These Charges Are False
The technique President Bush is using against John F. Kerry was perfected by his father against Michael Dukakis in 1988, though its roots go back at least to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It is: Bring a charge, however bogus. Make the charge simple: Dukakis "vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance"; Bill Clinton "raised taxes 128 times"; "there are Communists in the State Department." But make sure the supporting details are complicated and blurry enough to prevent easy refutation.
Then sit back and let the media do your work for you. Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false. As a result, the voters are left with a general sense that there is some controversy over Dukakis' patriotism or Kerry's service in Vietnam. And they have been distracted from thinking about real issues (like the war going on now) by these laboratory concoctions.
* E.J. Dionne calls on the press to take charge:
The media have to do more than "he said/he said" reporting. If the charges don't hold up, they don't hold up. And, yes, now that John Kerry's life during his twenties has been put at the heart of this campaign just over two months from Election Day, the media owe the country a comparable review of what Bush was doing at the same time and the same age.
* Surprise! Paul Krugman is outraged.
* The definitive Bush is a bigger pussy than David Mustaine (and by definition, everyone else) post, courtesy of Josh Marshall.
* As usual, Jon Stewart breaks it down. And as usual, CNN and Faux News are pathetic wastes of the public airwaves, as even the NY Times is now saying. Wolf Blitzer, especially, is a joke.
* Does Kerry have a deliberate strategy to deal with these lies? His pal Tom Oliphant says yes, and to watch the counterattack.
* Oh, yes. Today, Najaf is still burning, a report faults Rumsfeld's conduct w/r/t Abu Ghraib, and it's now very likely that Cheney's chief of staff leaked a covert CIA operative's name to take revenge on an ambassador contradicting their Niger claims. No surprise there.
* One more! The utter bankruptcy of the right-wing propoganda machine, as outlined in detail.