EJ Dionne complains about Bush’s soft treatment by the press. That’s right. He runs through a list of “distortions” and lies that Bush supposedly gets away with. The weird thing: None of them seem that bad or outrageous. Here’s his biggest complaint:
At the top of my personal hit parade of Bush Distortions is a statement the president has made over and over, notably during his speech at the Republican National Convention. “If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood,” Bush said to loud cheers, “I’m afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values.”
Bush has repeated variations of that sentiment so often that I bet you didn’t know that Kerry never said that the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood.
What Kerry actually said, after a fundraiser in which a group of stars performed on his behalf (and, yes, during which some of them said distasteful things about Bush), was this: “Every performer tonight, in their own way, either verbally or through their music, through their lyrics, have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country.”
And by the way, Kerry didn’t even make those comments in Hollywood. The fundraiser was held in New York.
Maybe it’s me, but who cares? That was a who’s who of Hollywood types — from whom Kerry raises vast sums of money. The real distortion was that Kerry ever said he was the candidate of conservative values in the first place. His other examples don’t stun me either. I’m not saying there isn’t a kernel of truth to EJ’s complaint, but he surely knows that none of these things are even remotely outside the norm of presidential elections.
Besides, I don’t recall any rage from him about the press not sufficiently clarifying the accusation that the Contract with America would destroy All Human Life. Okay that is a distortion too. But some did call it genocide or compare it to the Holocaust. And Clinton et al did say Newt wanted to eradicated Medicare etc etc. And during this campaign how many distortions have flowed forth about Bush “lying,” hatching this scheme in Texas etc etc.