Election year scandals rock candidates each year. Though still early, the two major sordid stories have not started the country talking.
These two lightweight scandals-John Kerry’s alleged affair and President Bush’s disputed Air National Guard Service-popped up early this year and never gathered speed.
These allegations may keep the candidate and the president awake at night, but the public shows no signs of losing sleep.
Bush’s National Guard service came up before, but now detractors call him a deserter and say he went AWOL because one of Bush’s superior officers could not remember seeing him stationed in Alabama 31 years ago. The White House released payment records from the Air National Guard to prove Bush served his time in the Vietnam era.
Though Bush may not have served as valiantly as Kerry-who earned three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star-he did serve his country.
During the Vietnam War, a young man could avoid dangerous service in Asia by joining the National Guard before his draft number came up. Many changed addresses while in the Guard and purposely created a paper trail to avoid reporting for their time. It was a legal way to avoid the draft.
It wasn’t without danger, though-some divisions in the Guard were called to fly in Vietnam.
Kerry’s service record remains a gutsy, heart-wrenching story. After watching friends die, he became a staunch anti-war advocate upon returning to the States. His scandal lies in an alleged affair with a journalist. Both have denied the affair.
Neither accusation against Bush or Kerry carries much weight or attracts much attention from potential voters. Bush’s supporters believe he served his time patriotically. Kerry’s supporters might not care about the affair story even if it proves to be true.
After all, many of the same voters supported Clinton throughout his many accusations of infidelity.