Skip to comments.CBSNews.com Chief Rails Against “Chickenhawks” Bush and Cheney
Posted on 05/07/2004 9:30:39 AM PDT by pookie18
In an April 30 column posted on CBSNews.com, former CBS Evening News political producer Dick Meyer, who is now the Editorial Director for CBSNews.com, blasted George Bush and Dick Cheney as chickenhawks and railed against the cheek, chutzpah, conceit, arrogance, condescension of the Republicans for supposedly impugning John Kerrys Vietnam era guts and patriotism.
[Rich Noyes, Research Director for the MRC, filed this item for CyberAlert.]
Unfortunately for Meyers premise, top Republicans have actually praised, not impugned, Kerrys military service. On CBSs own airwaves, on Face the Nation February 22, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie declared that Senator Kerrys service in our military is honorable, and he should be proud of it and obviously he is.
What Republicans have impugned is Kerrys post-war career as a medal-tossing anti-war protester and a record of anti-defense votes as a liberal U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. But Meyer saw any questioning of Kerrys national security identity, i.e., his record over the past several decades, as a sinister attempt to paint him as an unpatriotic chicken.
And Meyer rejected the idea that Kerry could be criticized on national security by anyone who themselves had not served in the military, echoing liberal Senator Frank Lautenbergs smear of Bush and Cheney as chickenhawks.
What is the word that has more gall than gall? Meyers wrote. Nerve? Cheek, chutzpah conceit, arrogance, condescension? You name it -- the squadron of chickenhawks that steers both the campaign and government of President Bushs have pots of it. Where do these people come off impugning John Kerrys Vietnam era guts and patriotism? John McCain, Colin Powell, Tom Ridge or Chuck Hagel might have some moral standing, but not these chickenhawks.
Meyer was a producer at CBS during the 1992 presidential campaign, but I dont recall any hint on the CBS Evening News (or in the rest of the media) that because Bill Clinton evaded service in the Vietnam war he was unfit to question the policies of then-President George H. W. Bush, a decorated World War II veteran.
An excerpt from Meyers anti-Bush harangue:
What kind of absurd political twilight zone is it where George Bush and Dick Cheney can make John Kerry look like an unpatriotic chicken by focusing attention on his combat duty in Vietnam?
Its a doublethink world of issues-ephemera, spin, and manipulated perceptions that Bushs technicians have mastered and that we the media and we the people aid and abet: Campaign 2004, a truth odyssey.
What is the word that has more gall than gall? Nerve? Cheek, chutzpah conceit, arrogance, condescension? You name it -- the squadron of chickenhawks that steers both the campaign and government of President Bushs have pots of it. Where do these people come off impugning John Kerrys Vietnam era guts and patriotism? John McCain, Colin Powell, Tom Ridge or Chuck Hagel might have some moral standing, but not these chickenhawks.
This whole chickenhawk issue has become sort of politically incorrect, in a Republican sort of way. Its considered a rude charge. I dont buy that.
John Kerrys national security identity (I use this phrase because that is how campaign operators think, they are trying to forge perceptions of his character, record and patriotism) has been sliced bloody by the orchestrated switchblades of Bushs surrogates this past week. So it is hardly irrelevant that John Kerry fought in Vietnam and George Bush didnt.
The list of Bush supporters in government, in the campaign and in the ideas industry who also had no military service at all, not just no combat, is also relevant: Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tom Delay. Oh yeah, and Dick Cheney....
For the record, I dont think the biographical questions about Kerry -- or Bush -- are irrelevant sideshows that obscure the great debates of the day. I think theyre important to voters. Theyre important to me. I want to know if Kerry lied a little about throwing away his medals, or why he wouldnt 'fess up to a youthful exaggeration if he did. I want know if Bush really did blow off months of his National Guard stint.
I dont think John Kerry should be exempted from scrutiny or explanation because he got shot in war. I dont think Kerry did a particularly good job of meeting the attack, but his tactics and even his character are not my current concern.
I am just -- forgive me -- galled at the gall of the chickenhawks. President Bush should not have sanctioned it.
...These people are, to my bewilderment, skilled at tearing down people who have made that sacrifice. They did it to Max Cleland, an ousted senator from Georgia who suffered awful wounds in Vietnam. They did it to John McCain in 2000. Theyre trying to do it to Kerry.
END of excerpt.
To read Meyers The Gall of the Chickenhawks column in full: www.cbsnews.com
Meyer has since posted some of the e-mail he received since that column was posted last Friday, and apparently most of his readers agree with him. Tons of e-mail on this one -- about 75-25 in agreement, a reverse of the usual percentages. Many of the 'nays pointed out that no one in Bush-Cheney officialdom explicitly used the word 'unpatriotic about Kerry. Maybe so, but not only is that suggestion implicit -- perhaps subliminal? -- but the unofficial surrogates said it plenty.
Actually, I think very few have called Kerry unpatriotic, but I have noticed a special eagerness on the part of Democrats in the last few years to claim to have had their patriotism impugned so they can portray any criticism of their policies as somehow out of bounds.
To read the e-mail reaction, some of which is quite negative: www.cbsnews.com
For the archive of Meyers columns, which run under an Against the Grain heading: www.cbsnews.com
On Thursday afternoon he posted a new one blasting Rush Limbaughs take on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners.
"A few others wanted to know if I was ever in the military and said that if I wasn't I had to right to pontificate. I wasn't in the military. I was too young for Vietnam by a few years and never volunteered. What does that have to do with my freedom to bloviate on this topic?
Many of the 'nays pointed out that no one in Bush-Cheney officialdom explicitly used the word 'unpatriotic about Kerry. Maybe so, but not only is that suggestion implicit -- perhaps subliminal?
Yes, Dick, theyre beaming the message into your brain through infared flashing lights and gamma rays guns.
Isn't it amazing how Bush's NG record, which the liberals and their media monkeys claim is inconsequential as it does not have the Vietnam combat stamp of approval (which didn't exist for Clinton), is important enough to splash all over the front pages of liberal newspapers and the blighted nightly news?
Yet Kerry, lying about atrocities, claiming to have committed his own, and lying about nearly everything else in his military career, topping it off with bugging out of Vietnam, leaving his so-called "band of brothers" behind, is relegated to the inconsequential.
Yep, no bias here!
Nah. That doesn't do any good. You gotta steal it.
Record the show you'd like to watch and then fast-forward through the commercials.
That'll stick it to them! ;-)
Listen to a Democrat and all you hear about are references to scandals and past glories.
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