Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Every Now And Then, Leno Gets It Right

'The big fight right now between John Kerry and George W. Bush is over their military service,' NBC's Jay Leno said in his opening monologue last week. 'And Bush is on the attack -- he's accusing John Kerry of ducking time in the Texas Air National Guard once a month by hiding in the jungles of Vietnam.'"

As John Wildermuth aptly points out in the SF Chronicle, a political story only takes root when the late night comedians use it as material.

Bush's latest rejoiner -- which was seen in earnest in his "Meet the Press" interview -- was to suggest that people who criticize his National Guard service are criticizing the modern-day Guard. This is outrageously fallacious, for two reasons:

1. No one has ever leveled that accusation; the notorious "straw man" rhetorical error. That should be enough.
2. Service in the "Champagne Unit" of the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 is emphatically not the same as serving in the modern post-Gulf-War Guard. I tend to agree with Kerry's line about the matter: I have no intention of criticizing anyone for their choices during the Vietnam War. The only problem is when those people later misrepresent what they did during those troubled years. Such as -- to steal Gen. Clark's line -- when they "put on a costume and prance around the deck of an aircraft carrier."

Nothing irks me more than bad rhetoric, and this administration is absolutely full of it.

Pun intended.

 9:12 AM

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