Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Unspun by Facts

Republican loyalists, such as Fred Barnes for example, or group-think analysts such as Chris Matthews and his crew, are spinning (Barnes) or calling (Matthews et. al.) the V.P. debate as a win for Cheney. The argument is that Cheney effectively shifted focus away from Bush's troubled record back to Kerry's record.

Normally that spin might work, and Cheney did look like a winner in the immediate aftermath to a lot of people.

But any benefit from that perceived win is evaporating already, and Cheney's becoming a clear loser. And the reason he's becoming the perceived loser has nothing to do with -- as Matthews insinuated it would -- the liberal media not admitting that Cheney won. It has to do with all the facts Cheney got wrong. Yes, Edwards made some mistakes, but Cheney's omissions, obfuscations, and errors were huge. And they're being challenged not by liberal media sympathizers so much as they are by reports coming from administration appointees and Cheney's own past public pronouncements.

The revelation of those facts, and the analysis of how they contradict Cheney's claims, is, instead of shifting attention away from Bush's record, calling greater attention to it.

Relevant examples of fact checking and breaking news that is undoing Cheney:

Rewriting History
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
With virtually all of the administration’s original case for war in Iraq in
tatters, Vice President Dick Cheney provided shifting and sometimes misleading
arguments in last night’s debate with John Edwards about Saddam Hussein’s ties
to terrorists and his access to weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. Report Finds Iraq Was Minimal Weapons Threat in '03
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Iraq now appears to have destroyed its
stockpiles of illicit weapons within months of the Persian Gulf war of 1991, and
by the time of the American invasion in spring 2003, its capacity to produce
such weapons was continuing to erode, the top American inspector in Iraq said in
a report made public today.

U.S. Report Finds No Evidence of Iraq WMD
Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000
American lives, the top U.S. arms inspector reported today that he found no
evidence that Iraq produced any weapons of mass destruction after 1991. The
report also says Saddam Hussein's weapons capability weakened during a dozen
years of U.N. sanctions before the U.S. invasion last year.

Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush and top administration
officials, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war
began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, according
to the report by Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.

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