Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 21, 2004
POLITICS: Digging For Documents

Ed Moltzen has some fun excerpting quotes from various big bloggers on the Left (from way back in early 2004!) who held their breath until they turned blue demanding that President Bush release every last scrap of paper anyone had anywhere bearing on his National Guard service. None of these bloggers, it seems, have had anything at all to say about John Kerry holding off on full disclosure of his military records.

Now, this seems to be a ridiculous controversy, and Mickey Kaus may be wise to suspect a trap:

[M]aybe it's a trap. Kerry's intentionally turning the military records fight into a bigger story than it had to be because he knows that when the full records are (inevitably) released reporters will discover not scandal but official encomiums to his character and leadership!

(Emphasis in original). Tonight on CNN, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Kerry adviser Michael Meehan issues a carefully worded statement in response:

BLITZER: On Sunday, John Kerry told Tim Russert that if anyone wants to see his military records, they can go to campaign headquarters and review whatever they want. A reporter from "The Boston Globe" went the next day and he was told to leave. He wasn't allowed to see the records. What happened?

MEEHAN: Well, that reporter has seen many of Senator Kerry's military records. And today, our campaign is actually going to post on the Web site what the U.S. Navy has for his military records.

John Kerry has a record in the military that he's running on, not running from. We're putting it up on the Web site for everybody to see the military records that he has.

BLITZER: The complete file?

MEEHAN: Everything the U.S. Navy sent to Senator Kerry, we'll post on the Web site. The whole world can see.

As I understand these things, what the Navy sent Kerry is probably a good deal less than the complete file in the Navy's possession. If we're obsessing over seeing every scrap of paper detailing the candidates' military service, the press should be sure to confirm that they're getting everything they could obtain from the military itself, and that Kerry's doing everything necessary to make that happen. Hey, don't ask me why - I'm not the one who set this standard.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:15 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Though, unlike John Kerry, I donít think this campaign should primarily be about the Vietnam War (one war or another), the really interesting part of that CNN transcript is the interview with John OíNeill who has recently been profiled elsewhere and who has some pretty damning things to say about Kerry.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at April 21, 2004 9:26 AM

A fun little trip down memory lane there. How about the quotes that all of these guys have come out with this week holding Kerry to the same standards?

Ummm...okay, I just scrolled through Drum's and Marshall's sites and didn't find anything seriously taking Kerry to task about his records. I could swear I read plenty of lefties saying things like "Kerry needs to be held to the same standard" or "this will be hypocritical of Kerry if he doesn't release them...", etc. Maybe the fact that Kerry had all the stuff up on his site in mere days didn't allow this to drag out and get the legs of the Bush records. I think kaus is right. I also think republicans will either get nothing out of this "controversy" or they will wish they never brought it up.

I've long contended that the Bushies stubborn insistance on secrecy often does them more harm than good, and the whole military record deal is the perfect example. they still as far as I know haven't released anything that conclusively proves he served all his time or was where he said he was. Now that proof may no longer exist, and that's fine, I don't think any of this is all that important in the scheme of things today. But the fact that they so often give the appearence of having something to hide makes it look like there's something they're trying to hide. Imagine that.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 22, 2004 2:03 PM

Two things about O'Neill:

1. Despite the assertions that they were in the same division or whatever, apparently they were not there at the same time. Kerry came home two months before O'Neill arrived there. This somehow fails to get mentioned.

2. O'Neill was Nixon's point man on defaming Kerry after the war. He has a long history of agenda and an axe to grind. He was even sent out to debate Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show.

This is not some "combat brother" coming out of the woodwork to dispell or throw water on Kerry's record. This is a professional smear operative regurgitating not even all that convincing "damning statements."

("Damning" O'Neill quote from my memory) "I know some war heroes and John Kerry is no war hero. He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the guys in (my division)."

WTF is that? A biased personal observation based not at all on observation of Kerry? He's not as big a war hero as some other guys? Gimme a break.

Make it three things about O'Neill:

3. O'Neill worked for Nixon, clerked for Rehnquist, and was a partner in a Houston law firm with Margaret Wilson, Bush's former general counsel and a partner in Enron's law firm, as was Bush's current WH counsel Gonzales.

Seems like a pretty highly-connected Republican character assassin, not an impartial critic.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 22, 2004 2:20 PM

Two things about O'Neill:

1. Despite the assertions that they were in the same division or whatever, apparently they were not there at the same time. Kerry came home two months before O'Neill arrived there. This somehow fails to get mentioned.

2. O'Neill was Nixon's point man on defaming Kerry after the war. He has a long history of agenda and an axe to grind. He was even sent out to debate Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show.

This is not some "combat brother" coming out of the woodwork to dispell or throw water on Kerry's record. This is a professional smear operative regurgitating not even all that convincing "damning statements."

("Damning" O'Neill quote from my memory) "I know some war heroes and John Kerry is no war hero. He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the guys in (my division)."

WTF is that? A biased personal observation based not at all on observation of Kerry? He's not as big a war hero as some other guys? Gimme a break.

Make it three things about O'Neill:

3. O'Neill worked for Nixon, clerked for Rehnquist, and was a partner in a Houston law firm with Margaret Wilson, Bush's former general counsel and a partner in Enron's law firm, as was Bush's current WH counsel Gonzales.

Seems like a pretty highly-connected Republican character assassin, not an impartial critic.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 22, 2004 2:20 PM
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