Friday, July 30, 2004

Frustrating: I was walking past a room that had the Democratic Convention on TV while Kerry was speaking, so I poked my head in for a moment out of curiosity. Then I heard the Democratic presidential nominee take a shot at President Bush with, "Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so."

When I felt my teeth grinding to the gums, I decided I had better walk out of the room. How can politicians get away with saying such nonsense? And why do the partisan sheep cheer? Republicans have already cited many instances when Kerry argued that Iraq's WMD were a threat.

So much for Kerry staying positive.

I'm happy to hear him attempting to talk tough about the war on terror. But his continuing emphasis on allies ignores the help we're already receiving and the amount of time Bush sought help from others -- and those who haven't joined aren't going to jump in just because Kerry is president.

In the past Kerry would talk about getting U.N. and NATO involved in Iraq (which, to some extent, they already are). But there's a reason people say NATO stands for "Needs Americans To Operate". The U.S. military makes up the bulk of those forces. Any additional military help from those organizations will be negligible.

And Kerry unintentionally confirmed my fears that he may be a weak leader in the fight against terrorists.

Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.
Sen. Kerry, we already have been attacked. The swift and certain response needs to be now, not after another attack.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Fear Itself: Democrats are desperately trying to paint the Bush administration as fear mongers.

Instead it brings fear. Fear of rising costs for health care and for college, fear of higher unemployment and lesser pay, fear for the future of Social Security and Medicare, fear of greater bigotry, fear of pollution's stain on our magnificent natural heritage, fear of four more years of dreams denied and promises unfulfilled and progress rolled back. In the depths of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt inspired the nation when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Today, we say the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush. John Kerry offers hope, not fear.
Just reading that speech by Sen. Kennedy, the Democrats' message is backfiring. Yes, Bush is telling us to fear the terrorists. But we have good reason to. Terrorists have vowed to attack America again and again.

So while the Bush is telling us to fear terrorists, Democrats are telling us to fear Bush. The Patriot Act may need to be tweaked, but Bush has never given me a reason to fear him or his policies.

Kerry has been trying to take the high road by staying positive, and that's good. But it's not enough. Americans are judging the Democratic Party, not just one guy, through the convention. And if they see hateful, fearful rhetoric, they'll run the other direction.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Play Nice: I was surprised to learn that a good percentage of the attendees at Fenway Park booed Sen. Kerry as he threw the first pitch in the Red Sox-Yankees game on Monday. It was his hometown crowd, and people were booing him for having the gall to run for our nation's highest office.

Vice President Cheney got the same treatment last month at a Red Sox-Yankees game in New York. He was sitting in one of the owner's boxes watching the game with Gov. George Pataki and former mayor Rudy Giuliani. During the Seventh Inning Stretch, the music played God Bless America. Among the camera shots on the field's big screen was a flash of Cheney. Instant booing erupted from some rabble rousers.

I don't understand the visceral hatred people have toward politicians. Sure, they don't have the best reputations. But even lawyers and used car salesmen wouldn't incite booing.

Politicians have many faults, but most of the ones I've met have this country's best interest at heart and work hard to do what they think is best. There is the hunger for power and the backroom dealings that taint their image. But just because you disagree with somebody's political platform doesn't mean they don't deserve some respect.

You don't have to vote for them. A golf clap would be appropriate if you aren't enthusiastic about someone's policies. But extreme hatred adds nothing to the political discourse. And it wouldn't hurt to show a little consideration for the people who go to work in the thankless job that is our nation's government and political system. We might actually get better candidates in the process.

Reality Shows: Looks like all news this week will be dominated by the Democratic Convention. And that means nothing important is going to happen.

I choose not to watch party conventions. Like my boycott of the State of the Union Addresses (is the state of our union ever anything but "STRONG"?), I can only take so much political spewage. This is the perfect opportunity for the news media to filter out the garbage and bring me the important highlights.

Of course, the news media tends to highlight some garbage too -- who went to what party, who gave what speech, etc. Hopefully I'll get a chance to finish some other blog posts I've wanted to get at.

Even though I'm not watching the convention, I heard that much of it is about 9/11 -- honoring those who died and calling for a strong fight against terrorism.

