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  • Crossed Fingers

    Posted by Shannon Love on September 20th, 2004 (All posts by )

    Reportedly, CBS will announce today that they concede the infamous Bush AWOL documents are forgeries.

    Once that happens, the story will then become the providence of the documents. Many believe that CBS has been slow to declare documents forgeries because then they would be obligated to say who they got them from. Speculation is rife CBS does not want to reveal the source because it is a high ranking member of the Democratic party like Max Clealand. Such a scandal would most likely destroy the Kerry campaign.

    I am typing with crossed fingers now, hoping that no major Democrat was involved. I think it would be a disaster long-term for the nation and for the policies that I support if Kerry goes down due a scandal, especially a scandal that he was unaware of. There are two major negative outcomes from Bush winning by default.

    First, winning by default can seriously undermine a winner’s mandate. It’s hard to claim you have widespread support for your policies when you won office because the other guy didn’t show up or disappeared. Bush needs a firm mandate to finish the war and to advance the ideas of the “Ownership Society.”

    Second, the Democratic party needs some serious self-reflection and reform. It needs new 21st century ideas and new leaders. Getting trounced in a fair fight will prompt this reform while losing due to scandal will delay it. It will be easy for democratic stalwarts to say, “We would have won if only it were not for the scandal.”

    I think everybody assumes that the source of the forgeries is rooting for Kerry for whatever reason. I just hope like hell it’s nobody on his payroll.

    (cross posted at Shannon Love’s Blog)

    (Update: CBS says Burkett gave them the memo but he claims he is not the forger and just passed them along from someone else.)

    (Update: Ap reports Kerry campaign official spoke with Burkett at the request of CBS. Crap.)

     

    14 Responses to “Crossed Fingers”

    1. Ken Says:

      “Second, the Democratic party needs some serious self-reflection and reform. It needs new 21st century ideas and new leaders. Getting trounced in a fair fight will prompt this reform while losing due to scandal will delay it.”

      What the Democratic party really needs is to enter the dustbin of history. One party rule just doesn’t happen in this country; instead, either the Republicans will split, or a new party will rise to prominence and challenge them.

      If this event doesn’t also prompt a rethinking of political and economic theory on the part of the voters, then this event will have little practical effect; the new party will be very much like the Democrats and push much the same policies. But if the policies of the Democrats end up getting discredited along with the candidates, an awful lot of people will be looking for new political and economic theories, and competing wings of the Republican party, or other parties, will have a big opportunity to sell to them while they’re in a receptive mood, and we might end up with much better long-term policies as a result.

      Bush’s “mandate” is a lost cause, as far as I can tell.

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      Ken,

      Political parties in America just evolve to a radically different form under the same name. Political parties are much like businesses. It easy to completely clean house while keeping the same name. The Democrats needs to hang up the “Now under new management” sign and mean it.

      Nothing prompts a re-evaluation more than an unambiguous defeat. That is what we need right now.

    3. Lex Says:

      I agree with Shannon. For 150 years we have had “Republicans” and “Democrats”. They are two infinitely malleable bags into which politicians try to stuff 51% of the vote each election. Just look at the range of leading issues which each party has “stood for” over the years. The Donks: States Rights, Free Trade and Free Coinage of Silver, Social Security, Labor Unions, Progressive Taxation, Regulation of Industry, Black Civil Rights, Abortion. This is practical rather than intellectual continuity.

      Parties do not exist to promote issues. Parties exist to find issues which will allow them obtain majorities and win elections consistently. We will have two parties in this country with the names Democrat and Republican for the rest of my life, at least. There is no reason not to do it this way and there are a lot of obstacles to forming a third party. Better to influence and even take over one of the existing ones.

      Parties which have a hard, ideological or ethnic core find it hard to change. The Democrats may have to get drubbed repeatedly before they wake up.

      And, of course, this election is not over and the Donks may yet win it, in which case it will be the GOP which looks like the loser party which needs a period of introspection. This thing aint over yet.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      The Democrats appear likely to lose decisively. However, if they do lose, I doubt that they are going to come to their senses and change their policies any time soon. The Party leadership shows no sign of acknowledging that their ideas, rather than the way the ideas are packaged, are what’s responsible for multiple electoral failures. In this regard the Democrats resemble the mainstream media. Nothing less than a new generation of leaders may be needed before the press and the Democratic Party can change the policies that are causing their respective problems.

    5. Anonymous Says:

      Democratic stalwarts will always say “We would’ve won if not for that scandal!” or “We would’ve won if not for that damned electoral college!” or “If only we’d gotten more New Yorkers to vote a second time in Florida!”

