Hypocrisy

I have had this post brewing for two to three months now and if I don’t let it out now, in this forum, I am likely to blowup at some inappropriate time down the line. I am going to come right out and say ask it:
Are there two bigger hypocrites anywhere on earth than the current President and Vice-President of the United States?
Let’s review some of the past and current messages coming from perhaps the most negative of any modern presidential campaign, the Bush/Cheney duo. But before we do I will give a synopsis because this is going to get pretty long (so please read the extended entry text for the full details and wrath of my patriotism).
The gist? Bush and Co have decided to attack Kerry/Edwards on several fronts during the course of this campaign that simply do not make sense. By all means discuss the issues and the perceived weaknesses of Kerry and Edwards. Don’t however base your attacks on issues and matters on which you are even more culpable and vulnerable than the person you are attacking! I am presenting three case studies relating to this idea:

  1. Attacking Kerry on his military service records.
  2. Claiming that Kerry/Edwards are pessimistic about America.
  3. Kerry/Edwards are too inexperienced to assume the roles of president and vice-president.


Military Service Records
First, incredulously, they attacked Kerry’s military record. Keep in mind that these attacks are coming from a President who some think went AWOL from his own military stint in the Air Force Reserves. Not daunted by logic or a sense of fairness or justice, Bush/Cheney hammered away that Kerry once supported the war in Vietnam but after returning home from such events (god forbid) he changed his mind and believed that the war should end.

Recently released military documents from both camps highlight the differences between the two men. George Bush, then in the National Guard, checked a box “do not volunteer for overseas.” Then he failed to show up for a required physical, was grounded from flying, and didn’t show up for several months before leaving eight months early for Harvard Business
School.
In contrast, in a letter to his Navy personnel officer, Kerry wrote “I request duty in Vietnam.” Over the course of that service, for “brave action, bold initiative and unwavering devotion to duty,” he was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star medals. He also earned not one but three Purple Hearts, for being injured in service to our country.
As the Associated Press reported, “Throughout his four years of active duty, Kerry’s superiors gave him glowing evaluations . . . narrative comments from his commanding officers said he was diplomatic, charismatic, decisive and well-liked by his men. . . He was recommended for early promotion, and when he left the Navy in 1970 to run for Congress, his commanding officer said it was
the Navy’s loss.”

MoveOn.org
While Bush was asking not to be sent for overseas service Kerry welcomed the chance to serve his country in this way. But don’t take my word for it, just review their service request documentation.
Perhaps after reading this you think that Bush is getting a bad rap as the military service skirter he is being portrayed to be. Well if you review this Timeline of Bush’s National Guard service and can prove that he reported for drills at Dannelly Air National Guard Base between the months of May and November of 1972 you can win $10,000
Or maybe you can just turn up any of the following “missing” records:

  • Bush’s last DD-214
  • Any pages from Bush’s flight log
  • Records from the Flight Inquiry Board convened after Bush was suspended as a pilot
  • Any evidence of Bush’s reclassification into another AFSC after suspension as a pilot
  • Any photos of Bush in a military uniform after 1972
  • Anything at all from any Alabama unit with Bush’s name on it
  • Anything proving service by Bush between May 1972 and May 1973

If that wasn’t crazy enough Bush/Cheney made accusations that one of Kerry’s numerous medals and distinguished awards for service was not deserved. Has either Bush (service was excuse for drunken revelry) or Cheney (“Had other priorities” as reason for not serving in military) been decorated for service? No. You think a smear campaign on Kerry’s military service record “may backfire”? Come on people!
Optimism
Bush and Cheney are creating ads and rebranding their campaign as one of optimism and hope for the future while at the same time attempting to portray John Kerry (and now Edwards) as pessimist politicians that don’t believe in America. Let’s not discuss the fact, shall we, that Bush is not mentioned even once on the JohnKerry.com homepage or in any of the new Kerry/Edwards ads, whereas Kerry is mentioned a total of 7 times (it was a slow day) – with roughly 1/3 of the content area of the Bush homepage devoted to attacking Kerry. The only mention of Bush on the entire Kerry site is in the lie DeBunker section. Just check out how many press releases relating to John Kerry, Bush has put out in the first 8 days of July alone!
What did we hear for years after Sept. 11, 2001? It has always been a message that we should stay in constant fear (but still travel and spend money by all means). The current administration has learned that a fearful populace will more or less leave you alone and let you do anything or pass anything that you wanted. Of course the Bush team wouldn’t use
terror alerts for political purposes, right? Or
maybe they would.
Now with Edwards entering the race, Bush and Co. better zip their lips on the optimism angle as Edwards is widely regarded as one of the most optimistic of senators and when you compare the to VP candidates it is a simple decision to see who is better natured and more ready to bring back the trust of the American people:

