Update Welcome, Randi Rhodes fans! The drinking story is below. The bigger scandal is here: some of Bush’s cronies seem to be working for the terrorists, and Bush doesn’t seem to care.
Susan Estrich Goes Nuclear
Well, you can’t say Bush and Rove didn’t ask for it.
Bush’s return to drinking is apparently common knowledge in DC, though it seems unlikely anyone will talk on the record.
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 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.
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.
Remember the one about Dukakis suffering from depression after he lost the governorship? We lost six points over that lie, planted by George W.’s close friend and colleague in the 1988 campaign, Lee Atwater. Or how about the one about Kitty Dukakis burning a flag at an anti-war demonstration, another out-and-out lie, which the Bush campaign denied having anything to do with, except that it turned out to have come from a United States senator via the Republican National Committee? Atwater later apologized to me for that, too, on his deathbed. Did I mention that Lee’s wife is connected to the woman running the Swift Boat campaign?
What do you do, Democrats keep asking each other.
The answer is not pretty, but everyone knows what it is.
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?
Are you shocked? Remember Dukakis? Now he teaches at Northeastern University. John Kerry has been very fair in dealing with the Swift Boat charges. That’s why so many of my Democrat friends have decided to stop talking to the campaign, and start putting money together independently.
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.