Friday, April 23, 2004

# Posted 4:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE GOP'S SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: John Kerry's service record has become a front page story. Perhaps because the story itself is so inherently pro-Kerry, the WaPo is bending over backwards to lend credibility to the Senator's critics. For example, the Post reports that Kerry's
record has become both an asset and an issue as he seeks the presidency. The senator from Massachusetts has used it to define his qualifications for the office, his experience in foreign policy, his leadership -- and, regarding the conflict in Iraq, his firsthand knowledge of war. But critics have cited it as evidence that he was opportunistic and have questioned whether he deserved one of his medals.
From what I can tell, there is no evidence whatsoever to substantiate allegations that Kerry was anything less than a full-fledged hero. Thus, when conservatives play up such accusations, all they do is embarrass themselves and provide Kerry with exactly the sort of credibility he so desperately needs on national security issues.

For an in-depth look at both Kerry and Bush's service records, take a look at this post from Phil Carter. The praise that Bush received as a Guardsman is actually quite impressive. Yet as Kevin Drum reminds us, Bush's talent as an officer seems to have been matched by a disturbing lack of dedication to his military duties.

Finally, Campaign Desk thinks that the media has gone soft on Bush by not following up on the documents he released after coming under fire in February. I beg to differ.

What really happened was that the media raised expectations by building up Michael Moore's unsubstantiated charge that Bush went AWOL. Then Bush kept the story alive by stonewalling. Yet once the White House released a new set of documents about Bush's record in the Guard, it became apparent that there wasn't enough evidence to back up the critics' overblown claims. Let down, the media dropped the story -- after first creating it.

What Campaign Desk misses was that the Bush/AWOL episode was more about the media's inconsistent and incoherent definition of what counts as news, rather than its supposedly forgiving attitude towards the President's sins.
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