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Ben Barnes: John Kerry’s Unbelievable Last-Ditch Weapon
Frontpage Magazine ^ | 9/08/04 | Lowell Ponte

Posted on 09/08/2004 3:11:45 PM PDT by Eva

Ben Barnes: John Kerry’s Unbelievable Last-Ditch Weapon By Lowell Ponte | September 8, 2004

"THE LAST SMEAR,” THE DOOMSDAY WEAPON that John F. Kerry’s sinking campaign desperately hopes can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, is ready and is scheduled to be launched against President George W. Bush on Wednesday night, September 8, on CBS’ weeknight version of “60 Minutes.”

This bomb is an already-taped Dan Rather interview with former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes in which Barnes will hint, and deceptive CBS editing will strongly imply, that during the Vietnam War the Bush family pressured him to use politics to get a young George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard.

“Barnes comes off as very sympathetic,” the American Spectator quotes an unnamed CBS news producer with whom its reporter spoke. “This is a guy who has been under intense, brutal pressure from a family that is very powerful in Texas. You get the impression that he just can’t take it anymore.”

This story “is clearly the Kerry campaign’s response to the Swift Vets controversy,” noted one source quoted by the American Spectator. It is an attempt to undermine President Bush’s credibility in the same way that testimony by 254 of Kerry’s fellow Swift boat veterans undercut his carefully-cultivated Kennedy-esque image of honor and heroism during the Vietnam War.

But before anybody swallows the story Ben Barnes tells, America needs to know some things about Mr. Barnes that CBS and the rest of the establishment media are unlikely to mention.

Ben Barnes was born in 1938 in De Leon, Texas southwest of Fort Worth. After graduating from the University of Texas and earning a law degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Barnes in 1960, at age 22, was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. He served there until 1969, the last four of these years as the youngest Speaker of the House in Texas history. From 1969 until 1973 Barnes was the state’s Lt. Governor.

President Lyndon B. Johnson compared the young political wunderkind to Thomas Jefferson and predicted that Ben Barnes would be the next Texan elected President. The leftwing Texas Monthly called Barnes the “golden boy” of Texas politics.

But “after he was involved in a bribery and stock fraud scandal in the early 1970s,” wrote leftwing Mother Jones Magazine, Barnes “never held office again. He was involved with a number of banks and thrifts that were mentioned during the S&L crisis, and forced into bankruptcy when the Texas thrift industry cratered in the late 1980s.”

By the late 1990s Barnes had become a millionaire lobbyist working for GTech, a company that operated lotteries in 37 states including Texas. The Texas lottery was losing money, in part because of a sweetheart deal in which Barnes received 3.5 cents for every ticket sold – more than $3 million per year. When the Texas lottery commission re-bid GTech’s contract, the company sued and – after buying Barnes out for $23 million – hired a new lobbyist. A fired Texas lottery director sued, claiming that he had taken the fall for GTech because Barnes had a National Guard story embarrassing to then-Governor George W. Bush.

Barnes, facing potential charges of yet more wrongdoing, told his National Guard story in a deposition in a successful effort to politically deflect his own responsibility in this matter. In multiple re-tellings since 1999, the details of Barnes’ story have changed several times. Its gist is Barnes’ claim that when he was the Democratic Lt. Governor he intervened to get Republican Houston Congressman George H.W. Bush’s son George W. into the Texas Air National Guard (alongside the sons of Governor John Connally and Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Democrats). Barnes now says he is “ashamed” of this. Trouble is, George W. Bush began the first of six years’ service in the National Guard in 1968, but Barnes did not become Lt. Governor of Texas until 1969. Barnes has acknowledged that no member of the Bush family sought his help, but claims he was approached by a Bush family friend (who died three years before Barnes began telling his self-serving story).

Because Barnes’ tale rests solely on his word, how good is his word? Given his long past of shady dealings, the shipwreck of his career on scandal, and the changes and inconsistencies of his story, Barnes appears to be less than a credible witness.

More doubt is raised by this partisan Democrat’s motives. Barnes promoted an earlier version of his story in 1999 and 2000 in a clear attempt to damage the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. And Barnes apparently has had the same aim in reviving this story, long ago discredited by an investigation by the liberal Los Angeles Times, in 2004. As CNN reported in 1999, “the Los Angeles Times said it found no evidence that either Bush or his father, former President George Bush, had personally tried to influence or pressure anyone to get the younger Bush a place in the Texas Guard.”

Ben Barnes has a large vested interest in the outcome of the 2004 election. He is a co-chairman of John F. Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Barnes, as CBS News reported in June 2004, has made bundled contributions of more than $500,000 to Kerry’s campaign. Barnes owns a home near his friend Kerry’s home in Nantucket on the Massachusetts shore.

