Friday, February 20, 2004

the filth and the fury
From this morning's popbitch.

Rumours are flying around Texas that Governor
Rick Perry's wife has left home after
finding him in a compromising position with
one of his senior (male) associates. It's
going to be a dirty election year in the states.

Indeed. And just look what's bubbling under.

PRESIDENT Bush faced an extraordinary claim last night that he once paid for a girlfriend's abortion...

I would have thought that it would have been more of a scandal if he had refused to pay for it but insisted she had it anyway. But I don't suppose conservative Americans see it that way.

Lets trace the slime trail to its source. According to some recent US polls, a generic Democrat would handily beat Bush. So the Dems seem to have responded by dropping Dean and going for a generic democrat, albeit one who bears a pleasing physical resemblance to a member of the Addams family.

I don't know much - anything in fact - about Kerry, other than that he's not Bush. Presumably the strategy is for the Democrats to play a straight bat, making Bush himself the main issue of the campaign. This leads on naturally to the question of whether Bush served his full term in the US national guard, an issue delved into in some detail by Calpundit and other bloggers.

It seems to me that the real issue here is not whether an American Oligarch could be bothered to pay lip service to national defence. It's increasingly becoming: where the hell was Bush during the time he was supposed to be in Alabama? I've had lost weekends, but a lost six something of an achievement, but again not one that would play well with the punters.

Now we have a two pronged Republican response. First, to Kerry himself: the faked photocopy of him in close physical proximity to Jane Fonda, as though she were a form of kryptonite. And then the intern story, which followed a pattern established during the glory days of Clinton baiting: from Drudge to the Daily Telegraph and thence to the Sun.

I think the Republicans knew this wasn't true. If it had been, they'd have saved it for the campaign proper.

The second front. Defend Bush personally. First, by saying that he really, really meant to go to Vietnam, honestly.

Then attack his attackers, including former Senator Cleland, who came back from Vietnam three limbs lighter following a grenade accident which took place shortly after his involvement in a battle which won him the Silver Star.

Moreover, if we're going to start delving into exactly who did what back then, maybe Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman or what Cleland sneeringly calls "weekend warriors." Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam...

Mark Steyn, a more credible source if your definition of credible is "emitting less spittle" took up the talking point elsewhere.

I like that "luckily". If you are going to engage in below the belt stuff there's a good reason to go for the outright knee in the bollocks from the start. It leaves your opponents winded and on the defensive while the poison seeps in.

On the other hand, plenty of moderate, thoughtful types have demurred at the Democrats portrayal of Bush as AWOL during Vietnam. They're hardly going to think much of the notion that a man who lost three limbs while serving his country was just making capital out of an unfortunate drinking accident.

In a dirty fight, swing voters will go for the man who disgusts them least. I'd say at this point in time the tide of filth is flowing in a way beneficial to the Democrats. Which brings us back to the beginning of the post.

I'm sure we're going to have more low blows, Glasgow kisses and knees in the knackers. What else is there to fight on? Both parties will want to put themselves at a suitably deniable distance from the consequences of the Iraq invasion, and both will want to manage then distortions to the US economy caused by defecit spending until something turns up.

I'm really going to enjoy this election. And what a fine example it gives to those poor, benighted Iraqis of democracy in action!