Monday, February 16, 2004
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Nothing to see here
posted by Dan on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM
GOP Attack Machine= 0
So what, exactly, is the evidence that ties this to the "GOP Attack Machine"?posted by: Hunter McDaniel on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Didn't Gen Clark or his campaign drop the nugget to reporters, Sebastian?posted by: marc on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Didn't Gen Clark or his campaign drop the nugget to reporters, Sebastian?posted by: marc on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Well, it may be over for some of us, but there are many people who want to believe it so badly that they will continue to believe it, no matter how little evidence supports it, and no matter how much it runs smack dab into the cold hard face of reality. Ideological delusion knows no boundaries.
Anyway, the point of the exercise is to have "Kerry Affair Intern" splashed across the headlines. Whether it's true or not is immaterial. To paraphrase LBJ: No, I don't really believe my opponent has been having sex with his goats, I just want to make him have to stand up and deny it.posted by: uh_clem on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
marc, what evidence do you have for that apart from Matt Drudge saying it happened that way. Clark denies that. Matt says it is so, but no reporter by name has said that yes, they heard Clark say that.
Matt also says there was an affair, but Kerry, the girl, and now the parents say no.
Is Drudge part of the dem or gop attack machine?posted by: occam so far on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian - - - unless Wes Clark & Chris Lehane are now GOP agents, your party's going to get stuck with credit for this one.
Nice attempt to smear the other guy, though. HAH!posted by: BradDad on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Occam: If you go to my first post on the story, you'll see that Drudge was not the only source on Clark's statements. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga -- hardly a GOP operative -- said, "Clark was talking about it to reporters (I confirmed it independently from the Drudge piece)."posted by: Dan Drezner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Matt Drudge was the center of this particular "world exclusive," and it was he who tried to keep it alive. I doubt that Wesley Clark had anything to do with it--he's endorsing Kerry, after all. And as an attack, it's certainly more likely that it has its origins on the right than the left.posted by: BayMike on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Dan Drezner is partially correct.
But 'kos also specifically says that Clark mentioned an "intern problem". There is no intern in the Drudge story. Did Clark make it up ? Did the Drudge story use Clarks widely known off-the-record comment made in front of dozens of reporters as a fig leaf ?posted by: ch2 on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
I heard in the blogosphere (HESIOD?) that Ambrose Evans Pritchard posted the allegation at freerepublic.com, it was picked up the next day by MD, flogged by Rush and then embellished by the Britabs.
Sounds like the MO used during the many hyped Clinton "scandals" which ultimately lead nowhere at great taxpayer expense.
Usual right-wing MO. Walks, talks and quacks like the usual right-wing slime and smear machine. My bet is it is the usual right-wing slime and smear machine.
ymmvposted by: prototype on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Darn you Dan Drezner, .... we shall meet again!
/drinks hemlockposted by: occam so far on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
I love the way that Drezner uses "nothing to see here" as the title of this blog entry -- the phrase that police repeat when they are trying to move gawkers away from an accident or crime site at which there is something to see. It's the perfect deniable implication; you admit that there is no evidence and at the same time imply that the story must be true. Sort of like how Drezner managed to admit that Gore was saying exactly what Drezner himself had, but implied that Gore was out of line for saying it.
What skills. Well done partisan hackery is so rare these days. Or maybe not.
What's bizarre is that the parents were being quoted all over the place about what a scumbag Kerry was just this weekend. WTF?posted by: James Joyner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
“What's bizarre is that the parents were being quoted all over the place about what a scumbag Kerry was just this weekend. WTF?”
This is most certainly a bizarre rumor. I even read someplace that the young lady taped a TV program concerning the alleged affair she had with John Kerry. It is a good thing that the mainstream press held back until more evidence was available. However, why didn’t they do that around 13 years ago when similar allegations came out regarding George H. W. Bush?posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Of course I agree with 'uh clem'. Why? Because I'm a fan of mathematics.
Back and forth arcoss the "=" gives us:
Anyway, the point of the exercise is to have "Bush AWOL" splashed across the headlines. Whether it's true or not is immaterial. To paraphrase LBJ: No, I don't really believe my opponent has been having sex with his goats, I just want to make him have to stand up and deny it."
