrappy" enough for ya. As ya'll know Dean was my feller even if he has been beaten to within an inch of complete submission. He was quite a fighter. Still fighting too. But the people have spoken even if the fat lady ain't sang yet. Too bad he never hired the oldman, sounds from Trippi to his bad foreign policy advice he was getting screwed six ways till Sunday.

Bush is in trouble, and I think that's probably Kerry's appeal more than anything else. If Bush's ship righted again, Kerry might be in big trouble. Oh and about that prostrate surgery thing, when they remove said prostrate the nerves are often damaged and this is what produces the dreaded impotence. Viagra don't help none. Personally, if the oldman ever has to face that situation he'll prolly take a pass on the extra years of life. There is such a thing as quality of life ya know. ;-)

Fact is I don't think this story has legs. The dirt's elsewhere on Kerry, fortunately where a guy like Drudge is too relentlessly unimaginative to look.

Well have a happy Valentines day Kelli with your spouse. Happy Valentine's day ta ya all!

posted by: Oldman on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

Yes, Mr ch2, it is. He'd be that self-same Colonel who's letter is validated by the record release yesterday.

I believe Mssrs Rove and Gillespie call it their "Rope-a-Dope" Strategy.

Said another republican activist "Yippie-Ki-ay...

posted by: Art Wellesley on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

In support of accuracy, it should be pointed out that the woman in question was not an intern. I suppose "intern" is used because it makes a better (though inaccurate) story.

posted by: BayMike on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]


I need some help on the Bush AWOL story. Preferably from someone who served or has knowledge of the UCMJ. I THINK I understand that the AWOL story is Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense but it is so obvious that I'm thinkin' there's somethin' I'm missing. Please maybe an ex military person can explain to THIS ex-military person why I've got it wrong.

Bush is only AWOL if he is charged with it by a member of his chain of command. Believe it or not as far as I know their discharge of their responsibiliy to discipline troops is not subject to review by Michael Moore, Kevin Drum Joshua Michael Marshall or anyone else outside of the chain of command. Is there a record of his being charged with AWOL? Answer no. Then--NO AWOL They could have pictures of Bush in a trench coat in Moscow handing a briefcase to a KGB agent. The fact is if none of his superiors charged him with AWOL--he was not AWOL.

Big mystery was Bush ever AWOL? Steps to solve this mystery1)Ask his company commander if he ever charged Bush with AWOL answer no -NO AWOL
2)Ask Bush's Battallion Commander if he ever charged Bush with being AWOL answer no -NO AWOL
3)Ask Bush's Division commander if he ever charged Bush with being AWOL answer no-NO AWOL
4)Ask Bush's Corps commander if he ever charged Bush with being AWOL answer no-NO AWOL
5)Ask the President of the United States if he ever charged Bush with AWOL answer no-then NO AWOL

Who ever does not like the answer to these questions should feel free to take it up with the five individuals above and challenge them to justify there decision to not discipline Bush. I'd love to be there when that happened. The fact is the command structure's decision on whether or not to discipline a given soldier is not up for review. There inaction kinda suggests to me that Bush was clearly not anywhere he wasn't supposed to be.
Will someone please explain to this non educated farm boy just why this is so f@#$ing complicated?

I would appreciate it very much and apologize in advance for missing what is apparently so obvious to everybody else. Thankyou

posted by: Rocketman on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]


COL Campenni's letter, posted above (it's from the original he sent in as a LTTE at one of the big city papers), speaks to everything you're looking for. As Art intimated above, all the antagonists that continue to 'raise the question' know that what you ask is true. THey know that this is not the point. They are completely aware of the fact that the thing is to continue to ask the question so that they can 'truthfully' report "questions continue to be raised". Clever, huh?

Too clever by half, actually. What the antagonists have suceeded in doing is 'forcing' the protagonists to 'reluctantly' release his 201 file.

Oh no - not that! We hadn't thought of that! No we're going to have to circulate all those OER's that speak so highly of him. Those who find this too thibck to grasp may do well to rewatch their copy of "A Few Good Men" - referenced section: Court room exchange between Lt Weinburg and CMDR Calloway concerning 'expert witness'

Remember to dress those 'rope' burns, kids - you'll get an infection.

posted by: Tommy G on 02.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

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