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The Unartful Dodger

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The mainstream media is many things: hidebound, conservative, and often cowed by powerful political and financial forces. But when they smell blood in the water, when some enterprising news outlet has worried out a story that will sell papers and deliver eyeballs, they will attack with unexpected fury.

Just ask President Bush. Scarcely a week after leaving NYC on the crest of a double-digit bounce in the polls, the press has turned on him, unleashing a wave of stories that question his actions during his stint in the Air National Guard.

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There's no need to belabor the facts of this story. Bush did everything he could to avoid combat in Vietnam. There is no doubt that he gamed the system, and, safe to say, he wasn't the only one (Bill Clinton, anyone?). And yes, he's a hypocrite for standing by while John Kerry's wartime conduct is tarnished by lies and slander.

But here's a modest proposal: let's call this Vietnam back and forth an ugly draw, and move on. Surely there are better things to argue about during this election. The war in Iraq, for instance. The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Health care, unemployment, huge deficits, and the environment. Hell, we can even fight about the Energizer Bunny issues such as gun control and abortion.

That's not to give Mr. Bush a pass. What he did was wrong. But 30 years later, isn't it time to move on?