Friday, September 23, 2005

Enquiring Minds Want to Know - Is Bush Really Drinking Again?

I'm not exactly a big supporter of the National Enquirer or of any such Drudge-esque tabloid journalism, but the folks who exposed Rush Limbaugh's drug problem have recently aimed an accusation of substance abuse at a Republican almost as powerful and influential as Limbaugh: President Bush. The delicious title of the article is "Bush's Booze Crisis." That ought to knock a few points off Bush's approval rating, as the Enquirer speaks directly to the profoundly uninformed Americans who constitute Bush's faithful base of support.

I am nearly as inclined to believe an anonymously sourced story from the National Enquirer as I am one from the Washington Post or New York Times; in other words, I don't really believe it. I do think that the organization who busted Rush may be onto something, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bush was sneaking the occasional drink, but this story certainly doesn't prove anything yet.

I post the scurrilous article here because it brings up an interesting point about how politically ineffective the Dems have been since 2000. Al Gore (nearly) lost the 2000 election to an ALCOHOLIC! An alcoholic and a former cocaine user! You never recover from Alcoholism, you merely try to stay dry one day at a time. But it is a permanent disease, one that we certainly wouldn't want the leader of our country to have. A terrorist wouldn't have to slip poison into Bush's wine to ruin him, he'd just have to slip him a glass of wine!

"That's unfair!" you gasp. Maybe so; Bush was unqualified to be President for many other, better reasons, and he appears to have recovered from his 20 straight years of heavy drinking (though if he relapsed immediately after being elected, that would certainly explain a lot about his ineffectiveness as President).

But imagine if Al Gore had been the recovering alcoholic. The Republicans would have destroyed him by July 2000. Their take-down campaign would have made the Swift Boat ads look like a PBS documentary. As it was, all Gore would have had to do was to dispatch an underling to propagate the meme in the media and it would have taken off like a rocket. Gore could have subtly commented on it while disavowing it (He also should have repeatedly stated: "I have never used cocaine in my life"). A huge doubt would have been sown. It was a no-brainer, but Gore decided to be the bigger man and not resort to such tawdry electoral tactics. As a result, one of the worst presidencies in US History was foisted upon a vulnerable America. Thanks Al, thanks Bob Shrum.

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