Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP....You may recall the full text of George Bush's answer to Tim Russert on Sunday regarding his National Guard files:

Russert: But you authorize the release of everything to settle this?

President Bush: Yes, absolutely. We did so in 2000, by the way.

"We did so in 2000, by the way."

Really? And yet after I posted a copy of Bush's 1972-73 ARF Retirement Credit Summary on Sunday, the White House followed up by releasing the same document on Tuesday, along with a previously unreleased set of payroll records. On Wednesday they released a copy of his dental records. Finally, on Thursday, they showed reporters an unredacted copy of the part of Bush's 1968 National Guard application that asks if he's ever been arrested:

So what's there? Reporters didn't get copies of the document, but the LA Times reports that it was nothing serious:

According to McClellan's unaltered copy, Bush responded: "Misdemeanor, New Haven, Connecticut, December 1966, charge dismissed.

"Two speeding tickets, July '64 and August '64, $10 fine, Houston traffic court.

"Two collisions, July '62 and August '62, $25 fine, Houston traffic court."

I continue to be stupefied by this performance. First, why did Bush say on Sunday that everything had been released in 2000 only to have own staff then release a bunch of previously unreleased documents on Tuesday?

And why-oh-why are they playing "document of the day"? It's as if they're pursuing some bizarre strategy deliberately designed to prove to the world that they have plenty of documents in their possession and they are carefully releasing only the helpful ones after long and careful examination. It's just mind-bogglingly stupid.

There are only two things to do in a situation like this: either stonewall completely or else open up the entire file and take their lumps for what's in it. (Adding a tearful Clintonesque apology would probably work pretty well in the latter case, although I suspect Bush's personality may be a little too Nixonian to pull something like that off.) Instead they seem bound and determined to keep this stuff dripping out in the most transparently self-serving way possible. It's unbelievable.

What do you suppose today's document will be? A hangnail report from 1973?

Kevin Drum 9:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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