Which, of course, brings us to Sebastian's
BTW, Sebastion - Can I assume from your characterization of the 'possible scenario' as coming from an "Attack Machine" that you find it benaeath contempt that a possible occupant of the White House could be guilty of such a thing?
No? Yeah - That's what I thought.posted by: Tommy G on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Folks I'm plum out of fingers and toes so maybe someone could tell me just how many times Bush has had to deny he was ever AWOL.
Poor Kerry, the only thing worse that could happen would be if the press saved the story and brought it up each and every time he ran for office like they did to...
You'll pardon me if I don't toss and turn in my sleep over poor Johnnie.posted by: Rocketman on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
"...how many times Bush has had to deny he was ever AWOL.."
Was Bush ever asked ?posted by: ch2 on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Jeez, I was hoping this blog was going to stay clear of this whole lying steaming pile. Can we please get on to discussing something else?posted by: cynical joe on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
"Jeez, I was hoping this blog was going to stay clear of this whole lying steaming pile. Can we please get on to discussing something else?"
That's kind of hard considering the subject title and content, but feel free to introduce a new topic.posted by: ch2 on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Did the fat lady sing yet?posted by: Richard A. Heddleson on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
"Was Bush ever asked"?
Answer: Repeatedly, during first run for governor of Texas, handled and subsequently ignored by electorate. Also by the press until the second run for governor then brought up again-handled-ignored by electorate and put on ice again by the press until the first run for president. Exact same results as first two times. We are now going thru this for the fourth time.
Anyone startin' the think the press is running a hustle here?
Where was cynical joe when we needed him?
Kerry falls a couple notches once I found out he is not a closer.
WTF is going on here. I can't quite figure it out. My latest theory is that Clark leaked for Kerry in a move to find out who they could trust in the press and who would be stupid enuf to bite. Seems to have been timed with Rippers step to JFK's boat.
So far, it's a JFK winner on a couple levels: Rush, Drudge and the Brit tabs are unserious blowhards; JFK now has limited immunity for future rumors in light of this no-where story.
Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain.posted by: Horst Graben on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Have you ever thought that it just might have happened without neferious plans by the [fill-in-the-blank]-winged conspiracy?
Re "AWOL", Jennings lit a spark in New Hampshire by trying to get Clark to disavow Michael Moore and Russert applied the propane on MTP?
Re "SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED", Drudge was looking for another home-run as things have been kinna dull since Monica went away?
Must we have the cloak and dagger?posted by: TexasToast on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Well, I'm a little skeptical of the clear-cut, flat-out denials from the principle players in this little affair. These denials prove nothing.
Where are the expense receipts and the computer records for the young lady, to show where she was during the time in question?
Where are the senator's travel logs, the record of speeches he gave, and hotels he stayed at?
Why can't the senator or the reporter produce anyone who can say that they never saw them together? For cryin' out loud, it was only a couple of years ago, not 30 or so.
Since everything is computerized, how easy would it have been for someone with $600 million to pay a hacker to alter the records?
Sure, her parents said that there was no affair, but they're not just friends of the family, they ARE the family.
Until these concerns are addressed, especially the one about the lack of witnesses, the press has a duty to stay on this story around the clock.posted by: Don Eyres on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Dan's comments on the source aside, even I came up with an earlier link tot he story... back on the 6th.
That said,are we going to see Kerry open up his records to us so we can see she never worked for him? Why isn't the press demanding this as they hAve with Mr. Bush?
"Why can't the senator or the reporter produce anyone who can say that they never saw them together? "
I would be more than happy to say that...of course I have never seen John Kerry period.
The trick here is that it is almost impossible to prove a negative statement. If you want to beleive that Kerry engaged in some funny business there is nothing that can prove that he didn't sneak out late one night, stealthy slip into her house and leave in the wee hours.
Bush is in a slightly different trap. He has to prove that he did something (show up for National Guard Service). This is also hard, but not quite as hard as the National Guard (theoretically) keeps records.
