Old media's disproportionate interest in Bush past

Posted: Sep 17, 2004 12:00 AM

 What does it say about the Old Media that they are wholly uninterested in gravely serious and highly relevant charges against John Kerry yet investigate to death relatively minor and largely irrelevant claims against President Bush?
They have uncovered every rock for years and could never find anything but disputed, ambiguous innuendo against President Bush about an issue that pales in comparison to the charges against John Kerry and for which there is much more credible proof.

Even if we assume as true all the Democrats' allegations about the president's guard service -- he used his family connections to avoid Vietnam and to shirk certain duties and orders -- they shouldn't really amount to that much to liberals. I've never met a liberal who disapproved of anyone doing his best to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, which liberals uniformly believed was immoral.

 We also know that President Bush, by his own admission, was a little more carefree when he was younger, but that around age 40 he had a religious conversion. Since then, by all accounts, he's been a changed person in many respects and has built an impressive resume, including his little stint as president and commander in chief.

 In short, all of these stories about President Bush, even if true -- which I seriously doubt -- are mostly irrelevant to the question of his fitness to continue as commander in chief because we've already witnessed his performance and character in that very job the last four years.

 The allegations against John Kerry are infinitely more serious. We know -- despite the dissembling of the media on this issue as well -- that he, too, tried to avoid the war, only "volunteering" when he was about to be drafted. But he also is said to have embellished and lied about his service to enhance his resume and to get an early out, perjured himself in Senate testimony, suborned similar perjury from others, and slandered his fellow soldiers, which served as fodder for the enemy to torture POWs. He hung out with murder-contemplating anarchists, negotiated with the North Vietnamese enemy and lobbied vigorously for a course of action that would lead to a bloodbath in Vietnam.

 And the claims against the two men are not only qualitatively different in substance, but there is also no comparison in the level of proof between the two cases.

 In support of the charges against President Bush we have forged documents, the disputed hearsay testimony of a deceased superior, the marginally corroborative testimony of an 86-year-old secretary who admits young Bush was a nice guy even if a bit insubordinate, and a malcontent Democrat hack or two who served in the Guard with him.

 Weighing against the charges we have proof that young Bush amassed more service points than were required of him, the family members of the deceased officer who contradict the secretary, the contradictory testimony of the daughter of one of the Democratic hacks and common sense. We are expected to believe Cmdr. Killian allowed young Bush to openly disobey orders and merely wrote a whining memo to himself for the file? That wouldn't have happened in the Guard I served in -- not in a million years.

 In support of the charges against young John Kerry we have 250 Swift Boat veterans of all political stripes, many of them decorated, who have firsthand knowledge of what they describe. Far, far fewer of those who served with Kerry support him and/or his version of the events. And as for the more damning charges -- that he slandered the troops and nation under oath and confessed to his own crimes -- we have our own eyes and ears. Many of us have watched his Senate testimony and the Dick Cavett debate, and we know what he said.

 Moreover, Kerry has never retracted, nor apologized for what he said. He has never explained why he shouldn't have been punished for his self-confessed war atrocities. He has never explained why he trashed his fellow soldiers and why he was integrally involved with a group contemplating assassination.

 This is a sordid past. And, contrasted to President Bush, John Kerry has never changed his colors in the last 30 years. He has remained adamantly anti-defense and remains the arrogant elitist he always was.

As to the respective charges against Bush and Kerry, it's undeniable that those against Kerry are far more serious, supported by much stronger evidence and much more relevant to the question of fitness for commander in chief.

 Yet the Old Media ignores the claims against Kerry and investigates to death the ones against President Bush. The Old Media richly deserves its diminishing fate.