Hillary: I Want My VRWC

What’s worse in politics than being attacked? Being ignored — and Hillary Clinton wants it to stop. She wants back into the national discourse after mostly being overlooked since the debacle of Super Tuesday:

There was a time not long ago when Hillary Clinton dominated the discourse in both parties’ presidential contests.
Now, she’s struggling to get her message out and remain part of the campaign conversation as the media and her remaining rivals, Barack Obama and John McCain, stampede toward a general election matchup that seems more and more likely. ….
Today, though, after a post-Super Tuesday string of wins by Obama, Clinton hardly draws notice from the Republican party. The daily barrage of press releases from the Republican National Committee almost exclusively targets Obama. McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, makes almost no reference to Clinton in his campaign appearances, instead zeroing in on Obama’s record.

Oddly, I had thought to write about this exact phenomenon at some point today. Over the last two weeks, hardly any releases about Hillary Clinton have found their way into my e-mail. The RNC’s missives have focused on Obama exclusively, no mean feat considering his thin track record. Even blog readers have stopped sending Hillary material, a sure sign that she represents no real threat to either Obama or John McCain.
That makes Hillary pine for the days of her “vast right-wing conspiracy” fantasy. As Mike Huckabee once said, you know you’re over the target when you’re taking flak. When the flak aims at someone else entirely, you know you’re over. Hillary needs some media oxygen to keep her campaign alive, especially in Texas and Ohio, but Obama has kept the spotlight on himself.
The example given by the Politico amply demonstrates this. Hillary thought she could capture some attention by announcing her February fundraising number — a very impressive $35 million. It briefly created some buzz about a comeback, but Obama’s campaign responded within hours that he had raised close to twice that much. Not only did that take the spotlight away from Hillary, but it reinforced the perception that she keeps falling further behind.
Hillary once complained about media-fueled controversies that surrounded her and Bill. Now she’d put up with a scandal or two if it managed to focus the media and the opposition in both parties back on her campaign. She has discovered that obscurity is worse.

Tinfoil Hats On Parade

Bobby Kennedy Jr has a turgid expose at Rolling Stone which purports to blow the lid off the 2004 presidential election by claiming that 350,000 Ohio voters were prevented from reaching the polling stations. This, unsurprisingly, has excited the entire port side of the blogosphere. However, when one begins to read through the argument, supported by a slew of citations but no evidence at all, it sounds like a very tired rehash of all the conspiracy theories we heard between November 2004 and January 2005, when the Electoral College made the results final.
Kennedy’s lead argument gives readers enough excuse to stop on the first page. He argues that exit polls are “exquisitely accurate”, and therefore since the pollsters are infallible, their early returns must have been the truth:

Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) ”Exit polls are almost never wrong,” Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ”so reliable,” he added, ”that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.”(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine — paid for by the Bush administration — exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

News flash: mathematics is an exact science. Polling isn’t, and for at least one basic reason — you can’t force people to participate. The only people answering exit polls are those inclined to share their opinions. It also relies on the skill, integrity, and execution of the actual polltakers, many of whom are hired with little training. Moreover, reporting results in the middle of the sample almost always guarantees bad conclusions.
And interestingly enough, that’s exactly what two research firms looking into the exit poll debacle found:

Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International found that the Democratic challenger’s supporters were more likely than President Bush’s supporters to participate in exit polls interviews. They also found that more errors occurred in exit polls conducted by younger interviewers, and about half of the interviewers were 34 or under. …
They noted that in a number of precincts, interviewers were kept 50 feet or more away from polling places, potentially skewing results toward people motivated to go out of their way to participate in exit polls. They also found suggestions that interviewers may not have carefully followed rules for selecting voters at random, which may have skewed results.

Kennedy never addresses the ridiculous notion that a sample poll will have exquisite accuracy, while the real vote somehow is unreliable. As we often say, the only poll that really matters is taken behind the curtain and doesn’t rely on a pollster to conduct it. And his argument about the US government endorsing exit polling’s exquisite reliability is also fallacious. The government uses exit polling to look for massive vote fraud on a scale far outside the margin of error for exit polling, not to determine the accuracy of results to the tenth of a point. Only when exit polls show a remarkably different result than the vote counts do they come into play at all. The Ukrainian fraud did not involve a couple of percentage points, but rather a ten-point swing — and other obvious polling irregularities had already been documented, such as armed raids on polling centers.
Kennedy flat-out lies at least once, in this assertion:

In its official postmortem report issued two months after the election, Edison/Mitofsky was unable to identify any flaw in its methodology — so the pollsters, in essence, invented one for the electorate. According to Mitofsky, Bush partisans were simply disinclined to talk to exit pollsters on November 2nd(34) — displaying a heretofore unknown and undocumented aversion that skewed the polls in Kerry’s favor by a margin of 6.5 percent nationwide.(35)

The Edison/Mitofsky report showed several flaws in methodology, as noted above. They identified several factors that contributed to the errors in reporting the results, including reporting interim results on inadequate sample sizes.
Why would Kennedy put on his tinfoil hat in this manner? We find out in his second unsupported pillar of the stolen-election conspiracy theory — Ken Blackwell, the conservative Republican running for governor:

But in the battle for Ohio, Republicans had a distinct advantage: The man in charge of the counting was Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of President Bush’s re-election committee.(43) As Ohio’s secretary of state, Blackwell had broad powers to interpret and implement state and federal election laws — setting standards for everything from the processing of voter registration to the conduct of official recounts.(44) And as Bush’s re-election chair in Ohio, he had a powerful motivation to rig the rules for his candidate. Blackwell, in fact, served as the ”principal electoral system adviser” for Bush during the 2000 recount in Florida,(45) where he witnessed firsthand the success of his counterpart Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state who co-chaired Bush’s campaign there.(46)
Blackwell — now the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio(47) — is well-known in the state as a fierce partisan eager to rise in the GOP. An outspoken leader of Ohio’s right-wing fundamentalists, he opposes abortion even in cases of rape(48) and was the chief cheerleader for the anti-gay-marriage amendment that Republicans employed to spark turnout in rural counties(49). He has openly denounced Kerry as ”an unapologetic liberal Democrat,”(50) and during the 2004 election he used his official powers to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens in Democratic strongholds. In a ruling issued two weeks before the election, a federal judge rebuked Blackwell for seeking to ”accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”(51)

Kennedy’s two witnesses for the persecution on this pillar: Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. And Kennedy excoriates Blackwell as a “fierce partisan”? The Confederate Yankee isn’t fooled; he calls this piece an attempt “to smear a black fiscal and socially conservative candidate that has charisma, integrity, and cross-cultural appeal–in short, a real chance of winning.”
I note that Kennedy never once mentions Wisconsin, where real election-day dirty tricks and voter fraud occurred and actually resulted in prosecution. Perhaps that’s because voter fraud that benefits Democrats fails to interest Kennedy. I look forward to his expose on the 1960 election that made his uncle President.

Report Says Dems Intimidated Voters Far More Than GOP In 2004 (Updates!!)

UPDATE II: I still haven’t seen much about where ACVR gets its funding. I have seen plenty about how Mark F. “Thor” Hearne worked on the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004. But the other signatory to the report is Brian A. Lunde, who by this description hardly appears to be a right-wing idealogue:

Please be sure to read the update at the end.
Be sure to read UPDATE II as well. The trolls may have overstated the issues with ACVR as a front.
I missed this when it first came out in yesterday’s Arizona Central Bizwire, but an independent report from the new American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund identifies far more incidents of voter intimidation and fraud on behalf of Democrats and their candidates than it did on behalf of their opponents. Their report, available here on their website, makes it clear that Democrat complaints about Republican conspiracies consist of little more than a classic case of projection:

While Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of voter intimidation and suppression, neither party has a clean record on the issue. Instead, the evidence shows that Democrats waged aggressive intimidation and suppression campaigns against Republican voters and volunteers in 2004. Republicans have not been exempt from similar criticism in this area, as alleged voter intimidation and suppression activity by GOP operatives led the Republican National Committee to sign a consent decree repudiating such tactics in 1982. However, a careful review of the facts shows that in 2004, paid Democrat operatives were far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression efforts than their Republican counterparts. Examples include:
* Paid Democrat operatives charged with slashing tires of 25 Republican get-out-the-vote vans in Milwaukee on the morning of Election Day.
* Misleading telephone calls made by Democrat operatives targeting Republican voters in Ohio with the wrong date for the election and faulty polling place information.
* Intimidating and deceiving mailings and telephone calls paid for by the DNC threatening Republican volunteers in Florida with legal action.
* Union-coordinated intimidation and violence campaign targeting Republican campaign offices and volunteers resulting in a broken arm for a GOP volunteer in Florida.

