September 21, 2004 - September 14, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
Welcome to all visitors who are dropping in by way of InstaPundit
(Thanks, Glenn). While you're here, you may also want to check out
InstaPunk's recent entries on Mary
. They're shorter than this one and maybe funnier
John Kerry Is Unpatriotic.
Methinks thou doth protest too much
There. I said it. Months ago, know-it-all pundit Jonathan Chait came
out of the closet as a member of the liberal intelligentsia to proclaim
that he, like so many of his foaming-at-the mouth leftist colleagues,
really did hate George W. Bush:
I hate the way he walks--shoulders
flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning
machismo. I hate the way he talks--blustery self-assurance masked by a
pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to
like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing-- a way to establish
one's social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody
give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most
people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to
know him personally, I would hate him even more.
And he concludes his rather lengthy polemic with the following
self-absolving rationale (emphasis added):
To be a liberal today is to feel as
though you've been transported into some alternative universe in which
a transparently mediocre man is revered as a moral and strategic giant.
You ask yourself why Bush is considered a great, or even a likeable,
man. You wonder what it is you have been missing. Being a liberal, you
probably subject yourself to frequent periods of self-doubt. But then
you conclude that you're actually not missing anything at all. You
decide Bush is a dullard lacking any
moral constraints in his pursuit of partisan gain, loyal to no
principle save the comfort of the very rich, unburdened by any
thoughtful consideration of the national interest, and a man
who, on those occasions when he actually does make a correct decision,
does so almost by accident.
There. That feels better.
"Unburdened by any thoughtful consideration of the national
interest?" That sounds very much to me as if Mr. Chait has accused Mr.
Bush of being unpatriotic. Or is there some level of sophistication in
Mr. Chait's intellect that is beyond me?
At any rate, I have become increasingly annoyed with the political
rhetoric of the presidential campaign on both sides. I am annoyed that
every time a Republican criticizes Kerry's senate record or his policy
(non)positions, he or one of his surrogates grabs the nearest
microphone to denounce Bush-Cheney for questioning his patriotism. I am
annoyed that the mainstream media repeat such charges as if they were
fact -- about Cheney, about Zell Miller, about Karl Rove, about Saxby
Chambliss, about the President himself -- when the Republicans and
their supporters, specifically including Zell Miller in his convention
speech, have gone out of their way to say that they do NOT question
Kerry's patriotism. (I dare them to find any such quote by an elected
or appointed Republican official or campaign staffer.) And I am annoyed
that no Republican has the guts to suggest that there's good reason to
doubt Kerry's patriotism.
There is, you know. I'll begin by stating that I do not hate John
Kerry. I am fearful that he may be elected president. I feel a certain
contempt for him. I am resentful that the mainstream media have given
him a free ride since he inherited the nomination from the maniacal and
doomed Dean insurgency. But I do not hate him. My argument for his lack
of patriotism really does rest on a combination of facts and
conclusions which I invite others to reasonably review. I'll enumerate
these below, but first I'll posit the context in which I approach the
I spent many years of my youth in the corporate world, and I have
extensive experience in the disciplines of advertising and public
relations. It has become axiomatic with me that a significant
percentage of PR and ad campaigns are defensive in nature. They are
designed to overcome a perceived weakness rather than tout a strength.
When Ford began its "Quality is Job One" campaign decades ago, it was
because Ford's manufacturing quality had sunk to abysmal levels. Their
vehicles began falling apart as customers drove them out of the new car
lots. The current Walmart campaign dramatizing the company's love and
support for its own employees is a counterweight to the bad publicity
caused by several recent employee and class action lawsuits against the
company. When BMW and Hummer run ads showing the affordable cost of
their leasing plans, it is to overcome the accurate peception that these
are very expensive vehicles.
I confess that I tend to infer a similar motive whenever I see
advertising about intangibles rather than low prices, new technology,
or new product offerings. If an ad for a bank or brokerage house
emphasizes customer service and caring, I assume that this been a
recent or long-term problem in customer perceptions. If an ad features
a CEO telling me how committed he and his company are to the market they serve, I
assume the company is in trouble.
This is my context and the nature of my bias. When I hear Kerry and
Edwards and Kennedy and Cleland et al howling their outrage about
phantom charges that they are unpatriotic, I tend to believe their hypersensitivity arises from the fear that the charges might be
true or legitimately perceived as true. It strikes me as a possibility they
are genuinely concerned about. Directly accuse Bush and Cheney of being
unpatriotic, and they'll probably laugh it off. Merely object to anything said
(or screamed) by a Democrat and they'll suffer a very public anxiety
I think it's time to allow the possibility that Kerry and some of
his Democrat colleagues really are unpatriotic. Here are my reasons:
1. The current 'Fortunate Son'
campaign being conducted against George Bush.
