Missing: 380 Tons of Ammo, Some Members of UN Security Council, and Talent

Today the blogosphere is consumed by three developing stories, each involving something important (or not) that suddenly, um, isn’t there.

Left-leaning bloggers are focused on the 380 tons of Iraqi explosives that, as reported by The New York Times, vanished while supposedly under the U.S.’s watch (let’s call it AlQaqaaGate). It’s a handful of missing UN Security Council members, as reported by the other Times (of Washington), that have righty bloggers all atwitter (KerryForgotBulgariaGate). And Wonkette led this morning with a manufactured young pop singer’s startling absence of talent, exposed during a Milli Vanilli moment on “Saturday Night Live” (AshleeSimpsonGate).

On AlQaqaaGate, Andrew Sullivan asserts: “…the fact that large amounts of potentially deadly materials have been looted under the eyes of the American occupation is Exhibit A in the case for this administration’s incompetence.” It is also, to Sullivan’s mind, “criminal negligence.” Paul Glastris, standing in for the Political Animal, concurs that it is an example of “more nightmarish Bush administration incompetence.” Josh Marshall, who has been on this story around the clock, assigns reporters a handful of questions they might ask while reporting out AlQaqaaGate. Among them: “The Times article says that Condi Rice ‘was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing.’ How many days after she was informed did she begin her current campaign swing?”

Apart from Jonah Goldberg on The National Review’s The Corner who notes, in passing, that AlQaqaaGate is “a screw up,” we were hard pressed to find right-leaning bloggers mentioning it at all — proving once more that the blogosphere contains Venus (lefty bloggers) and Mars (right-wing bloggers). What right-leaning bloggers are up in arms about instead is the above-linked Washington Times piece reporting that John Kerry did not meet with as many U.N Security Council members as he said he did in the run-up to the Iraq war. Captain Ed opines that this is “another indication that nothing, not our security or the lives of our troops, comes before [Kerry’s] own overwhelming ambitions to seize power and live out the life of his boyhood idol, John Kennedy.” Ed takes a stab at Gore-ing Kerry, pronouncing him guilty of “a firm pattern of deceit and self-aggrandizement” and of being a “prevaricating narcissist.” At Redstate.org, trevino continues the Gore-ing, comparing Kerry to “the loudmouthed teenager caught bragging about romantic conquests never made.” The Corner’s John Hood, however, considers it “very debatable” whether this “is the ‘big story’ of an October-Surprise variety.”

We tend to agree. If this is all that Republican operatives have in reserve, the October Surprise needs to be renamed. Maybe the October Yawn?

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.