Most of these incidents have received plenty of attention in the blogosphere, but have received little systematic analysis in the Exempt Media. The complaints of the Democrats have received plenty of media play, and they have formed the basis of some embarrassing grandstanding by leading Democratic politicians, notably Barbara Boxer’s efforts to decertify Ohio’s electors in January which held up the certification of Bush’s victory for two hours. However, the ACVR report shows almost all of their claims to have no merit whatsoever.
Be sure to read through all the details of the report. It takes a comprehensive view of all the so-called “irregularities” of the 2004 election and makes minced meat of Democratic claims of victimhood. It will not change any minds among the True Believers, but the rational moderates will have this much more information with which to judge the vanishing credibility of Democratic leadership.
UPDATE: Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice says that the ACVL has some controversial and potentially partisan financing. He’s checking into it now. It’s worth maintaining some skepticism on this report until more is known about the organization, which came into existence this past February and describes itself as a non-partisan effort to ensure clean elections. I’d consider Joe to be a pretty solid resource on this type of issue. I don’t think all the mea culpas he issued on his post were warranted — after all, we could get most of the information in this report from media accounts — but he does have a point about ensuring that the group isn’t acting as a front.
UPDATE II: I still haven’t seen much about where ACVR gets its funding. I have seen plenty about how Mark F. “Thor” Hearne worked on the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004. But the other signatory to the report is Brian A. Lunde, who by this description hardly appears to be a right-wing idealogue:

Brian A. Lunde (1976) served as national field director for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, as executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party and as executive director for the Democratic National Committee before becoming a partner in Lunde & Burger, a political consulting and government relations firm in McLean, Va.

This description also includes Lunde’s former DNC board membership as his background. Also here. Here, too. Lunde shows up attached to Helping Americans Vote on this site. His only campaign contribution in the past four years went to Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR). And for those wondering if Lunde went from Ted Kennedy to Pat Buchanan, here’s a tidbit from this past May:

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury reportedly has subpoenaed the records of two other lobbyists — Brian Lunde and George Burger — hired for $50,000 by Scanlon to win Democratic support for the amendment. Proponents of the amendment had wanted it attached to an election-revision bill that Dodd had sponsored in the Senate.
The two Democrats, Brian Lunde and George Burger, in turn are said to have paid $10,000 to a third lobbyist linked to Dodd, Lottie Shackelford, to secure the senator’s support for the single-sentence rider that would have unshuttered the casino closed by Texas authorities.

It appears that the report, at least, has some bipartisan credentials, even if the Democrat has some lobbying baggage. (More on Lunde can be found on this Google search.) It doesn’t mean that it’s completely unbiased, but it doesn’t appear to be the fraud that some commenters claim it to be, either. (h/t: John R.)
UPDATE III: Joe Gandelman, ever the gentleman, updated his post to note my findings on Brian Lunde. Joe still maintains that he regrets getting involved in the story and thinks the Arizona Republic did a poor job in its coverage by not mentioning the controversy surrounding the group’s status. I agree with that, too; the Republic pulled the story from its website rather than address the issues. My feeling is that the partnership between a Democratic activist and a GOP activist makes this report bipartisan — but doesn’t guarantee anything else other than that. It does negate the allegations of fraud (at least relating to the bipartisanship of this report) made in the comments of his blog and mine.
I encourage people to read the report and then check the sources, and make up their own minds on the report’s credibility.
LAST UPDATE: It looks like The Commissar and Pat from Brainster did a better search at Open Secrets (I searched on Occupation) and found an additional couple of donations to George BUsh for 2004, around $4,000 between him and his wife. It looks like Lunde did a Zell in 2004. Again, read the report and check the sources for yourselves. (Thanks to the Commissar and Pat for dropping me an e-mail on the subject.)

The Latest Ohio Post-Mortem — No GOP Fraud Or Suppression

The Democrats’ long-awaited study on the presidential election in Ohio produced plenty of complaints of long lines and malfunctioning machines, but did not come close to proving any fraud or suppression by Republicans, despite claims to the contrary by DNC chair Howard Dean:

A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found that more than one in four Ohio voters experienced problems at the polls last fall, , but the study did not find evidence of widespread election fraud that might have contributed to President Bush’s narrow victory there.
The detailed report, released Wednesday, said that disproportionately high numbers of blacks and young people had complained about long lines, intimidation and malfunctioning machines. But Democratic officials said they could not conclude that Mr. Bush’s Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, would have won in Ohio even if voting had gone smoothly. …
But Dr. Dean said the volume of problems reported by blacks and young people suggested that Republicans had tried to suppress the vote in heavily Democratic districts.(NYT)

What the New York Times failed to include in its article is that when Dean made that accusation, the report’s author immediately released a statement saying that the study did not support that conclusion and that he would disassociate himself from any such analysis:

“Where the partisan bias came from, where it went, we really have no basis for making any assertion about that and I don’t believe the report makes any statements about that,” said Cornell University professor of government Walter Mebane Jr.