Yes, he's a silver spoon kid from a powerful family. But what of
Kerry? He was born to America's real aristocracy, the Winthrops and
Forbes families of Massachusetts. One of Harvard's residential houses
bears the name Winthrop. It's impossible to get any higher in the food
chain than a Winthrop. So George W. went to Phillips Academy, Andover;
Kerry went to a pre-prep school in Switzerland, for God's sake, then to
Fessenden School, then to the number one snob school in the country, St. Paul's (which looks down
its Grottlesex nose at the two much larger Phillips Academies). For college,
both George W. and John Kerry went to Yale, where both became members of
Skull and Bones.
We'll call it a draw at this point. One would have to say they are
both 'Fortunate Sons.' The next step was the military. Here again,
both served. George W. went into the Texas Air National Guard, and no
amount of smearing or niggling can wholly disguise the fact that he
flew jet fighter planes, which represents considerable risk whether you
do it in Indochina or Texas. But the claim is made that George
preferred the possibility of fiery death by airplane crash to the possibility of death by firefight in
Vietnam, while Kerry leaped like D'Artagnan into the fray. The Kerry supporters would have us believe that this is where
the careers of the two men diverge. But do they? Here's what a recent column
by liberal pundit Nicholas Kristoff has to say
Kerry volunteer for dangerous duty? Not as much as his campaign
would like you to believe. The Kerry Web site declares, "As he was
graduating from Yale, John Kerry volunteered to serve in Vietnam -
because, as he later said, 'It was the right thing to do.' "
In fact, as Mr. Kerry was about to
graduate from Yale, he was inquiring about getting an educational
deferment to study in Europe. When that got nowhere, he volunteered for
the Navy, which was much less likely to involve danger in Vietnam than
other services. After a year on a ship in the ocean, Mr. Kerry
volunteered for Swift boats, but at that time they were used only in
Vietnam's coastal waters. A short time later, the Swift boats were
assigned exceptionally dangerous duties up Vietnamese rivers. "When I
signed up for the Swift boats, they had very little to do with the
war,'' Mr. Kerry wrote in 1986, adding, "I didn't really want to get
involved in the war."
So Kerry didn't want to go to Vietnam either. He got unlucky in that
he did wind up in Vietnam (for which George W. unsuccessfully volunteered
in the Guard) and he got lucky in that he had to serve in combat for
just a few months before a trio of glancing wounds brought him safely
and heroically home. Both George W. and John Kerry secured early
releases from duty, both for the purpose of becoming involved in
Doesn't it seem as if we're still looking at a near dead heat in the
'Fortunate Son' sweepstakes? So what exactly is it that propels John
Kerry to launch this particular attack on his opponent? Well,
'Fortunate Son' by John Fogerty was a kind of anthem to the anti-war
movement in the Vietnam era. It was a protest
song. It was a defiant riff against the movement's enemies, who were
(for those who can't remember) legion -- all those who supported the
war and eventually all those who fought proudly in the war and all who
continued to honor the flag rather than burn it, sew it to the ass-end
of their jeans, or fly it upside down on the cover of their
How can one avoid the conclusion that the emotional basis of Kerry's
"Fortunate Son" campaign is his continuing identification with an
anti-war movement which consistently treated "patriotism" as a dirty
word, the first refuge of the "fascist imperialist pigs of Amerika."
George W. Bush is the enemy targeted by "Fortunate Son" because he did
not participate in anti-war protests.
The proof is in the lyrics:
Some folks are born to wave the flag,
ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail To The Chief",
oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no,
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman come to the door,
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes,
It ainít me, it ainít me, I ainít no
millionaireís son, no.
It ainít me, it ainít me; I ainít no fortunate one, no.
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yoh,
It ainít me, it ainít me, I ainít no military son, son.
It ainít me, it ainít me; I ainít no fortunate one, one.
It ainít me, it ainít me, I ainít no fortunate one, no no no,
It ainít me, it ainít me, I ainít no fortunate son, no no no.
Is it my failing brain, or is the only comprehensible aspect of this
song the jeering tone applied to such patriotic terms as "red, white,
and blue" and "star spangled"? And who, might I be so bold as to ask,
is the "I" who is so angry and alienated and oppressed? Could it really
be the young John Kerry? Or is it supposed to be us? And if so, how?