The smile vs. the scowl. The Edwards-Cheney debate will offer one of the starkest contrasts since Clay fought Liston.
“I can’t imagine two human beings that are more polar opposites than John Edwards and Dick Cheney,” said Alan Schroeder, a professor at Northeastern University and expert on presidential debates. “I see Cheney as this dour character who exists on the dark side, with a sense of suspicion and almost
paranoia about him, and then you’ve got the sunny optimist Edwards, who was very reluctant to criticize his opponents in the primaries, never went negative, and had a message that was serious but not the least bit paranoid. There is so much that’s different in their personalities and their politics; their debate could be an unpredictable, volatile mix of elements.”

From Salon.com
Are we asking too much to have truly optimistic leaders rather than those who simply give lip service to the idea? Maybe. Maybe it’s Bush/Cheney’s way of telling us all to go fuck ourselves“.
Inexperience
After campaigning that he wasn’t a “Washington insider” in 2004 (despite having one of the biggest political cronies as his V.P. candidate, Bush now claims that Edwards is far too inexperienced to lead the country. Bush was a governor for 6 years and before that ran several unsuccessful business ventures. Now he is running a fairly unsuccessful administration, converting the largest budget
surplus in U.S. history into its largest deficit, poised to be the only President to preside over a net loss of jobs, and overseeing a debacle-filled war into which he convinced everyone to follow him.
I guess a one term senator and respected trial lawyer is less experienced than Bush then. But what kind of experience are we looking for exactly?
As a bonus for reading this far:
After all of this I do have some advice to Kerry: Stop doing this.
But I suppose anything they do is fine as long as the other side keeps doing things like this and this.
Selected links from this post:
Documented Service Records of John Kerry and George Bush
Timeline of Bush’s National Guard Service (Newsday)
Doonsbury Offers $10,000 for Confirmation of Bush Serivce
JohnKerry.com
GeorgeBush.com
The Cost of the War in Iraq (CostofWar.com)
ACLU Review of Patriot Act and its Consequences for Civil Liberties
Terror Alerts Used
Not in the post but important:
Fahrenheit 9/11 – Go see this movie. Everyone needs to. Don’t accept everything it says as fact – do your own research. If you find that you then feel ok voting a member of a Saudi-controlled family into office again, it’s your country.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Doctor on July 9, 2004 at 8:15 am

    are you on the editorial staff of the star tribune or something? seriously, give it a rest. look at what you read – moveon, cnn, awolbush, johnkerry – of course you are going to have such thoughts. we all know those are such bastions of truth. you cite such sources and then use words like “prove” “case study” and “respected” to suggest reality. you are as bad as those you are criticizing. at least they can make their own stuff up. talk about your dog or house or something interesting. spend some time on apa and try to work through your anger! try being positive for a change! don’t you realize that your guys do the exact same thing and that this post is lost in the sea of antibush blog vitriol? peace out.

  2. I have been letting your comments on this site slide for a while, what with us growing up together, being in the boy scouts together, rooming together in college, and you being a groomsman in my wedding, however, I must respond now:
    “are you on the editorial staff of the star tribune or something?”
    No, but nor am I the spokesperson for the KQ92 Morning show (hosted by a rightwing nut job here in Minnesota)
    “…try being positive for a change!”
    I guess the right has cornered the market on positivity.
    “…don’t you realize that your guys do the exact same thing and that this post is lost in the sea of antibush blog vitriol?”
    Actually one of the three points made in this post is that “my guys” do not do the same thing; my guys are not attacking Bush but rather focusing on their own message – something Bush could do if it weren’t that most Americans distrust his message.
    As for anti-bush vitriol, yeah, I have a lot of it. That was sorta the point of this post, a catharsis through writing and getting it off my chest.
    Writing and debating helps me to think and understand issues facing our society to a greater degree. I would suggest you come out from under the political and social umbrella that are the views of your parents, your favorite radio personalities, and your wealthy financial industry friends and challenge yourself to create your own worldview. =P
    Of course, most of the time it seems you just enjoy heckling.

  3. Great post. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a “lefty” by any means, I have been coming to similar conclusions as you with regard to the Bush campaign. It’s a sad time in history.
    BTW have you seen this Onion article?

  4. Posted by Eric Nordberg on July 12, 2004 at 7:59 pm

    That all said, can you write a post suggested why I should vote for either candidate on the candidate’s merits? I would like to learn some about the candidates in a presenation that doesn’t just reinforce that one is the lesser of two evils.
    I would like to have hope for my country being a good and maybe a better place after the election. Instead, it feels as if I am choosing between cavities and gum disease. Different people argue about which is worse.
    EN

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