Thursday, August 26, 2004

Punching A Gift Horse In The Mouth

{shaking head} I don’t understand this. I really don’t.

From Bush's interview with the New York Times

There’s a good question right there – why on Earth is George Bush talking to the New York F’ing Times? That’s like Ariel Sharon giving an exclusive interview to al-Jazeera.

President Bush said on Thursday that he did not believe Senator John Kerry lied about his war record, but he declined to condemn the television commercial paid for by a veterans group alleging that Mr. Kerry came by his war medals dishonestly.

Mr. Bush's comments, in a half-hour interview with the New York Times, undercut a central accusation leveled by the veterans group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose unproven attacks on Mr. Kerry have dominated the political debate for more than two weeks.

Let me see if I have this straight. Bush is alleged by Kerry to have no credibility on national security because he didn’t serve in Vietnam; yet now that the President backs up Kerry’s version of events that he did not personally witness – and the Swiftboat Veterans did – he’s suddenly an authority on it? This is a very large step beyond merely saying that Kerry “served honorably.”

Could this be an attempt at Clinton-style “triangulation”? But this doesn’t fit that description; Bush is basically siding with his opponent against the Swifties – you know, the decorated Vietnam war heroes who have almost single-handedly hoisted his weenie ass into a small pre-convention lead.

Why? Why is he doing this? Why can’t he just urge Kerry to release all his military records and say nothing else about it? Or segue into Kerry’s fecklessness on the war on terror? Why? Why? Why?

"I understand how Senator Kerry feels - I've been attacked by 527's too," he said, adding that he had spoken earlier in the day to Senator John McCain and had agreed to join him in a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission to bar the groups.

Sondergeld Echo Syndrome strikes again. Plus, isn’t this kind of whining by proxy on Dubya’s part?

Mr. Bush also acknowledged for the first time that he made a ‘miscalculation of what the conditions would be’ in postwar Iraq. But he insisted that the 17-month-long insurgency that has upended the Administration's plans for the country was the unintended by-product of a ‘swift victory’ against Saddam Hussein's military, which fled and then disappeared into the cities, enabling them to mount a rebellion against the American forces far faster than Mr. Bush and his aides had anticipated.

Leave aside that the “Administration’s plans for the country” have not remotely been “upended.” Remember that press conference back in the spring when reporter after reporter demanded that Bush admit he “made a mistake” by liberating Iraq? Remember how he resolutely, and properly, refused to do so, most of all to deny the other side the sound bite they craved for advertising fodder thereafter?

Well, now he’s given it to them. “I made a miscalculation…in…Iraq” will be plastered everywhere between now and November 2nd.

Again, why? Only thing I can fathom is that his handlers told him he needed to appear more “humble” to improve his appeal to undecided voters. But with the Democrats shrieking, “even Bush himself admits he screwed up!” at full-throated roar volume, well, which message to you think will be more likely to get through?

GDub is going wobbly, ladies and gentlemen. And just when he was possibly on the verge of breaking this race wide open.

It’s only late August, but an ill November wind is starting to blow.