So if you are looking for the same kind of debunking you are probably going to be disappointed. And if you are pre-disposed to trust Bush more than Kerry you have probably found your issue to point to every time people jump on the President for lying or misleading about one thing or another. Enjoy.posted by: Rich on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Count on it!posted by: Rocketman on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
The father says he was misquoted, and even the Sun is backing away - See Kleiman.posted by: TexasToast on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Okay, now that I've read ALL the "respectable" press coverage of the story, I'm ready to weigh in on the debate.
Here's my recommendation: parse the words of the principal characters here very carefully. No one denies Kerry and Polier know each other, yet no one says anything to the effect of "we have met casually" or "we have mutual friends" etc. There is simply NO reference to ANY meeting of the two ever. Does this strike anyone as strange?
I mean, if they have never come in contact, wouldn't you think THAT would be the strongest possible statement: "I don't even KNOW that person, let alone "know" her/him in the Biblical sense. Get outta town. This is sheer rubbish."
On the other hand, if they have met at the occasional Georgetown party, but never got past the conversation over a cheap glass of wine phase, why not speak of THAT at all.
Instead, there is silence. Sheer, tantalizing, mind-numbing silence.
If anyone knows of any SPECIFIC statement either has made about ever having met the other, please bring it to the table. Otherwise, this is the case of the dog that didn't bark in the night.posted by: Kelli on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
sez Drezner: "The Associated Press reports a flat denial by the WOMEN suspected of having an affair with John Kerry:"
Freudian slip? wishful thinking?
haha.posted by: David on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Simple typo -- thanks for the pick-up, however -- it's been fixed.posted by: Dan Drezner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Kelli,as a male with male friends,let me caution you about using barking and non-barking dogs in connection with comments on rumored affairs. Your remarks could be interpreted as casting aspersions on the young lady's looks, rather than a literary allusion.
Meanwhile,the mind-numbing silence of it all is putting me back to sleep. Which is all this scandal has managed. At least the National Guard thing was a more interesting nothing of a scandal.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Dan -- I figured it was a mere typo, but in context it was a bit rich.posted by: David on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
The only thing that went wrong with this story is that we all forgot that Wes Clark lives in his own little universe which bears only passing resemblance to our own.posted by: Mark Buehner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Although maybe the GOP should hold this scandel to the same level the Dems are holding the AWOL scandal to. Meaning that Kerry will be considered an adulterer until such time as he conclusively proves he has never had an affair.posted by: Mark Buehner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
"maybe the GOP should hold this scandal to the same level the Dems are holding the AWOL scandal to"
ABSOLUTELY! The contrasting coverage of these two stories is the REAL story here.posted by: Rocketman on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Sorry guys, but the parallel to the Kerry-Intern story is not the Bush-National Guard service story.
The proper parallel is the Bush-Abortion story being flogged by Larry Flint. See http://www.nydailynews.com/news/gossip/story/165111p-144622c.html
When Bush's denial is front page news (as was Kerry's in today's Detroit Free Press) we'll know that the smear was effective, regardless if it's true.
Deplorable? Absoultely. But classic Texas style politics. Remember, the important thing is to make 'em stand up and deny it.
By contrast, the Bush National Guard story is as fair game as Kerry's voting record. Please adjust your analogies and outrage accordingly.
Thank you.posted by: uh_clem on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
I'm not sure Drudge is in the same class as Larry Flint. My guess is that Drudge's track record is a tad better perhaps some would disagree I do notice not quite as many reputable journalists care to be associated with Flint as with Drudge.
I'm curious, uh clem, if the Detroit Free Press covered the original Kerry story. If not you can add it to the other "mainstream" media sources who, like the Washington Post, simply were not interested in carrying the story at all but were only too eager to carry the Polier denial.
In contrast I know of no mainstream media source that has not carried ALL stages and phases of the Guard story.(once it went national)
The other contrast of course is that in the case of the Guard story, the press has trotted it out for every Bush election, tried it, watched it not be of concern to the electorate PUT IT ON ICE,to keep it from growing stale, and brought it out again for each subsequent election. Maybe you think they will do that to Kerry and if you do then time will tell. My guess is that they will not and that is why I for one will continue to Bitch, Whine & Complain, followed with my DEEPEST concern(and we're talkin' full Daschle mode here)as long as I have the strength.
