This is not the important thing.

The important thing is his ignoring the ‘tremendous’ ‘immediate’ threat to the United States that the CIA alerted him to before his inauguration . . . and his telling America that ‘by far the vast majority of the help [from his proposed tax cut went] to people at the bottom end of the economic ladder’ – a cynical, trillion-dollar lie . . . and his contempt for the environment . . . and his judicial nominations . . . and his handling of Iraq (even if you agree Iraq should have been handled) . . . and his pulling out of the mid-East and Korean peace talks . . . and his efforts to shut down the stem cell research around the world . . . and on and on and on.

Still, with Martha Stewart facing jail time stemming from insider trading (even though, yes, I know, that’s not what they’re trying her for), one does note that George W. Bush was not just on the board of directors of Harken Oil when he sold his stock, but on the three-man audit committee. Not only was his trade four times the size of hers, it was vastly more important to him, representing most of his net worth (versus virtually none of hers). And, yes, it sure looks as if Martha may not have been truthful with the S.E.C. But didn’t George conceal his trade from the S.E.C. until eight months after the filing deadline? (He says it wasn’t on purpose. But can we be sure a man who would tell a trillion dollar lie would not tell a much smaller one?) And did he not tell the press he was ‘exonerated’ when in fact he was not? (The S.E.C. chose not to prosecute the President’s son, but never pronounced him innocent.)

And then you have the military service thing. For the details, click here.

Bush supporters will say all this is ancient history . . . and I largely agree. If he were now doing a great job, what difference would any of this make? But he is not doing a great job; and if the Republicans are going to focus on every tiny flaw of the Democrats, as experience suggests they will – already, there are rumblings about John Edwards’ hair – is it unfair to raise these questions of insider trading and military service for those who may not adequately have considered them before?

No sane person would suggest we should imprison the President for Harken Oil or execute him for failing to fulfill his military obligations (‘desertion’ having a special meaning in military law that Michael Moore could not have realized when he chose that word). But neither should we necessarily reelect him.

Is George Bush really the only one would have had the judgment to deal with 9/11? He spent the first 27 minutes of the crisis reading to elementary school students a story about a goat. Whatever you may think of his military service, please click here to see how he handled the attack on the World Trade Center. I think any one of our guys could have read the story about the goat equally well – and one or two of them might even have decided not to.


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