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From National Review Online, 11/3/00


By Mike Potemra, NR's deputy managing editor

I got home very late last night, and switched on the TV B only to find the media in full panic about a 24-year-old incident in which a young George W. Bush was boozed up behind the wheel of a car. For about three seconds, or maybe a little less, I thought this could help move a close election in the direction of Al Gore.

But then I regained a modicum of sanity, and realized that what had just happened was one of the greatest strokes of luck ever to benefit the lucky man known affectionately as "Dubya." Right before this revelation, Bush had a small but persistent lead in the popular-vote polls. He was probably going to win the election, but there remained the off chance that last-minute doubts about his readiness for the office would have derailed him on election day. But then this story broke, five days before the election; the media did their absolute best to make it appear earth-shattering.

It will, I believe, have the exact opposite effect: It will reassure the American people that thereBs little to fear from a Bush presidency. The story is, you see, the equivalent for Bush of what the Starr Report was for President Clinton. In the dog days of 1998, the American people were being told that Clinton had engaged in crooked Whitewater real-estate deals; had misused his political adversariesB secret FBI files, in the same way that Chuck Colson did, earning thereby a prison sentence; had smeared the unjustly fired employees of his own travel office, using his office improperly to harm these innocent people; had taken illegal money from the Chinese Communists, compromising our very electoral system itself; and so on, and so on.

Then the Starr Report came out: hundreds of extensively detailed and footnoted pages making the rather convincing case that Clinton didnBt quite tell the whole truth about what he did with Monica. The sigh of relief, from coast to coast, was audible: "If thatBs all he did, then letBs forget about the whole thing."

And now we have a similar situation: BushBs political enemies have made attack after attack on how lightweight he is, and have now produced their big bombshell. And itBs a dud.

Americans are, as the Clinton case proved, a forgiving people. On election day, we will hear the exact same sigh of relief in voting booths across the land: "Bush looks like a pretty good guy, and if the best his unscrupulous detractors can do to make him look bad is dredge up a minor incident from the disco era, then heBs OK by Current Issue /

-- Lars (, November 03, 2000


Gasp! There's more!

ABBA dabba doo

-- Lars (, November 03, 2000.

Thanks for introducing me to Joel Achenbach, Lars. He's got a GREAT sense of humor, and I'll be reading his stuff three times/week [after I finish his archives.]

-- Anita (, November 03, 2000.

G'Day Lars,

This day our national newspaper "The Weekend Australian" front page feature story is about your Bush running amok with our John Newcombe, the tennis player of Wimbledon renown.

Since we don't have front page news of our own could you please tell your Bush to stop boozing with our Oz sporting heroes. It will make good copy for Monday and Tuesday next. Wednesday even. There's nothing else happening anyway.

Regardz from Oz

-- Pieter (, November 03, 2000.


Sounds fascinating. Gotta link? Does it have to do with fuzzy balls?

-- Lars (, November 03, 2000.

G'Day once again Lars,

Just returned from walking the gundogs in the quail paddock over the road. It's free entertainment...for now at least.

The Weekend Australian

The electronic story is edited and doesn't match the paper version in which John Newcombe is pictured with George senior on a tennis court, while George junior looks completely stunned like a mullet. Your president Billy gets a bucketing in the feature pages smoking a freaking cigar on a golf course. All quite surreal.

But then again our local parliamentarian types insist on stating we live in non-inflationary times. Now that's unreal!

Regardz from Oz

-- Pieter (, November 04, 2000.

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