Should we take this as the first honest (because subsconscious)
statement of policy about the War on Terror and the Iraq War by John
Kerry? We're supposed to rear back and revile the flag and all who
fight for it? And what's all that about "Hail to the Chief"? Isn't that
what Kerry is dying to hear these days?
The use of this song against his opponent in a contemporary
presidential campaign represents a Freudian slip for Kerry. His
persona, he seems to be telling us, was truly born during the period
when he defamed America and her troops in a time of war. It's the only
position that he has ever held for more than a few expedient months.
2. John Kerry's Homeland.
Above, I stipulated for the sake of argument that Kerry and Bush
enjoyed approximately equal advantages as young men. But that is not to
say that their youths were in any way equivalent. Kerry came from a
rich family, but his father worked for the foreign service and was not
rich. Much of Kerry's education was funded by family members who were
wealthy. Nevertheless, Kerry had what must be called an international
upbringing. Consider these excerpts from the most detailed biography
I have been able to find of him on the web:
Kerry says his first memory is from age
three, of holding his crying mother's hand while they walked through
the broken glass and rubble of her childhood home in Saint-Briac,
The memorable visit came shortly after the United States had liberated
Saint-Briac from the Nazis on August 14, 1944. The family estate,
known as Les Essarts, had been occupied and used as a Nazi headquarters
during the war. When the Germans fled, they bombed Les Essarts and
burnt it down.
The sprawling estate was rebuilt in 1954.
Kerry and his parents would often spend the summer holidays there.
Kerry occupied his time there racing his cousins on bicycles and
challenging relatives to games of kick the can. During these summers,
he became good friends with his first cousin Brice Lalonde, a future
Socialist and Green Party leader in France who ran for
president of France in 1981.
He went to a Swiss boarding school at age
11 while his family lived in Berlin. When he visited home, he biked
around and saw the rubble of Hitler's bunker, and also sneaked into
East Berlin, until his father found out and grounded him. As a boy,
Kerry often spent time alone. He biked through France, took a ferry
from Norway to England, one time camping alone in Sherwood Forest.
While attending the boarding school, Kerry saw the film Scaramouche,
which became his favorite movie. He later named his powerboat after the
There is nothing odious about such experience. The fact that his
mother was French, that he lived for a time in Berlin and attended
boarding school in a country that spoke both French and German does not
mean that Kerry automatically favors the nations of France and Germany
over his native land. But we are entitled to ask what Kerry's
relationship to his native land consists of and whether there's a
possibility that the relationship is somehow distinctly different from
that of people who were raised less exotically.
Further, the Kerry family's roots in Massachusetts aristocracy bear
on the fact of his international childhood in quite an interesting way.
Consider this assessment from an article titled John
As the country expanded westward, it was
largely members of the lower classes--those with little to lose and
much to gain--who ventured into the wilderness. Those staying behind
were disproportionately those who, like the Winthrops and the Forbeses,
enjoyed positions of privilege and distinction. The result is that,
while class mobility and meritocracy were early phenomena elsewhere in
America, New England retained a more rigid social and economic caste
system not unlike the one that millions of immigrants would flee Europe
to escape. With the hoi polloi seeking opportunity on the frontier
while the elites remained in the east, a natural sense of superiority
arose throughout New England--a sense that very much carries on to this
In the eyes of many New Englanders, the region is culturally more like
Europe than the rest of America. It has cobblestone streets,
centuries-old buildings, established families who dominate the local
history books, each with its own seal and tartan. Those who grow up in
the region feel a righteous sense of pride that their home is the
birthplace of American liberty, of Plymouth Rock, the Minutemen, the
shot heard 'round the world. Anyone who can boast a lineage that traces
in whole or part "back to the May-flower" is something of an honorary
royal, a living connection to a storied past. The floods of tourists
who come in each year to marvel at sights they'd previously only read
about in history books--sights that, for the locals, are simply part of
the everyday landscape--reinforce the notion that this is a place
that's in some intrinsic way better than any of the newer, less
interesting, less gentrified parts of the country.
Imbued with an innate sense of egalitarianism, no New Englander worth
his salt will own up to being a snob, but New England snobbery is
undeniable. It's there in the jokes, in the vocabulary, in the knowing
references to the benighted souls back in the red states. In New
England parlance, "West Virginia" is a synonym for uncouth,
"Mississippi" for unread, "Iowa" means boring, and "Texas" boorish. A
Southern accent is widely recognized as a sign of intellectual
inferiority, and anyone who owns a gun is, by definition, a
bloodthirsty, paranoid redneck....
