It's fascinating to me that the Bushies are savaging Ben Barnes's "claims", when in reality he isn't making any claims at all!
Dan Bartlett: "Now, the fact that Ben Barnes, who's a partisan Democrat, who left office under scandal in Texas in 1971, has his own issues. For him to come up after 32 years, during the 2000 presidential election, and now during the 2004 election when he supports John Kerry, I think completely discredits the veracity of his claims." (courtesy of TPM)
But what exactly is Barnes saying? That he made a phone call, at the request of a Bush "family friend"--not directly from a Bush, to grease the wheels for Dubya. Its the same thing he said under oath five years ago and received a personal thanks from Bush elder. He is making no new claims, other than the purely personal--that he regrets his role in helping out political allies.
Frankly, I can't understand at all what the Bushies are afraid of! Everyone's known for years that Bush benefited, indirectly or not, from his family name. So what? It didn't stop 49.5% of voters from picking him in 2000. And why is it so all-fired important for the Bush family that they didn't directly manage Dubya's entre into the champagne unit? Do they think people are incapable of connecting the dots between Bush and a family friend? Do they think people can't grasp that a political ally might do a favor on spec, or as a bargaining tool? And again, so what if they do?
Why are Bushies so afraid of Barnes? Or is it Barnes? Maybe he's a convenient whipping boy, someone they can talk ad nauseum about rather than deal with the real problem issues. Such as the official records. Such as the fact that they can't find anyone to actually stand up and say "I saw him!" after April 1972 (except for Calhoun, whom nobody seems willing to believe).