Quick question, didn't Democrats blame Bush for politicizing 9/11 when he used fading images in his campaign commercials (which, after all, is what a political convention is -- only four-days long)?

Before you answer that, I just want to say that I applaud the Democrats for invoking 9/11. I'm worried that the political divisions in this country will lead many people to not want to fight this war on terrorism, for fear that fighting this war will become associated with one party more than the other. That's not what we need. The fight against terrorism should be a no brainer. We can argue over the details later.

That's why I encourage Democrats and Republicans to play up the importance of 9/11 and the war against terrorism in their conventions and campaigns. I won't be always be watching them. But I'll be cheering nonetheless.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sound of Silence: Want to know what your government is up to here in Washington, DC, our great nation's capital? Well let's look at what each branch is doing.

Senate Floor
July 27, 2004
Floor Agenda

Senate not in session, August Recess (The Senate will reconvene on September 7, 2004).
Hmm, good thing we have a bicameral Congress.

House Floor
July 27, 2004
Floor Agenda

House not in session, Summer District Work Period (The House will reconvene on September 7, 2004).
So much for the Legislative Branch. Surely the Judicial Branch must be pondering something.

Opening Conference Begins September 27, 2004
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. The entire nation's capital gets essentially deserted for the whole month of August, and then some. This happens every single year.

So maybe you can explain to me why, oh why, some people make such a fuss about the President of the United States being the president somewhere else besides Washington, DC, for a month.

The first thing to realize is that the president is never on vacation. He gets daily briefings. He sits with advisers. They strategize day in and day out. His entire communications/intelligence entourage follows him wherever he goes.

Here in Washington, there's absolutely nothing to do. I'm going to be taking vacation soon. There's no reason for Bush to be here either.

If you feel the need to attack our president, please at least find a valid reason. There's plenty to choose from.

Monday, July 26, 2004

20/20: Amid all the criticism about what Bush and Clinton did or didn't do to stop terrorism before 9/11, there's the simple fact that the news media devoted essentially no coverage to the topic before then.

Granted, it's the government's job to protect us, not the media's (thank God). But the government can only tackle so many problems, and it takes its cues from the public as to what priorities to set.

If it's true that the Clinton administration refused several times to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, as some people claim, then that provides ample and compelling evidence that President Clinton ultimately failed in his duties as Soothsayer in Chief. During the 2000 campaign, neither Bush nor Gore commented about the attack on the USS Cole, other than to say it was a sad tragedy. And the Bush spent the first months in office facing seemingly bigger threats from China and North Korea than from a few misfit terrorist groups.

During the string of terrorist attacks in the 1990s, there was no public outcry or outrage. Each attack seemed like an isolated incident that should be handled through law enforcement. Few if any media outlets called for the military interventions that now seem obviously appropriate.

Before 9/11, Osama Bin Laden was one of many rogue leaders pledging to destroy the United States. While he made the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted list, The New York Times openly questioned, in a front-page story in April 1999, whether Bin Laden was really responsible for any of the terrorist attacks.

The media doesn't have to answer for its mistakes the way politicians do. Except for the occasional opinion piece or blogger post, pundits don't hear their shrieks of predictions past replayed on CNN ad nauseum.

Why? Because their opinions aren't important. They weren't important then, and they aren't important now. Keep that in mind whenever you hear criticism about what politicians should have been doing to avoid whatever present catastrophe just occurred.

Friday, July 23, 2004

News Break: When the Sandy Berger investigation was revealed, Democrats were questioning the timing of the news. After Richard Clarke began criticizing the president, Republicans accused him of waiting until the election year before speaking up. Now that some of Bush's National Guard records have been found, Democrats say Republicans are trying to interfere with the Boston convention.

Both parties need to get something straight. We are in the middle of an election, and news will continue to happen as always. The fact that an election is underway in no way makes the inevitable news suspect. So quit whining about how such-and-such was revealed at an inconvenient moment and deal with the facts at hand. Any complaining about "suspicious timing" should be interpreted as "we don't have a better answer".

Double Team: Moderates are under attack! William Swann brilliantly fisks back.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Spotlight: Ideally, it shouldn't matter what celebrities say about political matters. But it bugs me, and it seems to bug others. It's always been in vogue to rip on the president, but I don't remember it ever being so hateful. Now I can't help but lose respect for those in Hollywood who stoop to such levels.