Finally I hope this election is decided by how many agree with your analysis that the conduct of a 22yr. old guardsman is everybit as relevant as the career statements and actions of a US Senator.
The bottom line is, where does the burden of proof lie? On those making allegations or on the target?posted by: Mark Buehner on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
The comparison of this story to the Bush TANG story is ludicrous.
The Bush story is about whether or not he fulfilled his obligations to the country. Bush has lied about his service (he said in his autobiography that he flew for several years after completeing training. He flew for less than two.) Bush made an issue by trying to use his "military" record to look good. His one lie about the issue is certainly enough to justify looking into the issue further.
John Kerry has not made fidelity an issue in the campaign, and there is no evidence that he has lied about his fidelity.
The other big difference is that Bush can, at any time, put the issue to rest by signing one simple form releasing ALL of his military records to the public, as he promised on national television to do.
On the other hand, it's not possible for Kerry to prove a negative. any hour unaccounted for could have been one where he was having an affair.posted by: Whoever on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Ryan Lizza at TNR is saying he was at the event where Clark supposedly mentioned the intern thing, and he says it never happened. He also says he double-checked with others who were present, and they concur.
Another paper in Britain which ran the Kerry story is owned by Hollinger International, and controlled by Conrad Black, who's friends with righ-wing establishment people like William F. Buckley and Richard Perle. (Actually, the ownership and control of Black are rather in question now, due to his financial shenanigans and self-dealing. I'm not sure what the legal status is at the moment, but he might have informal influence with the editors.)
posted by: Jon H on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Y'all 'r splittin' more hairs than a cheap shampoo. I see lots of "differences" but I sure don't see why that should mean that one story should be resurrected from deep freeze every time one candidate runs for office. The other story not carried by half the press until the denials come.
posted by: Rocketman on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
“The other big difference is that Bush can, at any time, put the issue to rest by signing one simple form releasing ALL of his military records to the public, as he promised on national television to do.”
Nonsense. President Bush is placed in a no-win situation regardless of what he does. People like you will still smear him. Does anybody doubt that immediately upon releasing further documents the leftist howling wolves won’t claim there exists a conspiracy to remove damming ones? This nonsense is starting to remind me of the “CIA and Lyndon B. Johnson murdered John F. Kennedy” garbage.posted by: David Thomson on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
You people. How naive can you be? Look, these denials mean nothing -- literaly nothing. OK, actually they do mean something, two things in particular:
1) Someone got to the girl, and her family.
2) This sudden, implausible, about-face, total blanket denial only serves to INCREASE the likelihood that the original story is true.
IMHO, it now seems VERY likely that the affair did in fact happen. We'll never know now, I guess (and I don't much care). The mainstream media will never touch this story now.posted by: grond hammer of god on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
The Brits ahve a bit of U-turn going on the part of the father this morning. Check Drudge again for the link.
"Nonsense. President Bush is placed in a no-win situation regardless of what he does. People like you will still smear him. Does anybody doubt that immediately upon releasing further documents the leftist howling wolves won’t claim there exists a conspiracy to remove damming ones? This nonsense is starting to remind me of the “CIA and Lyndon B. Johnson murdered John F. Kennedy” garbage."
If he'd get his story straight there wouldn't be any ammo to smear him with. You didn't address the fact that it's already been shown that he has lied about his TANG career. Why should we believe anything he says about it? You also ignore the fact that he said on national television that he would release all of his records, but he hasn't. He's a liar, plain and simple.
I think it's pretty clear that we're not going to get to the truth on this, and that's too bad. But as far as I'm concerned, we can drop it. Except, every time he uses his Guard service as a political tool, he deserves to have his lies about it brought up again.posted by: whoever on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
Does this answer the issue below of whether bloggers and journalists should jump on unconfirmed stories and post/report them?
Yes. It is irresponsible to spread injurious rumors.
See also this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3499775.stm
DLposted by: Dan on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
"Y'all 'r splittin' more hairs than a cheap shampoo."
I hope you won't be too mad if I steal your brilliant line.posted by: ch2 on 02.16.04 at 05:32 PM [permalink]
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