Friday, February 13, 2004

What to Make of the Kerry Intern Rumor?

A couple of thoughts. First, do I really care? No, not really. I tend to not like all this stuff flying around... much rather stick to the issues. However, since the attacks dogs are doing anything BUT sticking to the issues with respect to Bush, I sort of have the feeling of "Hey, at least it levels the playing field." But so much for my unsophisticated, undeveloped and unprincipled thoughts. Others have brought up some interesting perspectives, which I would like to pass on.

First, there is Hugh Hewitt (via Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds) who mixed it up with The New Republic's Peter "I Hate Bush" Beinart (by the way, I am not extrapolating...Beinart wrote an article where he confessed over and over how he just hated Bush... so I think he would own up to that nomenclature). Hewitt's point, which is dead on correct, is the remarkable hypocrasy whereby the mainstream press would ignore the Kerry story (which perhpas is correct given the shaky grounds of the accusations) while going whole hog on the Bush AWOL charge (which rests on pure fabrication). But Beinart would not be reasonable. This is the blurb:

The New Republic's Peter Beinart and I mixed it up today, when after dancing around the fact that he and the staff at TNR had been discussing the Kerry allegations he chastised me for bringing up the DrudgeReport's allegations on air without any evidence for their veracity. Trap sprung. I asked Peter for the evidence supporting the allegations that Bush was a "deserter" or "AWOL", allegations that he and the TNR staff have been rolling about in for days. The only "evidence" he could cite was General Turnipseed's alleged charge.

Understand that Turnipseed has never alleged that Bush was AWOL or a deserter. Never. Four years ago he said he doesn't recall seeing him. On Tuesday he stated that Bush could well have been on the base, but that he just didn't see him.

In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Terry McAuliffe's slanderous charge that was repeated in Congress yesterday by a Democratic congressman and by countless pundits including the increasingly repugnant Begala, and widely read websites of the left like Joshua Marshall's.

But while Beinart and his colleagues of the left have no problem covering the Bush story and shifting coverage from the lack of evidence for the charges leveled at Bush to their dissatisfaction with the completeness of the Bush denials, they are feigning shock that a report from Matt Drudge on alleged Kerry infidelity should be mentioned outside their newsrooms.

The timing of the new allegations is wonderful especially because it throws such a defining light on the bias of the Washington media --ever ready to carry the water of the Democrats and dismayed that they might be obliged to cover some nasty business about the front-runner from the left.

One of the many reasons why this long-time reader of TNR is no longer, despite my affection for Martin Peretz and others. Honesty, integrity and reasonableness is not much to ask for from the media. It really isn't. Yes, we all have our biases, but some jobs demand that we rise above them, or at least try to. And by the way, the Boston Globe, which has largely spearheaded these Bush charges, is now backing off. Read this if you are interested.

Next thoughtful point, and really thoughtful at that, is Jimmy-boy Lileks, who actually says that infidelity can matter, as does any issue of one's past. And he is absolutely right. His point is that "it’s not necessarily the affair that disqualifies someone, it’s the behavior that surrounds it, and the context, and the response." And he articulates that with thought's on Kerry's past:
"I don’t care what Kerry said 30 years ago; I care what he says today about what he said 30 years ago. In other words, what he said 30 years ago is of interest to me if he still believes it.

Someone could probably dig up a tape of George Bush shouting “Jesus Christ, I haven’t been this F#*$&in’ drunk in a week!” Does that somehow alter the fact that he’s a devout abstainer today? No. People change. So if you ask Kerry whether he believes US troops should be stationed around the world only under the auspices of the UN, he has several possible responses.

1. "I believed that then, but I was wrong, and let me explain."

2. "Yes, I still believe that, and let me explain."

3. Complex, evasive response that has it both ways – e.g., “while I will never surrender American sovereignty to an international body, I believe strongly in the need to consult our allies and work with the international institutions that have served us so well for all these years,” etc.

What would be wrong with someone actually saying you know, I used to hold that opinion, but I’ve changed my mind. It would be refreshing.

The same holds true for a Kerry affair, if one took place. It tells you something, but you do need to look at the context. And if it is that he cared that little to put his wife through that, it tells you a lot. Read the rest....I can't do it justice.

Finally, Roger Simon goes back to his theme. Given what we all went through unfortunately in the 90's with Bill, if Kerry did do this, it goes again to his level of seriousness. It suggests that "a strong part of him didn't want the job."

Wow. All this on a rumor. But why not. If it turns out to be nothing, I will treat it that way and still think the guy would be horrible as President. And if it is true, it helps set the groundrules for how to think about it.

And by the way, an important footnote on Kerry's wife. David Horowitz' site has a remarkable article on her, where it is disclosed that she has given millions of dollars to the secretive Tides Foundation—a far left group that funds, among other “anti-war” efforts, MoveOn.org and Indymedia. Part of the article underwhelmed me, in all honesty. A bit too vague and way too frothy. Let's just say that the case at times seems unsubstantiated. But what caught my eye was that Tides gives money to both CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations) and National Lawyers Guild, groups that have taken radically anti-American and anti-Israeli (semitic) positions. Maybe we shouldn't believe everything we read, BUT, we should keep our eyes open.

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