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August 26, 2004
New Evidence Of Bush's Collusion With ... The Kerry Campaign?

In its zeal to indict the Swiftvets last weekend, the New York Times developed a ludicrous chart depicting the Six Degrees of Separation between all of the GOP and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. As I noted at the time, had the Times tried doing that with the Democrats, MoveOn, and America Coming Together, the bill for the ink might have equalled the budget deficit of California. Now we find out that even the Gray Lady's tunnel-vision focus on the GOP came up short, as Rich Lowry at NRO found a Bush administration connection to another political group -- the Kerry campaign itself:

Max Cleland, who made a staged appearance at the Bush ranch Wednesday, was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank in 2003. The same Max Cleland who is spending nearly all of his time attacking President Bush is, amazingly enough, a Bush political appointee. According to a bank spokesman, Cleland makes $136,000 a year off this very cushy job.

A couple of questions come to mind here: If Cleland had any decency, wouldn't he resign? Why would he accept a political appointment from a man he so loathes and thinks represents the very worst in American politics? Max Cleland's extremely partisan activities are being subsidized by the American taxpayer.

But, wait, it gets more sinister. There is now a definitive link between President Bush and the attacks against him. This link is as direct as most of the links that have been highlighted between Bush and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: Bush gave a $136,000 job to one of his attackers and a key member of Kerry's "band of brothers." By the logic of most of the press corps, this means George W. Bush must be responsible for the activities of Kerry campaign's band of brothers (see this chart). Who knows what deep game is being played here, but somebody should call the New York Times.

Someone should remind Cleland of his job when he's out mugging for the cameras and playing nursemaid and delivery boy to a presidential candidate that hides behind his skirts. Working as a political appointee to Bush while tossing personal attacks at him not only is unseemly, it's positively classless. The proper way for Cleland to actively campaign against Bush would have been to resign from his position before proclaiming his boss and benefactor as a shirker. It looks like disloyalty and worse when Cleland doesn't have the integrity to leave the service of a man who he belittles so publicly.

So how about it, Senator? Will you put your money where your mouth is, and resign from your Presidential appointment? Or are you just another in a line of hypcrites trying hard to prop up the empty suit your party nominated?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 26, 2004 6:21 AM

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