Former Sen. Max Cleland is the Democrats' designated hysteric about George Bush's National Guard service. A triple amputee and Vietnam veteran, Cleland is making the rounds on talk TV, basking in the affection of liberals who have suddenly become jock-sniffers for war veterans and working himself into a lather about President Bush's military service. Citing such renowned military experts as Molly Ivins, Cleland indignantly demands further investigation into Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard.
Bush's National Guard service is the most thoroughly investigated event since the Kennedy assassination. But the Democrats will accept only two possible conclusions to their baseless accusations: (1) Bush was "AWOL," or (2) the matter needs further investigation.
Thirty years ago, Bush was granted an honorable discharge from the National Guard, which would seem to put the matter to rest. But liberals want proof that Bush actually deserved his honorable discharge. (Since when did the party of Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd get so obsessed with honor?)
On "Hardball" Monday night, Cleland demanded to see Bush's pay stubs for the disputed period of time, May 1972 to May 1973. "If he was getting paid for his weekend warrior work," Cleland said, "he should have some pay stubs to show it."
The next day, the White House produced the pay stubs. This confirmed what has been confirmed 1 million times before: After taking the summer off, Bush reported for duty nine times between Nov. 29, 1972, and May 24, 1973 ? more than enough times to fulfill his Guard duties. (And nine times more than Bill Clinton, Barney Frank or Chuck Schumer did during the same period.)
All this has been reported ? with documentation ? many times by many news organizations. George magazine had Bush's National Guard records 3 1/2 years ago.
All available evidence keeps confirming Bush's honorable service with the Guard, which leads liberals to conclude ... further investigation is needed! No evidence will ever be enough evidence. That Bush skipped out on his National Guard service is one of liberals' many nondisprovable beliefs, like global warming.
Cleland also expressed outrage that Bush left the National Guard nine months early in 1973 to go to Harvard Business School. On "Hardball," Cleland testily remarked: "I just know a whole lot of veterans who would have loved to have worked things out with the military and adjusted their tour of duty." (Cleland already knows one ? Al Gore!)