For many years Barnes and the lobbying firm he founded in Austin, EntreCorp, have made many millions of dollars by acting as the go-between bringing special interest groups and companies together with highly-placed Democrat officeholders. The Center for Responsive Politics has listed Barnes as the third largest all-around Democratic donor in America 1999-2004. So influential and important is Barnes to the Democratic Party, as this column reported last January, that Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle has nicknamed this fat cat money man and lobbyist “the fifty-first Democratic Senator.”

If Kerry becomes President, reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in July 2004, Ben Barnes is at the top of the list of those close to the Kerry Administration likely to become “gatekeepers and endorsers for…appointees and job-seekers.” Given his sticky-fingered past, Barnes would likely also become a toll-collector at this gate, charging everybody he allows through it, and overnight he could become an even wealthier and more influential political lobbyist and “fixer” serving special interest groups, corporations, nations and individuals.

Given Ben Barnes’ shady past, dubious reputation and selfish mercenary motive to defeat President Bush and elect Barnes’ close friend and partisan ally John F. Kerry, what honest reporter would give credence to an unsubstantiated Barnes tale calculated to damage President Bush in the final days before the November election?

CBS Anchorman Dan Rather, according to the American Spectator, “has been pushing for months” to get his network’s most watched news program “60 Minutes” to air this non-credible story in an already-videotaped interview with Ben Barnes. This interview, the Spectator reported in September 2004, has been edited deceptively to imply that the Bush family directly pressured Barnes to get George W. Bush into the Air National Guard. Rather only half succeeded. His Bush-smearing interview will air on “60 Minutes,” but on its lightly-watched Wednesday version this week, not its far more widely seen Sunday night version.

(Dan Rather is an extreme partisan who, while Anchor for the CBS Evening News, participated in a Democratic Party fundraiser in Texas. The leftwing slant of CBS itself has been documented by that network’s former reporter Bernard Goldberg in his 2002 best-seller Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.)

What is the truth about George W. Bush and the Texas Air National Guard? He apparently was chosen to defend his nation in this service for a reason so obvious that few notice it. Mr. Bush was accepted by the Guard less than two weeks before his graduation from Yale University, and Guard commanding officers logically concluded that any young Texan bright and hard-working enough to graduate from such a prestigious university had thereby demonstrated both excellence and high character.

Mr. Bush served in the National Guard for six years. During the first four of those years George W. Bush far surpassed the time and work requirements for National Guard service, and during his remaining two years Mr. Bush complied with those basic requirements. (After returning from his four months in Vietnam, metamorphosed radical anti-war leader John Kerry was required to serve for several years in the Naval Reserve, but the establishment media has refused to investigate charges that Kerry shirked this required duty.)

In mid-1968, when George W. Bush joined the National Guard, Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, and Texas was still a yellow-dog Democratic one-party state that would take another decade to elect its first Republican governor in more than 100 years. The Republican Bush family had no power to twist then-Texas House Speaker Democrat Ben Barnes’ arm, even if it wanted to. The notion that Barnes was “pressured” by the “powerful” Bush family to get George W. into the National Guard is absurd. But this phony claim is apparently what CBS, to rescue the desperate Kerry campaign, is preparing to broadcast.

President Bill Clinton, a master at extracting donor cash in exchange for political favors, once told a group of Methodist ministers: “If you all will take a sinner like [Ben] Barnes, you might take me.”

If people can be C-BSed into believing a disreputable sinner like Ben Barnes, America might yet suffer the devastation of a President John Kerry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Ponte hosts a national radio talk show Saturdays 6-9 PM Eastern Time (3-6 PM Pacific Time) and Sundays 9 PM-Midnight Eastern Time (6-9 PM Pacific Time) on the Liberty Broadcasting network (formerly TalkAmerica). Internet Audio worldwide is at LibertyBroadcasting .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-866-GO LOWELL (1-866-465-6935). A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.

TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: benbarnes; kerry
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There's a lot of interesting follow-up to some earlier articles regarding Dan Rather's attempt to emulate Michael Moore.
1 posted on 09/08/2004 3:11:46 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva
Posted here.
2 posted on 09/08/2004 3:13:36 PM PDT by TomServo ("Hi, welcome to Deep 13, would you like to try a creamy thruster-buster?")
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To: TomServo

I did a search and it didn't show up. Additionally, the articles often need to be reposted when they are posted in the middle of the night because they die out before morning and are wasted.

3 posted on 09/08/2004 3:17:54 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva

Big deal. Even if it's true, so what.

Bush never said "vote for me because of what I did in the early 70s". Never said that.

And in the meantime, he's been President for 4 years.

That's what people are going to consider, one way or the other.

4 posted on 09/08/2004 3:20:46 PM PDT by samtheman (
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To: Eva

Just trying to see what will stick... totally the wrong track... This election is a referendum on the last four years of Bush... not what happened 35 years ago,

BUT FOR KERRY, being an unknown, it is about his entire past.