Susan Surandon is a great actress who has made great movies. But now every time I see her, I can't help but think of how she despises President Bush and believes we invaded Iraq for oil and American imperialism.

Tim Robbins is a funny guy and an entertaining actor. But I lose respect for him when he accuses Bush of oppressing opposition speech and curtailing our freedoms. Mr. Robbins, of course, says this from a televised news conference at the National Press Club. Some oppression, eh? Then he threatens bodily harm against people with whom he disagrees.

Pearl Jam, Whoopi Goldberg, et al -- they feel the need to bash Bush. It should be easy to dismiss their criticisms. After all, they are no policy experts, and they have no idea really what they're talking about. But that just makes it worse. Everybody has a right to free speech, but don't expect everyone else to respond positively.

So when the Dixie Chicks say they're embarrassed about President Bush, many people boycotted their music. The Chicks cry censorship, but that's not true. The public is just exercising their right to respond.

The Dixie Chicks still have freedom of speech. But anything they say can and will be used against them. That's what public discourse is all about. If you say something stupid, I'm allowed to tell you that. And I should not be forced to listen to your rubbish if I don't want to. Nor do I have to watch your movies or listen to your music.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Wow! Iran's conservative parliament has passed a measure that will legalize abortion in some circumstances during the first trimester.

This isn't quite abortion on demand. Abortion will only be performed if a deformation is found or if the mother's well being is at risk. And no abortions will be allowed after the 17th week of pregnancy, no matter what risks.

Still, it's a step in the right direction. What's funny is you'll never hear Bush try to credit the change to his tough policies in the Middle East. I don't think that would too sit well with his pro-life constituency.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Opposite of Progress: More election year shenanigans in Congress. The Senate will consider a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. This, of course, has no chance of passing, again. I guess members of Congress wouldn't want to waste valuable time during an election year actually getting something important accomplished.

Todo Loco: There's a discussion going on at Centerfield among us moderates as to why we eschew partisan labels:

Rick Perlstein also asked a question directed at Centerfielders. "What makes you not partisan?"
Simple. Both major parties keep pissing me off.

When the Republicans impeached Clinton for lying about sex, I vowed never to join the Republican Party. If they had censured him, that would have been fine. Clinton lied under oath. And for that, disbarment was a punishment that fit the crime. But trying to create a constitutional crisis by removing a sitting president for covering up personal indiscretions was completely beyond me.

Just when I could have been drafted into the other party, the Democrats accused Bush of knowing about 9/11, then ignoring the signs of 9/11, then lying to the American people about Iraq's WMD even though many Democrats had sworn that Saddam Hussein was developing them, etc. We're in a war, and lefties are trying to take cheap shots at our president, and they are weakening the country as a result.

Plus, I don't understand the arbitrary lines between liberals and conservatives. Liberals want to legalize marijuana and outlaw cigarettes. Conservatives want to defend tobacco smokers but keep marijuana illegal. They're just plants that grow from the ground, and I believe people should be able to smoke both. The traditional positions seem somewhat contradictory.

In short, I can't align myself with any party because I can't trust any of them.

Dangerously Stupid: The Philippines withdrew the last of their 51 troops from Iraq. The troops were there to provide humanitarian relief until August. But because a few criminals kidnapped a Filipino and demanded those troops to withdraw, the Philippine government crumbled to the pressure.

Withdrawing the troops may save that one life. But it has emboldened the terrorists to kidnap more people and behead others. This isn't about supporting or opposing the Bush administration. This is about common sense on how to deal with criminals. You never negotiate with terrorists. Now many more people's lives are in danger.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Backwards Thinking: Bush still hasn't proposed an agenda for what he'd like to do during next four years if he's re-elected. I've been wondering about this sinse he failed to mention anything about the future during his last State of the Union Address. And now The Washington Post is getting curious about what's on the calendar, other than vaguely fighting the war on terrorism.

According to the article, Bush plans to introduce his agenda during the Republican convention in early September. That way, Bush can control the debate for last two months before Election Day.

