Have the Democrats learned to hit back?

Clark and Lautenberg lay into Bush and Cheney. Any bets on whether Lautenberg knows the other meaning of “chickenhawk”?

Looks as if the decision by Team Bush to go after Kerry’s military record might have been a mistake. (Though no one has yet used what I thought was the obvious counter-snark: “Well, at least we know George W. Bush didn’t toss any of his medals.” Update: Wrong! See below.)

Prizes for Best Counterattack So Far go to:

Wes Clark, writing in in the New York Times, who points out the inconsistency between Grant Hubbard’s current account of Kerry’s conduct and the efficiency reports Hubbard signed when Kerry was actually serving under him, and then says of Bush and Cheney “I believe those who didn’t serve, or didn’t show up for service, should have the decency to respect those who did serve,”


Frank Lautenberg on the Senate floor, saying of Dick Cheney that he had “the shriek of a hawk but the backbone of a chicken.” (Query: Is there any probability that Lautenberg knows what “chickenhawk” meant after it stopped referring to a bird and before it started meaning someone eager to shed other people’s blood in war but not his own?) Note that the AP gives Bush and Cheney a break by reporting they they haven’t personally attacked Kerry’s service record, ignoring the attacks by their many surrogates.

The next step in the campaign should be to get reporters to start asking at the daily press gaggle why “all” of Bush’s records didn’t include some choice items: for example, the record of the Flight Inquiry Board that must have been convened when he decided not to show up for his annual flight physical or the tax documents that would allow a calculation of how many days he actually served and got paid for in 1972 and 1973.

Correction of a previous error: I’ve been asking why Bush’s discharge papers (Form DD-214), and the associated separation codes, which give the reasons for the separation, haven’t been released. Lt. Smash informs me that DD-214s are issued only on leaving active duty, so a reservist wouldn’t have gotten one. My bad.

Update: I’m told that Jay Leno snarked the snark I claimed was yet unsnarked:

“President Bush’s campaign is now attacking John Kerry for throwing away some of his medals to protest the Vietnam War. Bush did not have any medals to throw away, but in his defense he did have all his services records thrown out.”

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