True to the region's Europhilic origins,
New Englanders, as a whole, care deeply about what France and Germany
think about America, Americans, and U.S. foreign policy. When Kerry
wrings his hands about the need to "rebuild our alliances," he's not
just giving voice to his own concerns; he's playing to his base, a
constituency that can't bear the thought of losing international
This is the "America" that Kerry visited and occasionally lived in
as a small child, the America he grew to manhood in at the Fessenden
School, St. Paul's, and Yale, and the America he chose to live in as a
prosecuting attorney, lieutenant governor, and U.S. Senator. At what
point, we might wonder, did he ever acquire the knack of feeling more
at home in Iowa, Mississippi, Texas, and West Virginia than he did in
Paris, Berlin, or Luzerne?
Did it occur at some point after he took his first stance against
America on behalf of the world at Yale?
In March 1965, as the Vietnam War
escalated, he won the Ten Eyck prize as the best orator in the junior
class for a speech that was critical of U.S. foreign policy.
In the speech he said, "It is the specter of Western imperialism that
causes more fear among Africans and Asians than communism, and thus it
is self-defeating." Because of his public speaking skills, he was
chosen to give the class oration at graduation. The speech was hastily
rewritten at the last moment, and was a broad criticism of American
foreign policy, including the war.
Did he become more at home in America after he achieved celebrity by
smearing his fellow troops in testimony before the U.S. Congress? Or
was the big change accomplished by his marriage to a $300 million
fortune? Or by his remarriage to the multi-lingual foreign born heiress
of a $1 billion American manufacturing fortune? At exactly what point
did he descend out of the Alps to mind-meld with us "working families"?
What are we supposed to make
of it all?
One possible interpretation of such a background is that John Kerry
grew quite naturally into a sense of citizenship in the high
civilization of the Old World, which consisted of the advanced European
nations plus the northeastern intelligentsia of the United States, and
came to believe that there was both a privilege and a responsibility of
leadership by such elites over the benighted lesser folk outside his
ken. During the period of the Cold War, this kind of self definition
would pose little or no conflict of interest. While Europe's interests
coincided with America's, he would encounter no crippling need to
choose between them.
But the world changed after the Cold War and again after September
9/11. The unavoidable truth is that if Kerry's real affinity is for the
post-modern European sensibility rather than America's heartland sensibility,
he is in profoundly important ways no longer a completely trustworthy
patriot, but a man of divided loyalties. That is in itself no crime,
but it is an unacceptable state of mind in an American president
leading his people in a war for survival.
3. The Oil for Food Scandal.
The mainstream media have been exceptionally reluctant to cover this
ballooning mega-billion-dollar fiasco, probably because of its
complexity and its capacity to undermine the authority of the United
Nations. Last night, though, Fox News
tackled the subject and revealed evidence of massively corrupt collusion
between Saddam Hussein and major commercial and political players
(including Clinton pal Marc Rich) in France, Russia, China, Yemen, and
the United Arab Republics. Saddam may have looted as much as $11
billion for himself, including funds he employed to acquire weapons
used against Coalition forces in the Iraq War. Highly suspect but
not yet confirmed links among companies and individuals strongly
suggest that "Oil for Food" monies have financed both Al Qaeda and the
insurgents still killing American troops today. The U.N. bureaucrat
responsible for overseeing the Oil for Food program may be complicit in
In short, the U.N. administration as well as France, Russia, and
China -- permanent members of the Security Council -- may have have
been bought off by Saddam during Bush's attempt to rally U.N. support
to bring Iraq to account. If so, there was never any chance that the
multilateralism demanded by Kerry could have been achieved. Some of our "friends"
and other nations sold us out and are guilty of helping to murder
Yet Kerry still speaks and acts -- in a time of continuing war -- as
if the fault for America's isolation from traditional allies is
entirely Bush's, which is to say, America's.
The U.S. Congress is vigorously pursuing an investigation of the Oil
for Food scandal. He cannot be unaware of its implications on the
foreigh policy he proposes. Yet he still insists that any military
action not vigorously supported by France and Germany must be wrong.
I can find no way to deem this a patriotic position.