That sounds like an interesting plan. But considering Bush's recent attempts to push new ideas, he's actually taking a big risk that his proposals will stumble and fall. Remember going back to the moon, and then going to Mars, all while making sure homosexuals can't get married? None of these proposals have caught on with the American public.

I'm thinking new ideas should involve, say, Syria or, even, Iran. I'm not saying we're ready to invade just yet. But Iraq was supposed to set an example to others. A little tough talk may be in order here.

If Bush doesn't plan to act aggressively during his second term, then why exactly should we vote for him? I think he's done great work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. But those gains aren't going to disappear with Kerry in charge. If Bush doesn't plan to stay aggressive during his second term, then we could vote for Kerry as a type of rebranding vote and put foreign nations at ease. All Kerry has to do is quit acting like the past four years were a mistake and talk about a new direction in the war on terrorism, now that we've already accomplished so much.

Unfortunately, Kerry is running against the past four years. He's arguing that Bush has made mistake after mistake, by botching up Iraq and the economy -- about both of which he's dead wrong.

That makes the upcoming election not a look toward the future, but a referendum about the past four years. I don't see how Kerry can win that.

So even if Bush doesn't come up with any grand master plan, I don't want to vote against what he's already done. Unfortunately both of our candidates are arguing about what we should have done instead of where we need to go from here.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Simple Math: Folks espousing Traditional Values have launched a campaign to persuade everybody that homosexuals are all pedophiles deep down inside. (Hat Tip: Sullivan)

To support this claim, they cite statistics which purport that 32 percent of child molesters are homosexual. Yep, nearly a full third of child molesters are not heterosexual. Which, of course, means that 68 percent of child molesters are heterosexual.

But that's not important, the group says, because homosexuals make up only 2 percent of the population (their estimation). Ergo, there's a higher rate of pedophilia among homosexuals than among heterosexuals. So, it's the rate of pedophilia among an arbitrary group that's the key. Using this new formula, we can solve a whole bunch of problems.

For example, nearly 100 percent of rapists are heterosexual men. There's also a higher rate of white supremacists among whites than any other race, (the notable exception being Clayton Bigsby). And you may not have known, but most axe murderers are not confined to a wheelchair.

I could go on, but I'm trying to calculate the rate of right-wing nuts who are just plain nuts.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Quick Draw: Virginia, the state in which I reside, has just loosened many of its gun regulations. Now, any adult there is allowed to carry a gun openly in the streets and into many establishments.

People have begun exercising this right, and it has understandably freaked some people out. The police are still trying to get used to the changes, and have mistakenly confiscated guns from some adults who were within the law.

This really isn't that new. Virginia has always allowed open carry, but local laws, usually in urban areas, would prohibit it. But as of July 1, no local laws can prevent open carry. Guns, however, can still be prohibited on private property, in places of worship, government buildings, schools, and other such exceptions.

I'm a gun owner and I have a concealed-carry permit. I rarely have my gun on me, however, mostly because whenever I go anywhere, I'm usually headed to Maryland or Washington, DC, both of which have very strict gun laws. I may put my gun in the car for long trips, driving through the middle of nowhere in Virginia.

But I have no desire to carry my pistol on my hip like the days of the Wild West. And I get the feeling that the people who choose to do so are making a statement more than exercising the right of self-defense.

However, I can't help but recognize how bass-ackwards the Virginia laws are, because now there are more restrictions for carrying a concealed handgun than for carrying one in the open.

For starters, you need to take a gun safety course to get a concealed-handgun permit. I'm all for safety and training courses, but they aren't required at all for anyone who wants to walk around in the open with a gun. Without a permit, you can't put a gun in your glove compartment, but you can have it lying openly in the passenger seat.

Also, concealed-permit holders are prohibited from bringing their handgun into any establishment that serves alcohol -- which would be just about any restaurant -- even if the permit holder is not drinking. However, I'm perfectly allowed to wear my gun on the outside of my clothes and walk into a bar or any other place to have a beer, while scaring the hell out of everyone else around me.

Perhaps the few people who choose to openly carry their guns will help educate people about the law, and also teach others not to be so skittish about firearms. Then maybe we can make some laws that actually make sense.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Thud: Not hardly close, but closer than it should have been.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

grr: A ton of work has kept me from writing my usual numerous, thoughtful, eloquent, informative blog posts (stop laughing). So, instead I'll contribute some mindless venting.

