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September 12, 2004 - Fighting Dirty

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Mark A. R. Kleiman says things here that I have not seen elsewhere, thus I distrust this assertion.


Bush's return to drinking is apparently common knowledge in DC, though it seems unlikely anyone will talk on the record.


So it’s common knowledge?  That’s an old political dirty trick.  Make a wild claim that cannot be proved and hope people start believing it?  Maybe there’s a reason hardy anyone will talk on record.  Maybe it’s not true.

Does that matter?  This methodology worked for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.  And Dennis Hastert has tried it out on George Soros.  Are we coming down to this on both sides?

Hell, there has been word out for two years now that Larry Flynt has the goods on George Bush, that Bush arranged an illegal abortion for a girlfriend long ago.  Flynt says he's waiting to reveal all.  But he hasn’t.
Kleiman also says this -


The abortion story is old news, but seemed to be solid, at least by Swift Boat standards: the woman in question denies it, but the two then-friends who drove her to the (illegal) abortion mill have supposedly signed affidavits.

It's [Adlai] Stevenson's challenge to Nixon: if you don't stop telling lies about us, we're going to have to start telling the truth about you. Bush has been asked politely, and he hasn't. Now it's our turn.


Yipes.  The battle is joined?

Enter Susan Estrich, the former campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988 – a local lass with offices down the street in Century City.  Yes, she is paid to be regular commentator on Fox News, the token Democrat who is more than willing to say over and over all that all Democrats are idiots, and Bush should selected for another four years because he’s a neat guy.

But last weekend she herself senses the battle is about to get quite nasty.

Lies move Democrats to dig up dirt
The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, Florida, Saturday, September 4, 2004

Her thesis?  The Bush side has told so many flat-out lies about Kerry that the mild-mannered girly-men of the Democratic Party are going to abandon their characteristic wimpy pleasantness, and abandon their usual method of appealing to reason and sense, and haul Bush over the coals.  None of this “Can we reason together for the common good?” crap.  Stuff is going to come out, and it will be bad stuff.  Gentlemanly restraint and circumscription?  Don’t mention bad things you know about the other guy?  Don’t say the obvious because you might seem unreasonably bitter and negative?

That just so last week.  The Bush team, and particularly Karl Rove, decided that’s how they’ll play the game?  Then so will the Kerry side.  They called it down upon themselves.

Here’s how Estrich sees the situation now -


My Democratic friends are mad as hell, and they aren't going to take it any more.

They are worried, having watched as another August smear campaign, full of lies and half-truths, takes its toll in the polls.

They are frustrated, mostly at the Kerry campaign, for naively believing that just because all the newspapers and news organizations that investigated the charges of the Swift Boat assassins found them to be full of lies and half-truths, they wouldn't take their toll. The word on the street is that Kerry was ready to fire back the day the story broke, but that his campaign, believing the charges would blow over if they ignored them, counseled restraint.

But most of all, activist Democrats are angry. As one who lived through an August like this, 16 years ago - replete with rumors that were lies, which the Bush campaign claimed they had nothing to do with and later admitted they had planted - I'm angry, too. I've been to this movie.

Lies move numbers.


Whoa!  Is she going to quit her lucrative job at Fox News?  What is this change of heart?

It seems she suddenly recalls how one of Bush’s close friends planted the rumor about Dukakis suffering from depression after he lost the governorship – and remembers her side lost six points in the polls over that one, the work of the late Lee Atwater, the mentor of Karl Rove.  And she suddenly remembers how someone claimed Kitty Dukakis once burned a flag at an anti-war demonstration.  That wasn’t true and the Bush folks denied having anything to do with it.  But she recalls that that it turned out to have come from a United States senator by way of the Republican National Committee.

Estrich is gracious enough to point out that Lee Atwater did apologize to her for both things, later, and, as she puts it, on his deathbed.  But then she points out that Atwater’s widow is connected to the woman running the Swift Boat campaign.

She’s not a happy camper.

And she has some suggestions (my emphases) -


The trouble with Democrats, traditionally, is that we're not mean enough. Too much is at stake to play by Dukakis' rules and lose again. That is the conclusion Democrats have reached. So watch out. Millions of dollars will be on the table. And there are plenty of choices for what to spend it on.

Will it be the three, or is it four or five, drunken driving arrests that Bush and Cheney, the two most powerful men in the world, managed to rack up?

After Vietnam, nothing is ancient history, and Cheney is still drinking. What their records suggest is not only a serious problem with alcoholism, which Bush but not Cheney has acknowledged, but also an even more serious problem of judgment.

What if Bush were to fall off the wagon? Then what? Has America really faced the fact that we have an alcoholic as our president?

Or how about Dead Texans for Truth, highlighting those who served in Vietnam instead of the privileged draft-dodging president, and ended up as names on the wall instead of members of the Air National Guard.

Or maybe it will be Texas National Guardsmen for Truth, who can explain exactly what George W. Bush was doing while John Kerry was putting his life on the line. Perhaps with money on the table, or investigators on their trail, we will learn just what kind of wild and crazy things the president was doing while Kerry was saving a man's life, facing enemy fire and serving his country.

Or could it be George Bush's Former Female Friends for Truth? A forthcoming book by Kitty Kelley raises questions about whether the president has practiced what he preaches on abortion. As Larry Flynt discovered, a million dollars loosens lips. Are there others to be loosened? …


Cool.  Those will do for a start.

I like the Dead Texans for Truth - because it hits the hardest.  Who is dead because GWB was allowed a safe stateside commission that he kind of kissed off anyway?

The times may be changing.

Her conclusion?


The arrogant little Republican boys who strutted around New York this week, claiming that they have this one won, would do well to take a step back. It could be a long and ugly road to November.


George?  Karl?  You asked for it.

Thinking about it, I’d guess Estrich wouldn’t really need to resign from Fox News after laying this all out.  They’ll fire her, after O’Reilly tells her, repeatedly and with vigor, to shut up.

The only problem with this is Bush has an out.

Alcoholism, the hidden abortion, AWOL issues, and an obvious lack of the basic capacity – intellectually, temperamentally and morally – to do the job?

He can pull a Jimmy Swaggart.

You recall that in February 1988 televangelist Jimmy Swaggart admitted in a tearful, Sunday-morning sermon that he had engaged in “improprieties” with a (gasp!) prostitute.  Yeah, the year before he had called down fire and brimstone and denounced his fellow Assemblies of God televangelists Jim Bakker and Marvin Gorman - for their extramarital fooling around.  Oops.

But Swaggart asked for forgiveness, on television, with tears, and although he’s not pulling in the hundred million a year like he used to, he’s doing just fine.

The Christian Right are a forgiving lot (save with flaming queers who want to marry and with bloodthirsty Muslims who think Jesus was only a prophet and not the Messiah).

George can pull a Jimmy if he has to.

And George already has an ally in the Assemblies of God at his side now, right there in his cabinet – John Ashcroft, a leader in the Assemblies of God.  Ah.

The Democrats are screwed.  Lay it all out.  And all will be forgiven.  And pass the Kool-Aid.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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