4. Kerry, Our Troops, and Our
Yesterday, the Captain's
Quarters blog ran a letter from a USMC major attached to the
Multi-National Corps staff in Baghdad,. The letter contains significant
new information about recent developments in Iraq and then concludes:
You may hear analysts and prognosticators
on CNN, ABC and the like in the next few days talking about how bleak
the situation is here in Iraq, but from where I sit, itís looking
significantly better now than when I got here. The momentum is moving
in our favor, and all Americans need to know that, so please, please,
pass this on to those who care and will pass it on to others. It is
very demoralizing for us here in uniform to read & hear such
negativity in our press. It is fodder for our enemies to use against us
and against the vast majority of Iraqis who want their new government
to succeed. It causes the American public to start thinking about the
acceptability of ďcutting our lossesĒ and pulling out, which would be
devastating for Iraq for generations to come, and Muslim militants
would claim a huge victory, causing us to have to continue to fight
them elsewhere (remember, in war ďAwayĒ games are always preferable to
ďHomeĒ games). Reports like that also cause Iraqis begin to fear that
we will pull out before we finish the job, and thus less willing to
openly support their interim government and US/Coalition activities. We
are realizing significant progress here Ė not propaganda progress, but
real strides are being made. Itís terrible to see our national morale,
and support for what weíre doing here, jeopardized by sensationalized
stories hyped by media giants whose #1 priority is advertising income
followed closely by their political agenda; getting the story straight
falls much further down on their priority scale, as Dan Rather and CBS
News have so aptly demonstrated in the last week.
The major singled out the media for criticism, but it is impossible
to avoid the realization that Kerry is a leading participant in the
"negativity" about Iraq, even if it is impossible to determine his
preferred policy. When he says that Iraq was "the wrong war, in the
wrong place, at the wrong time," he is telling the Iraqi people, and
our troops, that they can't rely on continued support from the U.S.
government if he is elected. When he says that George Bush spent $200
billion on Iraq that should go to prescription medicines or schools in
the U.S., he is fueling the Iraqi fear that we will "cut and run." When
he hints that he will set a definite timetable for bringing U.S. troops
home, he is telling the insurgents to keep fighting until America
leaves and he is telling the Iraqis not to help the American troops
because a definite day will come when the insurgents can take their
revenge on "collaborators."
This kind of talk adds directly and daily to the risks confronting
U.S. troops. Kerry's campaign rhetoric contains killing words. And he
either doesn't realize it or doesn't care.
Kerry performs a similar disservice when he describes the invasion
of Iraq as unilateral and when he trivializes the contributions of
other members of the Coalition. How does it improve America's standing
in the world when he ignores the battlefield sacrifices of Britain,
Poland, Italy, etc. Their military power is small compared to
ours. But so is the military might of France and Germany. Why is it that
only those two nations are good enough to enlist as allies? Is this an
echo of childhood homes in Paris, Berlin, and Switzerland?
Just yesterday, Kerry's sister did her best to scare
the Australians out of the Coalition with America. She told them:
JOHN Kerry's campaign has warned
Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has
made them a bigger target for international terrorists.
Diana Kerry, younger sister of the Democrat presidential candidate,
told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack
on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to
Australians had increased.
"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the
Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and
multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.
Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now
greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry
said: "The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta
-- I would have to say that."
Who benefits if America's allies are insulted or frightened out of the
War on Terror? Certainly not American troops, who will face longer odds
and deadlier dangers when the enemy sees how easily America can be
isolated. The only beneficiary is John Kerry.
At the Republican convention, Zell Miller declared it wasn't John
Kerry's patriotism but his judgment that is in doubt. I disagree. Why?
Because John Kerry has behaved with the same careless disregard for
American troops in the field before. That's the significance of the
testimony he gave Congress about supposed war crimes committed by U.S.
troops in Vietnam: his words were, as they are now, weapons used
to incite additional violence against the armed forces of the country
he purports to love. He never apologized for the damage his words
caused on that first occasion, and he cannot be given the benefit of
the doubt this time. The evidence suggests that the only military man
he cares about is a two-faced veteran named John Kerry.
5. Kerry and the Swift Boat Vets
This is merely an addendum to the previous reason. Having failed to
apologize for his slander of Vietnam troops, Kerry is clearly so
unrepentant that he regards it as defensible to denounce 250 fellow
veterans as liars and Republican shills. He's never cared a whit about
his so-called band of brothers. He has no sense of personal honor. He
is a nation unto himself.
6. Kerry and the Commander-in-Chief
It may be understandable if unacceptable that the Michael Moores of
the nation forget that George W. Bush is our commander-in-chief in a
time of war. There is no excuse for John Kerry to forget it. He is
aspiring to be commander-in-chief. If he does not respect the office,
he is not qualified to fill it.
There is no excuse for a presidential candidate to declare that the
sitting President is "unfit for command" when American troops are in
the field. There is no excuse for a presidential candidate to suggest
that a draft status 30 years in the past has any bearing on the
qualifications of a sitting president who has already served four years
as commander-in-chief and has exposed himself to personal peril on
multiple occasions. There is no excuse for a presidential candidate to
imply that a sitting president is a coward when the office he is
competing for has a 9-percent assassination rate and an 11-percent
casualty rate. There is no excuse for a presidential candidate to
undermine the perceived honor and integrity of the commander-in-chief in a time
There are honorable ways of debating the alternatives in Iraq and in
the War on Terror. But only a patriot would think to discover those
ways in the poisonous world John Kerry helped bring into being thirty-some years
What was it Chait said in his hymn of hate? A dullard lacking any moral constraints in
his pursuit of partisan gain, loyal to no principle save the comfort of
the very rich (read: himself),
unburdened by any thoughtful consideration of the national interest.
Works for me. You're right, Jonathan. That does feel better.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Cherchez La Femme
far, there has been a hole in all the coverage of
MemoGate. It's possible to see the edges of the hole: Rather apologists
keep pointing out that with regard to 60 Minutes, he really is a
talking head. The heavy lifting is done by the producer, in this case
one Mary Mapes, who is responsible for the content and the
fact-checking of the story before the star mounts the teleprompter for
his glory ride across the airwaves. But nobody seems to be inquiring
into just who Mary Mapes might be. A Google search turned up her name
only in recapitulations of the sequence of events and the growing
suspicion that she may turn out to be the 'scapegoat' for Rather's
screw-up. We keep learning over and over that she was the producer of
the segment, that she's a respected professional, that she broke the
Abu Ghraib story, and that she's been working on the Bush National
Guard story for five years.
Five years? Surely that merits a closer look. Five years of painstaking
effort that culminates in an amateurish hit job on the President of the
United States during a wartime election? This would seem to make her a
candidate for principal villain rather than mere scapegoat. But Google
turned up nothing in the nature of a biography of Ms. Mapes, and even
the blogosphere seems incurious about the woman at the very center of
the scandal. Is it that they're afraid of taking their eyes off Rather
for even a second in fear that he'll get away? Well, there's no escape
for Rather. It is his Nixon-style stonewalling not his reporting that
will bring him down. And it is
important to know exactly how this insanity transpired, which means
looking deeply into the career and character of Mary Mapes.
I did find one very provocative item, which I'll share in the hope that
it jumpstarts some blogger curiosity about this woman. It's an excerpt
from a site called Talon
, about which I know only that it is an organ of GOPUSA. The
piece may be legitimate reportage or a partisan misrepresentation. But
it does seem extremely suggestive:
(Rather's) confidence in Mapes may have
led him to go with the story, despite the red flags. After all, it was
Mapes who brought CBS the Abu Ghraib photos of prisoner abuse and who
risked jail by refusing to turn over videotapes of Rather's interview
with a man charged in the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. in
But Mapes' father sees a political agenda
behind his daughter's work. Don Mapes, 76, was a recent guest on a
radio talk show hosted by John Carlson on KVI in Seattle.
He said, "I'm really ashamed of what my
daughter has become. She's a typical liberal. She went into journalism
with an ax to grind, and that was to promote radical feminism."
He confessed to being disappointed in his
daughter's role in the controversy. He said, "When I heard about 60
Minutes, I suspected she would be the producer of the show."
In an interview with Talon News,
Don Mapes said his suspicion was because that he believed, "Dan Rather
and she have been working on this ever since Bush was elected."
In commenting on the Wednesday's 60
Minutes show, he said, "It was a farce, it was fraud. I'm sorry as a
father that my daughter was the producer of it."
His fatherly instinct showed through when
he said, "To give her the benefit of the doubt, I believe she has been
But he also chastised his daughter for
being intellectually dishonest.
He said, "She ought to look closer at
George Soros or Michael Moore."
Mary Mapes declined several opportunities
to comment for this article.
If Talon has its facts straight, there are more serious questions to
ask about Mary Mapes and any news organization which would give free
rein to a woman bent on promoting a hard left agenda.
: CLICK HERE for the latest on Ms Mapes.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
(CHAPTERS 14 THROUGH 18)
. We won't pretend to be objective about Dan Rather. He's always
rubbed us the wrong way. Here's what we said about him in the 2000
edition of Who's Who in Shuteye
(where the names are changed for reasons of malice):
Ratter. Network TV
anchorman and all-around a__hole. He wants people to like him the way
liked Walter Cronkide. He's tried sweaters, a female
co-anchor, and now he's really working at those suspenders. Maybe it's
helping. They make him look like an a__hole in suspenders. But nobody's
ever going to like him. He's a rude, know-it-all Texus
punk who got old without getting smart, and just who is it anyway who
a cracker grandfather? Go away, Dan, and give the suspenders back to
He should have taken our advice. If he had, he'd be safely retired
instead of starring in a ludicrous act of self-immolation on national
TV. If Dan is intent on publicly destroying himself, as he seems to be,
we wouldn't ordinarily care. He's a bomb that's been ticking for a long
time. But we can't help noticing that his colleagues in the press are
stressing out over the question of why
he would behave as self-destructively as he has in the MemoGate affair.