Why are newspapers jumping their online articles from one page to another? I'll be deeply engrossed in an article when I think I reach the end, but instead I find a link that tells me to click to "Page 2".

It started out with the Internet versions of The Washington Post and The New York Times. Now even The Onion is doing it. It's online. The paper has unlimited space to let the article scroll forever. There's no need to make the reader do any work or require them to suffer through continuous downloads of ads.

I try to boycott the process by refusing to click to another page, and writing a letter to the paper telling them that. If it's a must-read article, I click the "Printer Friendly" version.

And while I'm venting about pointless garbage, have you seen the article about the 23-year-old teacher who repeatedly had sex with one of her 14-year-old students? FoxNews has pictures of her from when she was an underwear model.

None of my teachers in junior high looked anything like her. Which, I guess, was a good thing.

Check Mate: The Democrats are playing along with the Republicans by letting them have their vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. While the U.S. population is still squeamish about same-sex marriage in general, there is not popular support for amending the Constitution to dictate the terms of marriage and civil unions.

Having Congress vote on the amendment will do two things: It will paint the Republicans as intolerant bigots who are ready to alter the U.S. Constitution if it serves them politically. And it will leave the Republican Party, and Bush in particular, with a well publicized defeat heading into an election.

The right wing believes this will motivate the base and get people riled up to support the conservative platform. But the Republicans will only look like losers on this issue, in more ways than one.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Emergency Powers: Some officials in the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have had preliminary discussions about postponing the national elections if a major terrorist attack were to occur. (You may recall that September 11, 2001, was the day of New York's primary election, which had to be delayed)

This seems to be prudent discussion of a worst-case scenario that will never actually come about. Which makes me wonder why CNN is giving this top play on its Web site (I won't go into Drudge's news judgement). Conspiracy theorists already have enough fodder. I don't want to hear Michael Moore using this as evidence that Bush is planning to use terrorism as an excuse to delay the elections, so he can hold onto power indefinitely.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Another Brick in the Wall: An international court has decided that Israel's wall protecting itself from the Palestinians is illegal and must be dismantled.

I guess the court is still mulling over whether the Palestinian suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians are legal. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

No Kidding: The Washington Post made a startling discovery a couple months ago -- Bush and Kerry often agree on the issues. In fact, most politicians do.

More broadly, many Republicans and Democrats in recent years have gradually coalesced, in broad terms, around a similar set of ideas: tax cuts instead of tax increases; global trade instead of protectionism; greater accountability in public school classrooms; internationalism instead of isolationism; and deficit reduction, at least as a spoken goal.
Of course, there are some contentious issues, such as abortion. But even that doesn't get brought up too often. For example, Clinton famously pledged that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," and Bush admitted that the country isn't ready to outlaw abortion.

So the parties nitpick over little things, like partial-birth abortion, and argue over shades of gray. For the most part, we don't disagree on our goals. We merely quibble over which route to take to best meet those goals. This is called consensus. This is called (here it comes) moderation.

That's not to say everybody agrees with the moderate approach. There are extremists on both sides. Unfortunately, it's the extremists making the most noise. But the tug-o-war so far keeps ending in a stalemate, keeping our elected representatives on the straight and narrow. There are just too many roadblocks in government for one brand of extremism to win out -- thank God for checks and balances.

Don't get me wrong, we still have some tough choices ahead of us. This November we have to pick which guy we'll get to blame for whatever goes wrong during the next four years.

But the accusations of lying/warmongering and appeasement can be put to rest. We're all playing for the same team after all.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Getting it First: Amid the John Edwards buzz is the embarrassing "scoop" by the New York Post. In an unsourced, unbylined story, the esteemed tabloid proclaimed that John Kerry picked Dick Gephardt as his running mate.

That's part of the trouble with trying to get big scoops. Howard Kurtz figures that MSNBC got the first actual scoop, tirelessly confirming with three sources overnight that Edwards was the pick. The network broke the news at 7:30 yesterday morning. Hooray for MSNBC!