5 posted on 09/08/2004 3:22:26 PM PDT by Mikey_1962
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To: samtheman

The point is, not only is the story a big yawn, it is most likely not true and the dependence on Barnes for this story shows the level of desperation that the Kerry campaign and the media have fallen to.

6 posted on 09/08/2004 3:24:08 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva; MeekOneGOP; onyx; My2Cents; JohnHuang2; Dog Gone; Dog; isthisnickcool; OKSooner; VOA; ...

I agree with you about articles posted in the middle of the night that most of us NEVER see! I am also tired of the thought police squad on here telling us something is posted when most of us did not see it and it is so important that EVERYONE see this.

I could have told someone earlier this afternoon that linked to the Bush Biography video that I posted earlier that it was the same thing but the more times it is up the more people will see it!

7 posted on 09/08/2004 3:24:23 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Oklahoma is Reagan Country and now Bush Country -- Win Another One for the Gipper!)
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To: Mikey_1962

The point is that Kerry is not an unknown to a large part of the population, the Vietnam Vets and their families. We remember him very clearly. The only part of Kerry's past record that no one knows about is his legislative record, because it doesn't amount to much and he has basicly taken both sides of every issue.

8 posted on 09/08/2004 3:26:25 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva

The way I see this is that most people already have assumed that Bush may have used some influence to get into the ANG, as well as being shown leniency in his duty. Voters have already made up their minds whether or not this is an important issue to them. The polls are speaking rather clearly right now and it isn't going to change their minds.

9 posted on 09/08/2004 3:26:39 PM PDT by Toespi
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To: Eva

Even JANE FONDA apologized.. I know, I lost a brother, he was much older, but much loved and always remembered.

10 posted on 09/08/2004 3:28:44 PM PDT by Mikey_1962
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To: PhiKapMom
Well, well PKM. Tough boogers!

I post whatever I want whenever I want and that's just the way it is!


11 posted on 09/08/2004 3:28:54 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (Only dummies play poker with George W. Bush.)
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To: PhiKapMom

I have actually asked Kattracks not to post some of these articles in the middle of the night because the self appointed post police can't stand it when the articles are reposted. At least the poster didn't ask to have the thread removed.

12 posted on 09/08/2004 3:28:56 PM PDT by Eva
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To: PhiKapMom

Thank you. I have noticed that also. I will look for something I "know" had to have been posted. It has gone off into cyber archive somewhere. Yes, others who are looking for it find it but not the person just logging on who wouldn't be looking.

13 posted on 09/08/2004 3:30:15 PM PDT by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: Toespi

But did you read the article? Whether Bush pulled some strings or not, Barnes wasn't the man who did the pulling. Barnes wasn't in a position to pull the strings until one year after Bush was in the Guard.

14 posted on 09/08/2004 3:31:29 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Mikey_1962

Jane Fonda apologized??? I never heard that. It would be interesting to post what she said because John Kerry has sure never apologized. Neither one of them can do anything to ameliorate the pain that they have caused, anyway.

15 posted on 09/08/2004 3:33:16 PM PDT by Eva
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To: PhiKapMom; Eva
Thanks for posting and pinging this. I'll add this one to my list (below).

This Ben Barnes is a LIAR. I think he has said for years that this never happened. The Commander in charge of bringing in recruits at the time Bush entered the TANG said this never happened.

Bush Guard Service, The True Story

The Facts about Bush and the National Guard
- The Democratic charges fall apart

Q and A- F-102, Vietnam & George W. Bush

Bush 'Desertion' Charge Debunked

What did Dubya do in the war, daddy?

The Real Military Record of George W. Bush:
Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either

July 28, 1999
At Height of Vietnam, Bush Picks Guard
(Washington Post article)

07-04-1999 (Posted on 02/03/2004)
"Bush's stint in Guard scrutinized":

16 posted on 09/08/2004 3:35:47 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: Eva

She said that she realized that many of the things she did hurt both veterans and families and that for that she was apologetic.... somewhere in the 80's. i wish I could be more specific but for Fonda Haters like me, it took some of the heat off...

17 posted on 09/08/2004 3:36:40 PM PDT by Mikey_1962
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To: PhiKapMom

The notion that the Bush family was a powerful political family in 1968 is laughable. Republicans were a non-factor until the 1980s, and even then barely registered in terms of real control.

18 posted on 09/08/2004 3:38:56 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Eva; TXBubba

I don't know how many times recently I have gone to post something on a thread to be told it has been pulled and there is a duplicate. That means all the comments are for nil! Irritating because I am not on here in the middle of the night usually!

19 posted on 09/08/2004 3:39:08 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Oklahoma is Reagan Country and now Bush Country -- Win Another One for the Gipper!)
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To: Eva

So this is the October Surprise?

It might have worked on October 31 if it was dropped in without any opportunity to vet the allegations but two months is plenty of time to debunk this garbage.

Better now than later, though. Surely they have something better than this...

20 posted on 09/08/2004 3:39:15 PM PDT by 5by5
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