Dean was forced to backtrack, saying that it at least had the appearance of unfairness for African-Americans in Ohio. Dean blamed the problems for black voters on Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, an African-American himself.
The Washington Post curiously also omits the backtrack of Dean and the protest of the study’s author. They quote Mebane extensively, however, as stating that the issues could not have changed the outcome in Ohio and that no “large-scale misallocation of vote” occurred to anyone’s benefit from the problems encountered. Dan Balz also allows Blackwell’s response into its report of the issue:

Blackwell’s office in Ohio disputed the claim of voter suppression and said the report contained a number of errors. “The facts do not support their conclusions,” said Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.
LoParo said census data showed that African American turnout reached record levels last year, increasing by 84,000 from 2000.
He said that the number of provisional ballots issued in 2004 was proportionally about the same as in 2000 and cited an Electionline.org analysis that found Ohio had counted a higher percentage of provisional ballots (78 percent) than either Pennsylvania (49 percent) or Florida (36 percent).

The Washington Times finds its own nuggets of information that the Paper of Record and the Post deem unimportant to its readership. An earlier independent audit of Ohio’s vote conducted by election attorneys for the state legislature did find some evidence of fraud. Not surprisingly, given the source, the DNC’s audit appears to have missed this:

In a stinging reply to the report, Mr. Mehlman agreed that there were numerous election abuses that took place in Ohio last year, but said they were perpetrated by Democrats or their political allies. In one instance, he said, “Democrat allies attempted to disenfranchise Ohio voters by submitting registration cards for Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Michael Jordan.”
In March, a group of Ohio election law attorneys conducted a review of the state’s election for the House Committee on Administration. It found, among other things, that “thousands of false and fraudulent voter-registration cards had been discovered and became the subject of numerous investigations by boards of elections, actions by local law enforcement and many media reports.”
“Overwhelmingly,” this report said, “these problems were reportedly traced primarily” to four Democratic political allies who supported Mr. Kerry: ACORN, America Coming Together, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP National Voter Fund.

So, yes, Virginia, there was voter fraud in Ohio. What the Exempt Media wants to keep from us is that it occurred on behalf of the Democrats. The race, unlike in Wisconsin and Washington, wasn’t close enough for it to make a difference. For that, Ohioans can be grateful.

The Form 180s

Power Line has the SF-180s signed by John Kerry releasing his military records posted at their site. Each one authorizes the release of Kerry’s complete military record to only one entity each — the AP (Glen Johnson), the LA Times (Steve Braun), and the Boston Globe (Michael Kranish). A Power Line reader got copies of the 180s through a Freedom of Information Act request, which got him the signed forms but not the records themselves.
It would appear from these forms that the three news outlets have access to the complete records, if they got them straight from the Navy, as the release form authorizes them to do, one time only. Interestingly, none of the three has released Kerry’s records in PDF or any other format — only written articles reviewing the data that they have found. It would appear that the Globe, Times, and AP have access to the answers for questions that have been left unanswered from Kerry’s own dossier of published material, such as his original discharge and the circumstances, the exact dates of his command assignments (re the January 29th action for PCF-94 and whether Tedd Peck commanded the boat or Kerry), and other data related to various questions raised by the Swift Vets.
Their reluctance to supply those records in their unexpurgated form suggests that Kerry reached an agreement with the three organizations regarding how much information could be released and in what form. If so, the three should disclose this agreement, or if not, they should have scanned the material and made it available to the public. Playing cat and mouse with the material, especially more than a year after George Bush released his to all media sources requesting the data, indicates that Kerry still cannot risk total exposure.

