Friday, February 13, 2004

Don't get too excited - yet
I'm afraid that my gut response to the Kerry story (see below) is rather different. Indeed, I tend to view it in the same light as the allegations that Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy. Firstly, the web-site that broke the story has a decidedly mixed record. Its true that it broke the Monica Lewinsky story, but's its got a number of other things decidedly wrong, and has had to apologise on numerous occasions. Its no coincidence that mainstream US newspapers aren't covering this story, and British newspapers are adopting an extremely cautious tone.

Secondly, aspects of the story strike me as suspicious. Apparently the intern is in "Africa", that vast undifferentiated land-mass. No particular country is named. For the West, and the US in particular, "Africa" tends to stand in for the most remote and inaccessible part of the Earth, bar Antarctica. This is just a little too neat and, to me, smacks of a poorly fabricated rumour, designed for a particular market. There's also the fact that the scandal was supposedly alluded to by Wesley Clark a few weeks back, when he predicted that the Kerry campaign would "implode." But, if Clark had prior knowledge, why has he dropped out of the race? If he saw this coming, shouldn't he have kept going and emerged as front-runner with John Edwards? Finally, that the story involves a tryst with an intern strikes me as just a little too reminiscent of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. This, too, smacks of fabrication.

I might, of course, be proved wrong, just as Ngcuka might have been proved to be an apartheid spy. But too much about this story strikes me as doubtful and inconsistent.

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