March 22, 2004


The Associated Press describes it as an assault. The Guardian headline describes it as Harsh Bush Criticism. So what exactly has terrible George W. Bush been saying about his saintly, snow-challenged opponent? Readers of gentle disposition may wish to avert their eyes:

On the foreign aid, Bush mocked Kerry's awkward explanation that "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Bush read aloud the quote, then declared: "That sure clears things up, doesn't it?"

"His answers aren't always clear but the voters will have a very clear choice in this campaign."

As for Kerry's claim that foreign leaders would prefer a Kerry White House, the president told the crowd, "That's OK, I'm not too worried, because I'm going to keep my campaign right here in America."

That’s an assault? Bush also noted that Senator Kerry had voted over 350 times for higher taxes. This rampant use of facts is clearly harsh.

Mark Steyn reviews the latest clumsiness from Keystone Kerry, and ABC’s The Note has more on Kerry’s harsh assault on his Secret Service agent:

As Senator John Kerry carved his Burton snowboard down a green rated Upper College run, another skier interrupted his stride, colliding with the presumptive Democratic nominee at 9,010 feet.

The slope-cade of two Ski Patrollers, several Secret Service agents, two journalists, one camera and one Kerry aide suddenly came to a halt. The Massachusetts Senator lay on the ground, removed his Smith sunglasses, and surveyed the damage.

Assured that the ABC News camera accompanying the entourage had not captured Kerry's fall, the Senator glared at your sloping Noter and assured, "I don't fall down. That son of a bitch ran into me."

Kerry aides now say he made the remark in jest. But where are all the photographs of Kerry’s snow blunders? The National Review’s Robert Moran recalls:

In 1996, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Dole's fall was a "visual metaphor for a presidential bid that has stumbled." Given Kerry's week, couldn't the same thing be said of Kerry's campaign?

No! It can’t be said! John Kerry is a helluva athlete! He weathers all the attention from skiers with good humor! He stops for photos and signs autographs on whatever is available! Do not be harsh with him!

Mentions of Kerry’s Secret Service outburst have been stunningly few. And this hasn’t been reported at all.

UPDATE. Under the headine “Campaign trail gets personal”, the Melbourne Herald Sun’s Phillip Coorey writes:

US President George W. Bush used his first mass campaign rally to go for the throat of his Democrat rival John Kerry, labelling him a chronic raiser of taxes and mocking Senator Kerry's claim that foreign leaders wanted Mr Bush out of the White House.

Yep. Really “personal”, Phil.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 22, 2004 01:32 AM

Man, that Bush is such a big meanypants! Using actual facts and everything! You'd think he'd be, what's the word...nuanced about Kerry's continual indecisions...

Posted by: ushie at March 22, 2004 at 02:03 AM

If one of Bush's Secret Service Agents had knocked him over, Bush would have gotten up, laughed, apologized to the agent, and then invited the agent's entire family to the Ranch.

Rumsfeld, would have gotten up, picked the agent up with one arm, and skiied down to the base to make sure that the agent had proper medical attention. And then he would have taken out the Syrian air defense system.

Posted by: Matt at March 22, 2004 at 02:17 AM

really wonderful, Matt!

Posted by: charlotte at March 22, 2004 at 02:53 AM

Why do I have a sudden vision of Jimmy Carter being attacked by a rabbit?

Posted by: Mike G at March 22, 2004 at 03:03 AM

Maybe he can get skiing lesons from howie dean.

Posted by: Andrew at March 22, 2004 at 04:03 AM

They're actually making a movie about the incident.

Posted by: dorkafork at March 22, 2004 at 04:34 AM

I can't believe that Bush is saying those things. It's like some kind of character assasination or desperate attempt to sully an opponents reputation.

Next he'll be calling KKKerry a simplistic moron or comparing him to Hitler. Politics have sure taken a turn for the worse.

Posted by: Dwight at March 22, 2004 at 04:53 AM

I have a some problems with certain aspects of the Republican party, but I really, truly fuckin' hate the Democratic party with a white hot passion. I doubt that I could count the number of Democratic politicians I actually respect on one hand (Joe Lieberman, and, er, um, ...) And Kerry, jeez, do they get any more pathetic? Having to listen to that dick-head for the next 7 1/2 months, can it get any worse?

Posted by: David Crawford at March 22, 2004 at 06:32 AM

Republican (like all politicians) will take advantage of ignorance, the democrats, however, promote it. They'll ride and drive popular opinion when it's blatently wrong rather then evaluate and clearify the issue.

Posted by: aaron at March 22, 2004 at 07:50 AM

Aaron, you couldn't be more right about that and that's an excellent way to crystallize it.

But is anyone else disturbed that Kerry gets to perform PR stunts like snowboarding and gets guaranteed complicity from the press that any imperfections in his performance will go undocumented?

Posted by: DrZin at March 22, 2004 at 08:32 AM

Kerry may be a 'helluva athlete' but so was Jerry Ford. This did not stop the media from highlighting each fall, stumble and misstep that Ford made while in the White House.

Posted by: EdD at March 22, 2004 at 09:25 AM

I've read this, blogged it and come back to read it again. When are you going to start as a regular on the Hugh Hewitt show with Mark Steyn and James Lileks?

I noticed that at the end of the day he criticized the lousy snow at Sun Valley. It looked pretty patchy. I'm sure it would have been better up away from the bunny hills, but it would have been harder to get videos. I'm sure this was supposed to show the rubes what a regular guy he is and appeal to young people who board more than ski. I bet he won't do that again.

Posted by: AST at March 22, 2004 at 02:11 PM

My take on Kerry was posted elsewhere a couple of weeks ago, but it belongs here, too.

Kerry Motto: (To be spoken very slowly, in a deep, sonorous, snotty French voice) George. W. Bush. Bring. It. On.*

{Then, more quickly, and in a whiny baritone voice)

*(Except you can't mention 9/11. That's politicizing it. Or my lack of a jobs and economic policy. That's just out. Oh, and you can't talk about my Vietnam service. [I served in Vietnam. Did you know that?] Also, no discussing of my habit of marrying heiresses. That's just too personal. Of course, it is wildly unfair to bring up my voting record in the Senate. It means you're questioning my patriotrism, and I fought in Vietnam. Did I mention that? You may not remind the voters that I am from Massachussetts, nor that my voting record is among the most liberal in the Senate. That is being divisive. And, especially, you should never point out that I take multiple, contradictory stances on virtually every policy choice, whether it's important or not. That is nuance, and you're too stupid to understand nuance, so cut it out. Finally, forget bringing up my record on Iraq and/or the Patriot Act and/or Homeland Security. I am definitely foragainst all of them, and it's none of the business of the American people, anyway. [Besides, since I served in Vietnam {did I mention that before?} I should get a slide on these. Other than that, [return to sonorous, supercilious, snotty French voice] Bring. It. On.)**

**Above is subject to change, emendent, retraction, or nuancization without prior notice

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 22, 2004 at 03:08 PM