Thursday, September 16, 2004

What Rather Doesn't Seem to Get

No one cares. Even if the Bush story is true -- even if he was AWOL and a lousy member of the Air National Guard -- we don't care. It's not going to change who's getting our vote.

Now I know all the geniuses at CBS think that if they could only come up with something equivalent to the SwiftVets, they could swing this thing back in Kerry's favor. But the reason the SwiftVets were so damaging wasn't just what they said -- it was the fact that Kerry had made his service in Vietnam the cornerstone of his campaign. Maybe I didn't get the memo, but I haven't noticed Bush talking on the stump about what a hero he is for flying planes in the National Guard.

The other reason this isn't going to stick is that, as a general rule, we're much more forgiving of presidential scandals than presidential candidate scandals, which often completely destroy a candidacy (Gary Hart, Joe Biden, among others). That's why Iran-Contra didn't kill off Reagan, and why Clinton was able to weather Monica and impeachment. Unless the President is doing so poorly (and we're talking Gray Davis-bad) that we'd want to get him out of office regardless, or the scandal is so unbelievably bad and stupid (yes, we're talking about Nixon), we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt, because, after all, he is the President of the United States, and regardless of what the "experts" say, we do still have some respect for the power of that office. So even if this story is, accurate, we don't care, Dan. You think you are going to change our vote by providing us (questionably relevant) reasons not to vote for George W. Bush; the truth is you'd have a lot more success if you found a good reason to vote for John Kerry and did stories about that.


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