Lipscomb: Kerry Did Not Release All Records

Thomas Lipscomb weighs in on the supposed release of the entire John Kerry military file to the Boston Globe in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. Lipscomb reminds his readers that the SF-180 is not a magic bullet, and that the scope of release depends on how the form was filled out:

“There is nothing magic about signing a SF 180,” said former Naval Judge Advocate General Mark Sullivan. “It is sort of like your checkbook. You can fill out a check for one dollar or a million. It is the same check form.”
“And the Globe story says Kerry sent it to the Navy Personnel Command, which is only a limited storage location. So it is not surprising that the Globe then notes that what they received was largely ‘duplication’ of records previously released. The Navy Personnel Command primarily stores a subset of service records rather than a person’s full military records. There is no doubt there are a lot of after-action records missing from what Kerry has released,” said Sullivan.
Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has already found a discrepancy confirmed by the Department of the Navy of “at least a hundred pages” missing from those already disclosed by Kerry.
“If you take a look at my SF 180,” O’Neill said, “you will see I have authorized the total release of all my records to anyone requesting to see them. But without seeing how Kerry’s SF 180 was filled out, everyone is only guessing about what was released.”

As I wrote after the Globe story broke a couple of days ago, Michael Kranish has limited credibility as an impartial journalist in his coverage of Kerry, and the fact that the Globe got the file but won’t release the contents in PDF format for everyone to see sounds somewhat suspicious. Many questions remain about Kerry’s service, as I also pointed out. Kranish remains silent on several points of controversy that the secrecy of the files helped stoke. Namely, Kranish doesn’t mention anything about Kerry’s discharge, and why it took him until 1978 to get it, while he quit serving in 1972. He doesn’t mention any assignment or attachment to an intelligence unit that would corroborate his later explanations of Christmas In Cambodia or gun-running to the Khmer Rouge. Kranish also doesn’t reveal anything about the timeline of events or command assignments that would answer whether he tried to steal part of Tedd Peck’s service record in order to provide cover for David Alston to lie about their time together during the political campaign.
When we see the documentation that answers these questions, then we might be convinced that we’ve seen the entire record. Until then, as Lipscomb notes, we haven’t seen anything different than the peek-a-boo that Kerry tried during the presidential campaign.

Did Kerry Turn Over Full File To The Boston Globe?

The Boston Globe claims this morning that John Kerry has finally made his entire service record publicly available, at least to them. Michael Kranish, who wrote unquestioning articles about Kerry’s service in Viet Name before and during the presidential campaign, proclaims that the release vindicates Kerry — but even Kranish can’t add up why Kerry kept the file secret:

Senator John F. Kerry, ending at least two years of refusal, has waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records.
The records, which the Navy Personnel Command provided to the Globe, are mostly a duplication of what Kerry released during his 2004 campaign for president, including numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry’s Vietnam service.
The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry’s military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.
But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.
On May 20, Kerry signed a document called Standard Form 180, authorizing the Navy to send an ”undeleted” copy of his ”complete military service record and medical record” to the Globe. Asked why he delayed signing the form for so long, Kerry said in a written response: ”The call for me to sign a 180 form came from the same partisan operatives who were lying about my record on a daily basis on the Web and in the right-wing media. Even though the media was discrediting them, they continued to lie. I felt strongly that we shouldn’t kowtow to them and their attempts to drag their lies out.”

Kranish then goes on to describe several commendations and memos of praise. Interestingly, though, Kranish remains silent on several points of controversy that the secrecy of the files helped stoke. Namely, Kranish doesn’t mention anything about Kerry’s discharge, and why it took him until 1978 to get it, while he quit serving in 1972. He doesn’t mention any assignment or attachment to an intelligence unit that would corroborate his later explanations of Christmas In Cambodia or gun-running to the Khmer Rouge. Kranish also doesn’t reveal anything about the timeline of events or command assignments that would answer whether he tried to steal part of Tedd Peck’s service record in order to provide cover for David Alston to lie about their time together during the political campaign.
It did, however, contain Kerry’s academic record from his four years in college. Despite the claims of his supporters, who seemed eager to paint Kerry as a towering intellect while castigating Bush as a moron, the two earned almost identical grades while at Yale:

During last year’s presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.
But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.
In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.
Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D’s in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.

In fact, the two men have so much in common, it’s almost uncanny. Their grade points are almost identical, and both struggled through their freshman years before buckling down and working for their education. Both entered military service after graduating, and both went back afterwards for a higher degree (Bush – Harvard, MBA; Kerry – BC, law degree). Both appeared to be somewhat adrift when they did so.
The key difference, of course, is that Bush never pretended to be a great student at college, just as he never pretended to be a war hero. Nothing that Kranish reports relates to those issues. This release by Kerry still doesn’t answer key questions about what he’s claimed about his service and the conflicts in his narrative first exposed by the Swiftvets. Let Kerry make the entire record public, so we can all see the answers to these questions.
Michelle Malkin has a great roundup of links to this story.
UPDATE: Er, yes, a law degree is a higher degree. Mea stupida culpa. I’ve changed the post accordingly. Hat tip: Ted V.

