Tuesday, September 21, 2004

'What is Bush hiding?'

E.J. Dionne thinks Dubya owes us some answers:

...a guy who is supposed to be so frank and direct turns remarkably Clintonian where the National Guard issue is concerned. "I met my requirements and was honorably discharged" is Bush's stock answer, which does old Bill proud. And am I the only person exasperated by a double standard that treated everything Bill Clinton ever did in his life ("I didn't inhale") as fair game but now insists that we shouldn't sully ourselves with any inconvenient questions about Bush's past?

I'm as weary as you are that our politics veer away from what matters -- Iraq, terrorism, health care, jobs -- and get sidetracked into personal issues manufactured by political consultants and ideological zealots. But the Bush campaign has made clear it wants this election to focus on character and leadership. If character is the issue, the president's life, past and present, matters just as much as John Kerry's.

Dan Rather has answered his critics. Now it is Bush's turn.

Actually, the media should have pursued these character questions back in 2000, when the GOP first nominated Bush -- but as we all know, the so-called "liberal" media gave Bush a free pass. Reporters focused on fictitious RNC talking points about Al Gore's "serial exaggerations" (once and for all, people, the man NEVER claimed that he invented the Internet), while ignoring the very real questions about Bush's character.

It's hard to say "better late than never" when (a) there's no guarantee the media won't drop the ball again (they're already letting Rove play them like a fiddle by making Dan Rather the issue); and (b) I think of what we might have been spared had the media DONE ITS JOB four years ago.


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