Friday, February 13, 2004

More on Kerry...

The Kerry rumor is really starting to look like a non-issue. The only major outlet that has run with this story in print is Britain's tabloid The Sun, which lays out more of the details here. Far from legitimizing Drudge's nonsense, the Sun story offers more details that deflate the whole thing. An intern, aged 24, thought Kerry was "creepy" in the way he pursued her -- entirely professionally -- to work on his presidential campaign. The intern's parents thought Kerry's persistence was off-putting.

Glad we've been burning up the airwaves over that one. Kerry issued a complete denial on Imus this morning, and there's no reason to think that the story will go further because no media source has picked up on it. Even Drudge's allegations against Chris Lahayne have been mysteriously "vanished" once it became clear that Lahayne himself didn't stand by the story. Joe Conason has a good op-ed piece about the non-issue here.

Of course, you should read Krugman today as well:
To understand why questions about George Bush's time in the National Guard are legitimate, all you have to do is look at the federal budget published last week. No, not the lies, damned lies and statistics — the pictures.

By my count, this year's budget contains 27 glossy photos of Mr. Bush. We see the president in front of a giant American flag, in front of the Washington Monument, comforting an elderly woman in a wheelchair, helping a small child with his reading assignment, building a trail through the wilderness and, of course, eating turkey with the troops in Iraq. Somehow the art director neglected to include a photo of the president swimming across the Yangtze River.

It was not ever thus. Bill Clinton's budgets were illustrated with tables and charts, not with worshipful photos of the president being presidential.

The issue here goes beyond using the Government Printing Office to publish campaign brochures. In this budget, as in almost everything it does, the Bush administration tries to blur the line between reverence for the office of president and reverence for the person who currently holds that office.

But the best story of all is this one, from Memphis. Two guys in the Alabama Guard were told that Bush was coming, and they were on the lookout for him because they figured he would be a good drinking buddy. But he never showed: “There’s no way we wouldn’t have noticed a strange rooster in the henhouse, especially since we were looking for him,” insists Mintz.

 9:46 AM

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