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Bush and the Easy Audience

September 16th, 2004

Bush spoke before yet another easy audience the other day: veterans of the National Guard. After all, if you want to address your service in the National Guard and have virtually no one in the audience able to object, where else would you go? Not exactly a tough crowd there.

And Bush couldn’t help but dissemble again. Josh Marshall points out that when bush claimed that he was “proud to be one of” 19 presidents to serve in the Guard, he was being less than fully honest. He was, in essence, counting every president who served in the military before 1903, when the National Guard was formed out of the pre-existing organized militias.

In short, Bush was equating himself with former presidents like George Washington, who served in the militia–but was not exactly doing the same sort of thing in the militia that Bush was. Marshall goes on to point out that if one were instead to count all presidents who joined the “National Guard” to get out of combat, the list would have only one member: George W. Bush.

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  1. September 17th, 2004 at 05:31 | #1

    The Kerry people keep banging away on W’s pre-Presidential activities. It will work as well as it did for…Dole.

    By the time a person has been President for three years, we know what we have: good, bad and ugly. That Clinton did or did not sleep with anything that moved while he was Governor was an issue before he became President; only his conduct in the White House (which was unknown at the time of the re-election) was relevant in the Dole campaign.

    Did W do cocaine at Camp David in the ’80’s? Who cares? We’ve seen him in action. Does any rational American think he’s going to hit the crack pipe if another terrorist attack occurs? Did he miss a few obligations in the Guard? Who knows? Who cares? Like him or not, can anyone fairly claim this President has been AWOL?

    We don’t know John Kerry, We need to know where he stands on issues (and that includes the multiple stands he has taken on each issue). And we have to know as much as we can about John Kerry as a man. We know how President Bush has governed, and we can make an informed decision on him on his record. But we have no idea how a President Kerry would react, both to foreign and domestic crises. Perhaps even he doesn’t know for sure.

    BTW__intelligent, well-written site!

    Tony Iovino

  2. Justin Faulkner
    September 18th, 2004 at 19:53 | #2

    I would have to argue that yes, George W. Bush has been AWOL as president, both in a literal and metaphorical sense. He has spent about 40% of his term on vacation (like when he received the August 6th PDB) and, while he can point to a map and say “bomb there,” it’s clear he never had any clear strategy for Iraq. What’s more, the things you would normally associate with preventing terrorist actions inside the US (port security, protecting nuclear facilities, and training first responders) have received little or no attention.

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