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Kerry On

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Except for the blind fury of our Legislature’s “message bills,” Utah politics is so overwhelmingly sleepy we’d lapse into a coma if it weren’t for the national scene. Consider, also, the blind fury of the Republican National Convention’s steady stream of e-mail attacks on Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. John Kerry. We assume that these blistering missives are reserved for media. At any rate, the hypocritical method with which politicians pick and choose attacks on one another is too rich to keep secret. Here’s but a sample of snipes cooked up by RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and pals. What’s the matter? Two national polls showing your man behind got you scared?

& ull; Kerry on Terror: An e-mail titled, “Senator Kerry’s Specific Record—Again!” points out that Kerry offered amendments to cut intelligence and military funds “the year before the U.S.S. Cole was attacked” and “the year before the embassies in East Africa were attacked” by al Qaeda operatives. Hmm. In 1998, the year of the attack on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Republicans were far more vigorous about pursuing President Clinton’s sexual indiscretions than they were in hunting down the criminals responsible for 257 bombing deaths in Africa. And does anyone remember presidential candidate George W. Bush demanding more terrorist intel after the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole?

& ull; It Cuts All Ways, Mostly Toward Bush: Another RNC Research e-mail, “Sen. John Kerry’s Hypocrisy, Vol. 1, Issue 7” reveals that the League of Conservation Voters “received $57,300 Directly From Heinz Family Foundation, Headed by Teresa Heinz.” Now that’s a bombshell, isn’t it? You’d think the RNC would take Kerry to greater task over the fact that his wife, heiress to the Heinz fortune, hyphenated her name after marriage, or that he signed a pre-nup sealing him away from her millions. The RNC also takes pleasure in telling us that “Disgraced Ex-Senator Bob Torricelli (D-NJ)” also gave Kerry campaign money. But we get the pleasure of pointing out that 2000 presidential candidate Bush gladly took $250,000 from Enron, the energy “company” that sank thousands of jobs and even more retirement plans. With former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling in the fire over fraud and insider-trading charges, how much longer before Kenneth Lay takes a fall? Halliburton could be invoked as well, but why bore you?

While we’re on the topic of associates, bets are on that Bush’s 2004 campaign won’t exactly emphasize then U.S. Special Middle East Envoy Donald Rumsfeld’s 1983 and 1984 meetings with Saddam Hussein. Even as the Iraqi dictator was arresting and executing thousands of Shias and Kurds and dropping chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers, the tone of Rumsfeld’s conversations with Saddam remained calm and cordial. The grand old days of a deep, abiding friendship with Iraq before Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense don’t seem so brutal when cast aside all the WMD we didn’t find.

& ull; Doused: The RNC is clearly an amateur at this game. Its staff couldn’t even unearth this story from Kerry’s own turf. In 1997, The Associated Press reported that Kerry’s wife Teresa persuaded the municipal powers to move a pesky fire hydrant from the middle of her Beacon Hill Boston home to the corner. How much do you think that cost the family of a presidential candidate who now talks lovingly of “working people”? November’s a ways away, RNC. Get cracking.

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