Kerry Signed The 180?

Joan Vennochi reports in her Boston Globe column today that John Kerry has signed the SF-180 form that will release his entire military record. However, as even the liberal Vennochi acknowledges, with Kerry that means less than one might think (via Michelle Malkin):

During an interview yesterday with Globe editorial writers and columnists, the former Democratic presidential nominee was asked if had signed Form SF 180, authorizing the Department of Defense to grant access to all his military records.
”I have signed it,” Kerry said. Then, he added that his staff was ”still going through it” and ”very, very shortly, you will have a chance to see it.”
The devil is usually in the details. With Kerry, it’s also in the dodges and digressions. After the interview, Kerry’s communications director, David Wade, was asked to clarify when Kerry signed SF 180 and when public access would be granted. Kerry drifted over to join the conversation, immediately raising the confusion level. He did not answer the question of when he signed the form or when the entire record will be made public.
Several e-mails later, Wade conveyed the following information: On Friday, May 20, Kerry obtained a copy of Form 180 and signed it. ”The next step is to send it to the Navy, which will happen in the next few days. The Navy will then send out the records,” e-mailed Wade.

Now, as Michelle notes, that request will take a few weeks for the Navy to process and provide a response. It may be the end of summer before any records are produced … and it could be a cold day in Hell before all or any of it gets released to the media. In fact, Kerry could argue that signing it was all he agreed to do. When, he could say, did I commit to sending it to the Navy? You FOOLS! Mwa-HAHAHAHA!
All kidding aside, Kerry only agreed to sign off on the SF-180. He didn’t agree to release every document that results from that request. The SF-180 will only release the information to Kerry, who can then cull the material for anything embarrassing before making it public. Vennochi herself appears to think that this may wind up being Kerry’s stance after he sees the files:

Kerry insists ”The truth in its entirety will come out . . . the truth will come out.”
Signing Form 180 is the first step. Releasing his entire military record to the public is the second.
It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

We’ll see. Somehow, with Kerry’s track record, I suspect he’ll find a rhetorical loophole he’s left to allow him off the hook once the file arrives from the Navy.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin, in reference to my scenario above, recalls that the SF-180 makes all records public, which doesn’t sound correct to me. CQ commenter Lew Clark elaborates:

The form authorizes the release of military records to a specific individual or entity. That individual/entity is designated in Part III of the form. Aditionally, in Part II of the form, the veteran designates whether an edited or unedited record is released. In Part II they can designate whether discharge information is released or not. That would be very important in the Kerry case based on questions about the nature of his discharge.
This first came up relative to President Bush based on a Freedom of Information Request (I forget who filed the request, News Organization, ACLU, ?). But, when Bush signed his SF 180 he authorized release of all his records to the organization that made the FOIA request.
I get no indication that Kerry has processed an SF 180 releasing all his military records, unedited to Judicial Watch. It appears, in fact, he has only authorized the release to himself. He/ his staff will then go through the records and re-release what they damn well please.

That was my understanding, based on hazy memories of the debate from last year. If anyone can substantiate or refute that, please e-mail me or comment on this post.

76 Days And Counting

John Kerry promised to sign off on his form SF-180 on Meet the Press 11 weeks ago, and he has yet to do so. CQ reader Drew Johnson whipped up his own political cartoon for his friends explaining Kerry’s reticence, and he shared it with me tonight. He gave me permission to share it with my friends:

I’d say the position of the nozzle indicates what it holds back …

Democrat Conspiracy To Buy Votes Grows Wider

ABC News reports that five Democrats have been indicted on federal charges of vote-buying in last year’s presidential election:

Five East St. Louis Democrats were charged in a scheme to buy votes in November’s election in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
An undetermined number of voters were paid $5 or $10 to cast a Democratic ballot in the Nov. 2 election, court records said. The money allegedly came from the St. Clair County Democratic Committee, though there was no indication the county committee knew how the funds would be used.
Federal prosecutors charged four Democratic committeemen and one precinct worker, a day after three other committeemen and a precinct worker pleaded guilty to related vote-buying charges in federal court.

It sounds like their co-conspirators cut a deal in order to reduced their jail time, which means they’re looking to find bigger fish to fry. The seven committee members fit that bill, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the investigation doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned.