Saturday, March 27, 2004

Lagniappe: The George WoT Bush Watch - Lots of folks on the right who are critical of Kerry, like to think that John Kerry cannot speak about any subject without mentioning his Vietnam service. Take, for instance, Conservative Blogger Bryan Preston of JunkYardBlog. In one of his posts entitled PSSSSSST, Preston writes:

Did you know that he served in Vietnam?

No lie--he's a decorated veteran. Oh, he's too modest to tell you about it himself. Unless you ask. And then he'll sit you right down and talk your ear off about it. He's got a million stories from his 120 days in country. He'll even show you home movies he shot during his arduous four months preliving Apocalypse Now on his swift boat.

In fact, he'll tell you all about it even if you don't ask. Ask him about health care--he'll tell you about Vietnam. Ask him about taxes--he'll tell you about Vietnam. Ask him the air speed velocity of a laden swallow--he'll tell you about Vietnam. Modest chap, that John Kerry, so reluctant to tell you what a hero he is. Unless you ask him any conceivable question about any topic.

So the secret is--John Kerry has done nothing with his time in the Senate that qualifies him for the presidency. So ask him any question about anything under the sun--and he'll tell you about Vietnam. Because that's all he's got.
Of course, this is all nonsense. I tried to call Bryan on this silliness by making a similar kind of exaggerated claim in the very same spirit about Bush's constant references in his speeches and interviews to the war on terrorism/war in Iraq. For instance, in the comment board to this post at the JYB, I wrote:
Here’s another little secret. Ask Bush about education, and he’ll tell you about terrorism. Ask him about jobs, and he’ll talk your ear off about Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Ask him about trade, and he’ll tell you about the atrocities of Udai and Qusai. Ask him about pretzels and he’ll tell you about Al Qaeda’s continuing threat to world peace and the everlasting war on terror. What differentiates Bush from Kerry, though, is that Bush doesn’t have to wait for the obligatory question — he will talk your ear off about this even when you just want, for once since 9/11, to eat your dinner in peace.
What was Bryan's response? Well, he called me a liar about Bush. Now, I admit to a bit of exaggeration about Bush, but the gist of the subsequent exchanges we had on his blog posting comment board is that Bryan really believes all Kerry talks about is his Vietnam service, and that Bush never talks about the war on terror out of context.

So, I've decided to take Bryan's whine as a challenge. Let's see how frequently Bush talks about the war on terror in his speeces and interviews, and let's see specifically how often Bush does so out of context. I'll start tracking all of Bush's speeches and interviews (or as many as I can) as part of my George WoT Bush Watch. I think you'll find that Bush is more of a single issue campaigner with the War on Terror than Kerry ever could possibly be on his Vietnam service record. First up, George Bush's recent Conversation on Homeownership. I'll be back soon with a detailed breakdown of this speech; but first I've got to feed the kids. Stay tuned!

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