Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Politics: Does Bush Really Want to Go There?

After a slow start, Matthew Yglesias' column at The American Prospect offers some devasting responses to Bush's latest strategery: attacking John Kerry on his Senate record and supposed lack of accomplishments.

I'm excited Bush and Rove have already decided to abandon the logic that the incumbent should be able to run on his own record, not against his challenger's. This plays perfectly into Kerry and the Dems portrayal of the republicans as the negative campaigners.

"After 19 years in the United States Senate, my opponent has had thousands of votes, but very few signature achievements." says Bush, with his wierd cocky hunch over the podium and trademark smirk.

Yglesias counters:
Which is not to say that Kerry's been doing nothing all this time. Many of those thousands of votes were important. And Kerry's made some tough -- and correct -- calls on controversial issues like the Graham-Rudman deficit reduction bill, the 1993 budget deal, and the 1996 welfare reform act, all of which were controversial within his party and often unpopular in his home state... Kerry was one of a very small number of senators with the guts to vote against the appalling Defense of Marriage Act; did some solid work on investigative committees in the 1980s... was a key player [with John McCain--Mr F.] in normalizing relations with Vietnam... Last but by no means least, one can leap to Kerry's defense by noting that major accomplishments are rather rare (that's what makes them major) so having "very few" of them isn't all that surprising.

You want to talk Intelligence? It is the buzzword these days:
[Bush says] Kerry "has no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capacity?" Maybe, but at least he hasn't spent years leaning on the intelligence community to overstate Iraq's WMD capacity, then misstating the community's findings, then trying to blame the problem on the CIA, then getting duped by his Secretary of Defense into actively obstructing intelligence reform. But to call attention to the president's record of letting his intellectual failings and the fanaticism and corruption of his advisors endanger the lives of people all across the world is to be a bit too kind.

Then Matt opens a can of Whoop-Ass and just pours it all over the President:
"While John Kerry was serving as an officer in the United States Navy, leading men in a shooting war and winning an armful of medals in the process, Bush was a male cheerleader and fraternity president at Yale. He later went on to use family connections to land a spot in the Air National Guard, duty from which he took ample time off to run losing political campaigns. Kerry became a leader in an influential movement, a candidate for office, a successful prosecutor, the Lieutenant Governor of a medium-sized state, and then a U.S. senator during a period when Bush was letting alcoholism nearly wreck his marriage, doing something with drugs he refuses to answer questions about, and running a variety of businesses into the ground, losing his dad's friends a bundle of money in the process.

Kerry didn't do much as a senator besides read bills other people wrote and decide how to vote on them. The president, meanwhile, doesn't read the newspaper. Or his daily intelligence briefings. Or the reports of government commissions. Not even the executive summaries!"

Ouch! As both Bush and Kerry like to say, "Bring It On!"

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