I don't know about you, but I was asleep at 7:30 yesterday morning. It wasn't until my alarm clock went off that NPR told me that Edwards was the likely pick. So MSNBC's scoop was essentially worthless.

As a journalist, I'm under constant pressure to get the story first, both externally from my editors and internally from my pride. I love seeing other newspapers write stories about subjects I've already covered.

But as a reader, I couldn't care less.

I remember years ago when all the speculation was about whether Texas Gov. George W. Bush was going to run for president. I was covering Texas government at the time, so I got to hear the question of Bush's political ambitions pop up at every occasion. Even elementary school kids were asking him.

So reporters kept writing about it. People had inside sources indicating whether Bush was leaning one way or another. (My favorite story is about how Laura Bush publicly stated that she very much did NOT want her husband to run)

Eventually, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Bush had organized an exploratory committee, which was essentially the same as announcing his candidacy for president. So it seems that the Statesman got it first. But I really don't know because I wasn't reading every other newspaper in the country that was covering this. Maybe one of them had reported that development the day before.

But it didn't matter because within a couple days, everybody was reporting it. Those people in other states were not put in any disadvantage by finding out a day or two later.

What's worse is, the Statesman essentially scooped a press release. If every newspaper just waited, Bush would have made his announcement whether he was going to run or not. The endless speculation only drew up publicity for him.

Reporters spent obscene amounts of time cultivating sources and digging around to see if anybody knew what Bush would do. If journalists had used all that manpower and undercover sources for something important, we could have probably uncovered every bit of corruption lurking in the Texas government.

Instead, we closely follow and scoop routine announcements by politicians, who have us completely trained. It's a circus, and the media are the animals that are willing to perform any tricks for a scrap of meat.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Stinky French: France has been the target of a lot of hatred for not backing our foray into Iraq. The French veto does bother me a little, but I don't get too worked up over it. I know that it's just one disagreement, and we'll have plenty of reasons to work together on future endeavors.

No, I'm furious at the French for an entirely different reason.

It's Tour de France time again, and all eyes are on Texas-bred Lance Armstrong to see if he can win it all, once more. And that also means that many French people will be talking trash about the American bicyclist, writing lies about him in newspapers and magazines, and screaming obscenities at him during the race -- all accusing him of illegally using performance-enhancing drugs to win.

Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France five years in a row. Every year the accusations fly. And every year invasive drug tests show that he hasn't done anything wrong.

The only evidence that leads the French to believe Lance Armstrong has been doping is that he is a cancer survivor. Nobody, they say, could be able to beat cancer and then become a world-class athlete. No, hard work and determination have nothing to do with it.

That's all they have to go on. So essentially, they're condemning Lance Armstrong for having the gall to contract cancer, beat cancer, and then leave all excuses behind to become one of the best athletes who ever lived.

Lance Armstrong has a chance to win a record sixth Tour de France. Even if he doesn't, this man is still a living legend and an inspiration who should be recognized by all -- even the French.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Private Eyes: It's time for politicians to fight back against the media, and I'm happy to see that John Kerry is leading that charge.

The news media has already derailed Jack Ryan's Senate candidacy this year after the Chicago Tribune opened up his court records from his divorce. Apparently Mr. Ryan wanted to be kind of kinky with his wife, and she is now using that against him. For that reason, the man is considered unfit to run for public office.

Clarence Page took his own employer to task by criticizing the far-reaching effects of overzealous reporters and the destruction of Jack Ryan's campaign:

If that's all it takes to knock off an otherwise worthy candidate, we need no longer wonder why more bright, talented and qualified people in this great land of ours would rather have a root canal than run for public office.
Now some journalists are eyeing Kerry's divorce from 1988. They don't know if there's anything there, but they're willing to dig through a man's personal life and smear his reputation for supposed "news".

Reporters seem to believe that once you become an elected official or someone of public curiosity, you lose all right to privacy. And nothing gets better ratings than sex-sex-sex, so that's where reporters dig. Fortunately, Kerry is defending his own privacy against the vultures in the news business by demanding that his divorce records be left alone.

Unfortunately, this won't be the last time this happens. After the Republicans put this country through hell by trying to impeach President Clinton for his sexual indiscretions, you'd think that the public would have had enough. But the press keeps trying to feed the beast, making a mockery of politics.

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