JacketGate and Bulbs Bright and Dim

It may be the same old same old in mainstream campaign coverage this week — stale veepstakes speculation, more on the Wafer Watch, the latest thinking on how polarized the nation is or isn’t — but the creative juices are certainly flowing in the ‘sphere.

Ted of Crooked Timber sees “another bad week for the Bush administration,” and so, he writes, it’s time for the Bushies to concoct “another manufactured Kerry scandal.” He presents the Bush camp with the script for something we’ll call JacketGate. In Ted’s not entirely farfetched scenario, Matt Drudge posts a photo of John Kerry wearing a Members Only jacket (those polyester zip-ups popular in the ’80s). Taking their cues from Drudge (which is how we know this isn’t real), assorted media watchers then weigh in — from Slate’s Mickey Kaus (“nice jacket, freak!!”) to The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz (“Did Kerry vote for Members Only before he voted against it?”) to radio talker Hugh Hewitt (“So who, exactly, are the ‘members’ of this little club that the John ‘man of the people’ Kerry belonged to?”)

Right-leaners are also getting their yuks this morning. Scrappleface offers readers the “original” speech written for President Bush to deliver at the unveiling of Clinton’s presidential portrait on Monday. ‘Face quotes an “unnamed administration source” saying that the president was “for some reason” not comfortable delivering this spicy version. Highlights of the “leaked” speech include zingers such as: “President Clinton and co-President Rodham Clinton, welcome home,” and, “Laura and I are pleased to welcome members of the Clinton and Rodham family, the only group that we have invited to pass through the metal detectors on their way out of the White House.” Note to Scrappleface: Keep your day job.

Suburban Guerrilla’s joke of the day— which, The New York Times’s David Sanger reported yesterday, is being “circulated by the Clinton alumni”—asks, “How many Bush officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The answer, according to the Guerrilla, is ten, including, “One to personally attack and question the patriotism of anyone who dares to ask questions about light bulbs” and someone else “to plan the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of light bulbs.”

Veering rightward once more, Jonah Goldberg amuses himself and readers of The Corner with a quote from today’s Washington Times in which reporter Charles Hurt asked William T. Mullen, president of New Jersey’s building trades union, “whether Mr. Kerry’s patrician — some say French — face and wife worth an estimated $550 million hurts his ability to relate to the working class.” According to Hurt, Mullen replied, “Yeah, but he’s our rich French guy and we got to stick with him.” Goldberg anticipates with glee “chants of RFG! RFG! RFG! (that’s rich French guy)” at the Democratic Convention. (But wouldn’t it be ORFG)?

For relief from all the bloggers experiencing Jon Stewart envy, we turn to Mickey Kaus who is in a lather that The Note (ABC’s political newsletter) has ignored the evolving ballot initiative to “change the method for awarding electors in Colorado from winner-take-all to a proportional system.” Kaus, in high dudgeon, wonders, has the Note “become locked in its cocoon of glamorous Michael Moore movie premieres and symposia, reliant on self-promoting emails from reporters to cover the rest of the country?”

Campaign Desk knows a thing or two about relying on reporters to hammer a square peg (new fact) into a round hole (old context) — and, truth to tell, they never let us down.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.