Bush liberates Poland. No one notices.

Where’s the fuss?

I’m confused. The President of the United States, on national television, flatly denied ever having said something he’s on videotape saying, and characterized his opponent’s truthful charge that he had said what he had in fact said as “one of those exaggerations.” And the remark in question was about whether capturing Osama bin Laden is, or is not, important: which seems itself like an important question.

And yet, despite the DNC’s rapid work in getting up a devastating video spot, the buzz today is not about that, but instead about whether John Kerry did something awful by publicly identifying a woman who is not merely “out” as a lesbian privately, but used to have a job doing outreach to the gay and lesbian community for Coors, as what she is: not in any critical way, but merely to make the point that sexual orientation isn’t “chosen” and that good parents accept their children for who they are.

Most of the post-debate fact-checking mentioned the Bush whopper as only one misstatement among many, and ABC News’s The Note didn’t mention it at all, while devoting 27 paragraphs to Kerry’s comment about Mary Cheney.

All I can say is: they do spin a hell of a lot better than we do.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com