Heading to the gutter this early is a clue to his desperation

Isn't it priceless that a man who did everything he could to avoid combat in Vietnam is orchestrating a campaign to devalue the real combat heroism of a man who volunteered to serve in Vietnam?

It tells us how desperate the Re-elect Bush campaign has become that it is going for the gutter this soon. The television attack ads designed to cast doubt on Sen. John Kerry's combat medals are being produced by the team that worked for Bush to smear Sen. John McCain four years ago and worked for Bush's father to smear his presidential opponent, Michael Dukakis. The New York Times on Aug. 20 published a lengthy, detailed article that documented the web of players who paid for and produced the anti-Kerry advertising campaign.

President Bush badly needs this smear campaign, because he cannot win re-election on the merits. Do you really want four more years of this? Do you want more economic policy that's only about tax cuts for the very rich? Do you want an energy policy that merely rewards the vice president's friends and has nothing to do with establishing energy independence? Do you want more environmental degradation in the name of payoffs to the extractive industries?

Most of us don't. That's why the Bush campaign has played up social issues such as gay marriage (Now that's an urgent matter when almost 1,000 Americans have died in the Iraq War).

The Wizard of Oz said: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." As the attack ads persist, pay no attention to the man in Crawford, Texas. Be happy. Be gullible. This president would never stoop so low.

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