There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged CBS documents

Money Where His Mouth Is:

This fellow is serious about that forgery thing. He's not only posted the longest and most comprehensive attack on the docs I've seen yet, but he's also posted a prominent link to his resume, in case you doubt his credentials to make the charges. "No fan of Bush," he says, but an enemy of fraud.

Drudge, on the other hand, points to a rumor of a new DNC campaign that will "attack Bush's guard service." "George Bush has a clear pattern of lying about his military service," it says. Drudge notes dryly that this means Clinton's advice to stay away from Vietnam is being ignored by the Kerry campaign.

Now, Bush has done all that really can be asked of a political opponent to save Kerry's bacon on this issue. He has repeatedly said that Kerry should be proud of his (Kerry's) service, and he's called for a stop to the Swifty ads and to 527 ads generally. He's had to put up with them paying him back by saying that "George Bush betrayed his country" by not serving in Vietnam, and now that he has "a clear pattern of lying about his military service."

Do they really think this is going to help? You can't win against a well-known incumbent by trying to redefine him in the eyes of voters. This kind of negative attack can work against a John Kerry, an empty suit lacking a national reputation (and the guts to talk to the media -- an incumbent can "do his job" to show his worth in the office, but a challenger has to talk and take questions). Negative ads can define who he is in the minds of the voters: in Kerry's case, a waffling, spineless, weak-on-everything playboy, who 'by the way served in Vietnam,' where he was known by hundreds of fellow veterans who now hate his guts.

But the voters know perfectly well who Bush is. Effective negative ads against a well-known incumbent have to attack the things people already believe about him. And to spend money on this kind of ad campaign right on the heels of Rathergate, when the minds of voters nationwide are fixed on how this very issue was used by people trying to slander the President with blatant forgeries?

Astonishing. Kerry almost certainly would have gotten a pass from the American people on any charge that he was connected to the forgeries. Rumors in the American Spectator don't generally rise to the public's notice, and people would assume such charges were partisan politics, like the charges that Bush was driving the Swifties in private while scorning them in public.

But if Kerry's camp insists on pushing the Guard angle, they're going to associate themselves with the forgery story in peoples' minds. Is this really the "issue" they want to be talking about? With an official US Navy investigation ongoing into his record, does Kerry really want "a pattern of lying about his military service" to be the thing people are discussing?

Well, it's just a rumor from Drudge, for now. Maybe he's brighter than that.

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