      George Bush had a pretty decent mandate for the last 4 years, and that was after “losing the popular vote.” I’m not too concerned.

    6. Lex Says:

      They haven’t lost yet. Three debates to go. Weeks to go. A gauntlet to run of potential disasters from Iraq, al Qaeda, Iran, Korea, wherever. It aint over yet.

      The Donks barely lost last time. In fact they believe with a fierce faith that they won and it was stolen from them. And they won the two before that. They are faced with a weird new situation, i.e. a war they don’t understand. If they lose this time they’ll blame Kerry, or say it was a weird year, what can you do? If they lose this time then ’08 is another universe and who the Hell knows where we’ll be. There will be no lessons learned from this if they lose.

      It takes repeated, sound drubbings to make a party change its ways. The Donks are not anywhere near there yet, no matter what happens with Kerry. They’ll tinker at the margins, and that may be enough to get them in next time.

      The Democrats had control of Congress for 40 years. The GOP took its time about waking up and taking over.

    7. Andy B Says:

      Criticize the Dems, point out they’re faults and failings, and hope for reform, but don’t call this election yet! We’re moving into an extremely dicey six weeks, and I’m not referring to the Republican “we”. It’s going to get progressively bloodier, both figuratively and literally.

    8. Matt Says:

      I think you might mean “provenance” not “providence” of the documents, though there are surely some aspects of the documents that are a bit too suspiciously “providential”…

    9. Ginny Says:

      This is back to the scandal itself:
      This afternoon, on NPR, Kalb was arguing that we need to get to the bottom of this. It turned out that what he meant by “this” was what happened to the “original” documents, who ordered that they be destroyed, etc. I couldn’t believe it – we have documents that are forged and wrong in so many ways (for instance, the Army diction and style as opposed to the Air Force format) and we are supposed to think that these are “facsimiles” of “originals” that Bush has somehow destroyed while the wording has stayed pristine in somebody’s head? This is Alice in Wonderland time. Hyperbole brought on by irritation time: Kalb is to journalistic ethics what the Sudan is to human rights.

      I keep saying this isn’t important – we’ve got Iraq, we’ve got four years of a president to approve or not. Still and all, when it comes down to the nub of this, Rather chose to base a case against Bush on the words of one of Kerry’s largest fund raisers (and a man with hardly a spotless reputation and who had sworn to the opposite position a few years ago) and patently false documents from a kook who is obsessed with “getting” the Bushes. This was surrounded by an ad campaign with the “Fortunate Son” motif. Coincidence?

      I can see why the Democrats get offended when anyone questions their patriotism (though it doesn’t seem to me to happen all that often), so perhaps I shouldn’t say this. But when Rather used his position to try to sell us these forgeries as the “real thing” and influence how we thought about Bush, he was trying to influence the election. And he was doing it with lies. Yes, this is all pretty pathetic and I don’t think all that many people would switch their votes if it were all true. But that doesn’t make his motives any better. This seems to me unpatriotic–it certainly doesn’t understand that a good democracy depends upon truth and transparency.(I know – there is a long history of such things and one of the great practitioners was the wonderful wordsmith Jefferson. That doesn’t make it right.)

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Matt,

      Thanks, I fixed it. I blame my spell checker, my cat or anybody or anything but me.

    11. Richard A. Heddleson Says:

      The way the new generation of leaders will come to the Democrat party is the same way it came to the Republican. All the old generation will lose elections or die. The lose elections part has been going on for 10 years. If Democrats lose this election as badly as I expect they will, Andy B’s concerns notwithstanding, more Democrats will realize they are a “permanent” minority party and end their careers early. This will make room for Jonathan’s new generation and their new ideas. The longer this takes, the worse for the country.

      Faster, please. It’s not as though the competition has been beneficial for the Republicans either.

    12. rdbrewer Says:

      It turns out “Lucy Ramirez” is an anagram for “crazy rum lie.” Burkett is creating another false lead because he is 1) a rummy, and he is 2) running interference for the real source of the forged documents–the DNC.

    13. John Anderson Says:

      Though a Republican, I hope this results in a better Democratic party. One cannot prepare for a heavyweight fight solely by shadowboxing, a sparring partner is helpful.

    14. Anonymous Says:

      It seems that the DNC had access to at least one of the forged memos 6 months ago. Or perhaps one of the early drafts. They should have spent a little more time spiffing it up, before releasing it through their CBS affiliates.