"They'll Do Anything
Why Democrats and the media think they're entitled to do whatever it takes to win this election.
by Fred Barnes
11/01/2004 12:00:00 AM
THE SCARIEST THING about this election is not the prospect of a contested outcome with no winner declared for weeks, just as in 2000. No, the most scary thing is the sense of entitlement that many Democrats and their allies have about tomorrow's election. It goes like this: Bush stole the presidency four years ago, then proceeded to act as if he had a mandate, so now we're entitled to do whatever it takes to defeat him, to say whatever we want.
You see it in the bumper stickers that call for the "re-defeat" of President Bush. You see it in the destruction of Bush yard signs and posters all across the country. You see it in the harassment, at least in blue states, of anyone wearing a Bush pin or button. You see it in the hatred of Bush by his opponents, who think they're only venting righteous indignation.
You see it in the religious bigotry against the president, a born-again Christian, and against his conservative Christian supporters. Without any evidence, Bush's opponents accuse him of believing that he has a direct line to God and that God gives him instructions, such as when to invade Iraq, and that any criticism of him is illegitimate. You see the bigotry as well in the belittling of Christians who support Bush as if their political views have no standing or worth because they may have been influenced by their religious faith.
You see it in the now exposed plans of Democrats to claim intimidation
You see that same sense of entitlement in elements of the national media--especially CBS News--who jettison the normal rules of journalism when Bush is the target. CBS not only rushed out with forged documents to torpedo the Bush campaign in September, the network intended to take another bite at Bush two days before the election by airing a dubious story about stolen explosives in Iraq. Would CBS have dared to do this against any other public figure but Bush? No.
And you see it in the victimization that is claimed for John Kerry. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Anything they say about Kerry is automatically a smear and thus doesn't have to be examined or even considered. And Kerry has no obligation to answer questions about his Vietnam experience, though he's played it up in the campaign. Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war, however, is fair game.
And you see the feeling of entitlement in comments by the Democratic candidates and their backers, who seem to feel they're free to say anything they want about Bush and Vice President Cheney. So we get the targeting of Mary Cheney as a lesbian and the criticism of Laura Bush for having worked in jobs that weren't real jobs. And when anyone accuses Democrats of debasing the campaign, the answer is always: it's Bush's fault. Bush is hardly without fault, but the shabby style and substance of this campaign is the fault of his opponents.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.