(This example of a "why" column by Neal
is typical in
content, if less solicitous about poor Dan's reputation.) As he slowly
goes down in flames, we expect there'll be hundreds of column inches
wasted on what seems to many a mystery -- and seems to us as
straightforward and simple as his jackass personality.
Still, we thought it would be fun to do some research on Dan to help
the angst-ridden pundits find the answer to their question. To keep
things professional, we conducted our research CBS-style --
perfunctorily, arbitrarily, carelessly, and with an eye to confirming
our own most extravagant whims. However, we did resort to the use of
computer technology, which Dan seems to eschew (except, of course, in
support of evidence fabrication). We found some stuff to show you that
may explain Dan's bizarre behavior.
At Wikipedia, there's a bio of Dan. Here's something about his early
years (links are Wikipedia's):
We couldn't help noticing that there's something missing here. Dan is
exactly the right age to have fought in the Korean War. But he seems to
have been a reporter for UPI instead. Should some supercilious blowhard
anchorman look into that scandalous circumstance? There was still a
draft in those days. Did Dan fake a way to fail his physical? Did he
wangle a deferment via his good old boy connections? The American
people have a right to know, don't they? How else do you find the
rationale for what's happening right now than by digging through the
remote past for twenty-something indiscretions? What if his vendetta
against George W. Bush is a projection of his own long buried guilt for
having failed to serve in Korea?
Pursuing this particular explanation for Dan's current kamikaze act
would have required considerably more research, though, so we decided
that wasn't the right avenue of attack and pushed on to another website.
Bush and Rather are both from Texas. Could that have something to do
with it? Bush was the rich kid who went to Andover, Yale, and Harvard.
Dan, on the other hand, was a lowlife hick who went to Sam Houston
State Teachers College. Maybe if you're from Texas this kind of
disparity results in undying hatred. We chased down a site devoted to
famous Texans and uncovered a possible reason for Dan's recent behavior
we hadn't quite hit on before. The site
numerous on-air quotes by the great anchorman. Here's a sampling:
- "If a frog had side pockets, he'd
carry a hand gun."
- "We're going to go to some of those longnecks from a long time ago."
- "What we know is that there will be no decision until some of those
races are decided."
- "...in Austin, between the 10 gallon hats and the Willie Nelson head
- "It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat, Republican or a mug wamp,
elected officials play it straight."
- "Frankly we don't know whether to wind the watch or to bark at the
What?! What?! If a frog had side pockets...?! Uh, could it be that
Dan's brain has just plumb shut down like a pickup truck with a
shorted-out alternator? As an explanation it might work, but it's not
satisfying. A diagnosis of dementia seems like letting him off the
hook. And it's not as if the MemoGate reportage is somehow inconsistent
with his past exploits, including his verbal assaults on Nixon and Bush
Sr. Besides, if there's something to this theory, we'd probably have to
look up a lot of tedious information about brain chemistry to make the
argument look authentic. Too much work.
Our next stop was a movie database that actually has a Dan Rather filmography
- AFI's 100 Years...
100 Movies (1998) (TV) .... Himself
- We Were There: CBS
News at 50 (1998) (TV) .... Himself
- Victory in the
Pacific (1995) (TV) .... Himself - Co-host
- Legacy of Shame
(1995) (TV) .... Himself
- Last Party, The
(1993) (uncredited) .... Himself (at Democrat, GOP conventions)
- Real Malcolm X,
The (1992) (TV) .... Narrator/Interviewer
- Who Killed JFK?
Facts Not Fiction (1992) (TV) (also archive footage) .... Himself -
There's a lot more than the few entries above. He stars in all these
productions as himself
he's gradually come to believe that he really is the star of
contemporary American history, that it couldn't have happened without
him, and that he gets to decide what's news and what isn't. That would
make it easier to understand why he takes the position that he
can put any old crap he wants to
on the air and if anyone doesn't like it, they
have to come up with definitive
evidence that would convince Dan Rather... right.)
We were about to settle on that theory when the idea of "stars" began
to resonate and radiate in our little heads. Then a really REALLY
simple explanation leapt out of the ether. We had Dan's birthdate:
October 31, 1931. We checked out an astrology database. It turns out
that Dan is a Scorpio
Here's what the astrology gurus have to say about this sign (emphases
Scorpios are the most intense,
profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear
self-controlled and calm there is a
seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior.
They are like the volcano not far under the surface of a calm sea, it
may burst into eruption at any moment. But those of us who are
particularly perceptive will be aware of the harnessed aggression, the
immense forcefulness, magnetic intensity, and often strangely hypnotic
personality under the tranquil, but watchful composure of Scorpio. In
conventional social gatherings they are pleasant to be with, thoughtful
in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous;
they sometimes possess penetrating eyes which make their shyer
companions feel naked and defenseless before them.
In their everyday behavior they give the appearance of being withdrawn
from the center of activity, yet those who know them will recognize the
watchfulness that is part of their character. They need great
self-discipline, because they are able to recognize the qualities in
themselves that make them different from other humans, and to know
their utterly conventional natures can be used for great good, or great
evil. Their tenacity and willpower are immense, their depth of
character and passionate conviction overwhelming, yet they are deeply
sensitive and easily moved by their emotions. Their sensitivity, together with a
propensity for extreme likes and dislikes make them easily hurt, quick
to detect insult or injury to themselves (often when none is intended)
and easily aroused to ferocious anger. This may express itself in such
destructive speech or action that they make lifelong enemies by their
outspokenness, for they find it difficult not to be overly critical of
anything or anyone to whom they take a dislike.
They can harness their abundant energy constructively, tempering their
self-confidence with shrewdness and their ambition with magnanimity
toward others provided they like them. They
relate to fellow workers only as leaders and can be blunt to those they
dislike to the point of cruelty. In fact they are not above expressing
vindictiveness in deliberate cruelty. They are too demanding, too
unforgiving of faults in others, perhaps because they are not aware of
the shortcomings within themselves, and extravagantly express their
self-disgust in unreasonable resentment against their fellows.
They do, however, make excellent friends, provided that their
companions do nothing to impugn the honor of which Scorpios are very
jealous. Part of the negative side of the Scorpio nature is a tendency
to discard friends once they cease to be useful, but the decent native
is aware of, and fights this tendency.
Is it possible that MemoGate is just a truly accurate demonstration of
who Dan Rather is and has always been? Because we are such meticulous
journalists, we followed up by finding a site that would give us an
astrological report about Dan based on his exact date of birth and
exact place of birth. When they asked our name, we said "Dan." That
wasn't true, of course, but journalists have to use their judgment in
pursuit of a larger truth. The report we got said this about Dan:
Section 1: The Inner
You: Your Real Motivation
Quiet, deep, emotionally complex and intensely private, you are not a
person who is easy to get to know and understand. You are extremely
sensitive but disinclined to show it, and you allow only a special few
into your inner world. Like a wary animal, you are cautious and
mistrustful of those you do not know until you "sniff them out". You are very, very instinctive and intuitive.
You usually have a strong, immediate
gut reaction to people, even though you may be unable to clearly
articulate why you feel as you do. Your feelings and perceptions
go deeper than words.
Section 2: Mental
Interests and Abilities
You have good mental concentration and the ability to become completely
immersed in your work. You seem to
know things at an instinctive, nonverbal level and prefer learning
through direct experience or apprenticeship rather than vicariously via
books or lectures. You have
mechanical ability and work well with your hands. You could
become adept at sculpture, pottery, carpentry, stained glass, or
anything that involves doing and making
things manually. Biology (and related fields such as medicine)
interests you as well. You also have an instinctive rapport with
animals, and may feel you relate better to them than to people! You tend to become narrowly focused upon
your own specialized interests and may not have much to say or
communicate outside that field.
Hmmm. It seems as if the stars are saying Dan might have manifested
his visceral Scorpion hatred of George W. Bush by forging the letters himself
anybody know what word processor is installed on Dan's desktop
computer? Well, it's a theory, and we're sticking by it come what may,
regardless of any facts that get in the way, because we are journalists
and we've put in the hours, by God.
There's a lot more in the report, including stuff about Dan's love
life, but they wanted cash money for the rest of it, and we
professional journalists never pay our sources. If you amateur
pajama-wearing partisans want to get the real deep-down scoop on Dan,
you're perfectly entitled to fork out some bucks for the full report.
All we'll say in closing is that based on our in-depth research,
Astrology.com has a better explanation of why Dan destroyed himself
than any of the network pundits are likely to have. The stars have
spoken, and perhaps it's time for one
of them to shut the hell up.
Is our bias showing?
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