Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, September 09, 2004
 
Last night's story on 60 Minutes was mixed; the interview with Barnes was relatively pointless. It added nothing to what was already on the record, although not as widely known as it will be now. Rather's questions were useless: he didn't even bring up Barnes's meeting with Evans or ask about whether his silence on the question influenced his work as a Texas lobbyist when Bush was Governor. Instead he asked a string of questions to elicit how Barnes felt about what he did for Bush. Dan, I know you've bent over for Bush so many times that you may have forgotten by now, but you actually are a man, and a white man at that. You aren't Oprah.

But Kevin Drum is surely right when he says that the new documents amount to a smoking gun. We now have clear evidence, from the time Bush was in the Guard, that he violated at least one valid direct order, that his immediate superior felt he wasn't meeting basic standards, and that political pressure was used to cover it up.

By the way, am I the only one to notice a suspicious consistency of phrasing in these denials? Here's Bush in the Guardian:

"I don't know if Ben Barnes did or not, but he was not asked by me or my dad," he said. "I can just tell you, from my perspective, I never asked for, I don't believe I received special treatment."

A quote in last night's story, undated but not recent:

Any allegations that my dad asked for special favors is simply not true.

Here's another denial:

"Gov. Bush did not need and did not ask anybody for help," said a Bush campaign spokesman, Scott McClellan. "President Bush has said he did not seek any help for his son in getting into the National Guard."

It's always phrased as the father. But according to most folks who know them, it isn't George Sr who wears the steel-toed boots in that family. Has anybody even bothered asking whether Barbara made calls? I've seen flat denials that any Bush contacted Barnes directly, and flat denials that George asked for special favors. But never a flat denial that the family sought special favors.


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