Here's my open letter to Mike Littwin
Just come out and start every column with the statement that you dislike Bush and hope he loses. In a show of good faith, I'm posting this statement on my blog: "I dislike John Kerry and hope Bush wins." Now we, and all others who read this, will know where we both stand.
In this morning's column
, you make a lot of statements that are based partly in fact, but you fail to show both sides. I understand that your job is to have an opinion. My job, and the job of every other blogger out there, is to hold you accountable for these opinions and show the other side. So here I go:
"I condemn the ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong. I hope that the president will also condemn it." - Sen. John McCain, on ABC-TV
Guess what? And you don't need to be on the Kerry train to get this one right.
The president hasn't condemned the ad - which, along with a new book, accuses John Kerry of having lied in Vietnam in order to win his medals.
Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, did say he would never question Kerry's service in Vietnam. And then he got to the real culprit, which he said he "deplored" - yes, those so-called "527" commercials, paid for by a third party with soft money. You can see where he'd get angry, and not just because Democrats use them.
But, of course, George W. Bush can't get to everything. There are other issues.
The other side: John Kerry has not condemned Howard Dean for his statement that raising the terror threat level was politically motivated. In a NYT article last week, Dean stated:
"His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,' and then out comes Tom Ridge," Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor, added, referring to the homeland security secretary. "It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it."
The response from the campaigns was:
White House officials denied that suggestion, and other Democrats and Mr. Kerry's advisers would not embrace it. "I certainly hope not," Steve Elmendorf, Mr. Kerry's deputy campaign manager, said. "You have to take them at their word."
That is far from the type of condemnation that you, Mr. Littwin, would like from President Bush.
Then you turn to the economy:
There's the corner-turning economy. The news today - oh boy: Job growth has all but stopped, with just 32,000 positions added in July, which, according to my math, is slightly lower than the 250,000 being predicted. Meanwhile, job numbers from June, already low, were revised downward. You don't need a graph to see where this is headed.
It looks as if Bush will actually be the first president since Herbert Hoover - a name you won't hear at the Republican convention - to have fewer Americans employed at the end of a term than at the beginning. And for those of you wondering how the old 401(k) is doing, here's your retirement watch: The market hit a low for the year Friday.
Yes, the number of new jobs is lower than expected and the numbers have been revised downward from previous months, but you never go into the intracies of job numbers, with which I doubt you are even familiar. But don't despair, you can get a complete explanation
over at Bill Hobbes' blog where the numbers are dissected and, what do you know, they look better than what you are reporting:
First, the 32,000 figure has a statistical quirk in it: July is one of two months, the other being January, that the government statisticians simply assume that a certain percentages of businesses fail, and they reduce the jobs-growth estimate by tens of thousands of jobs to account for it. According to the New York Post's John Crudele, a year ago that lead to the job-growth number being slashed by 83,000 jobs in July.
Second, the 32,000 figure reflects only "nonfarm payroll jobs," which means, roughly, jobs created by employers. This data come from the government's monthly "Payroll Survey," which generally misses small businesses, especially newer small businesses, and always misses self-employed people.
The real number you should focus on is this one: Total employment in America rose by 629,000 to 139.66 million people in July, based on the government's Household Survey, which is also the data on which the official unemployment rate is based. Unemployment dropped a tenth of a percent in July.
As far as the market low for the year, so what, the market has a low and a high every year, and anyone saving for retirement should be looking at 10-20 year trends as opposed to 1 year timeframes.
Then you move on to the terror alert to which I will simply pose a hypothetical situation: If the President had NOT said anything about the new information and then either the info was leaked to the press or an attack actually happened, you would have criticized the President for not telling us. It's the old damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I guess it's easy to sling coulda, shoulda, wouldas when you are a columnist and not the leader of the free world. Fortunately, Bush is making these decisions and not columnists.
Then you proceed to talk about the ad and how there is a dispute about it and other heresay. I looked in the archives of your columns and couldn't find one that condemned the MoveOn.org add that compared Bush to Hitler (it may be in a column, but I couldn't find it). I know the group said they took it down and all, but it was still on the website six months
after they said they took it down. Where was your condemnation then?
Finally, we get to Kerry's Vietnam history:
As you move on to the buzz around the new book, "Unfit For Command," you correctly state that there was a retraction and then a retraction of the retraction. However,
we can only take the word of those who were there and there are people on both sides who give conflicting accounts. However, Kerry himself has been shown to be mistaken in the recounting of his own experiences. These mistakes, which would seem to indicate Kerry lied as a US Senator, are completely chronicled
over at Hugh Hewitt's blog.
Look, I don't think a president needs to have gone to war. But since Vietnam, Republicans have branded anyone who opposes a war as unpatriotic. Kerry was nominated, in large part, because he could make the counterargument.
I wish he'd make it less. My dad, a World War II vet, always told me real heroes don't talk about their heroism.
My first comment on this is that if President doesn't need to go to war, then why has everyone been making such a big deal about Bush's National Guard Service. I believe that the job Bush did during Vietnam was dangerous and was important to the prosecution of that war. I have never flown in a fighter plane, and I doubt my wife would ever let me for the simple reason that it is dangerous and even in training, pilots die.
If, according to your dad, real heroes don't talk about their heroism, then John Kerry can't be considered a hero.