Democrats Believe Anti-Bush Screed Will Provide Needed Boost

(Editor’s Note: The following item has been making the rounds on the interne. The coming book The Family: The real story of the Bush Dynasty apparently has many Democrats beside themselves with glee, though some are cautious.)

A new book on the Bush family by controversial author Kitty Kelley is expected to be released next week, and Democrats believe media coverage of the allegations it contains will result in a serious hit on President Bush.

The inside flap claims the book will reveal a “shocking history,” adding that “perhaps most impressive — and surprising — is the way the book delves behind the obsessively protected public image into the family’s intimate private lives: the matriarchs, the mistresses, the marriages, the divorces, the jealousies, the hypocrisies, the golden children, and the black sheep.” Recognizing the book’s political significance, the flap adds: “At a crucial point in American history, Kitty Kelley is the one person to finally tell all about the family that has, perhaps more than any other, defined our role in the modern world. This is the book the Bushes don’t want you to read.”

Democratic insiders claim that among numerous allegations against the Bush family, the book will charge that President Bush used cocaine in the past, paid for the abortion of a former girlfriend, and has used a drug to treat an attention deficit disorder. None of these charges are totally new, however, as they have been circulated by the President’s opponents for years in back channels and occasionally by small liberal media outlets. The big difference now, however, is the fact that with the election approaching it appears big media plans to air the allegations, using Kitty Kelley as the messenger.

Kerry supporters expect the book, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, to be a significant political tool to help in their campaign to undermine the President’s credibility. Sources report that Kelley, who worked as a press aide to Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy, has been attempting to prep the large anti-Bush network for the release of the book by asking for help with pre-publication publicity. “She’s been pushing us to promote it to our people” through extensive Internet and email outreach, “but has been evasive on what ‘bombshells’ she’ll unload,” one source told the Bulletin. This Democratic strategist also noted, however, that the top level of the Kerry campaign has been aware of the Kelley specifics for some time. Democrats also point with glee to the fact that Kelley touted her book with a full-page ad in last week’s Republican National Convention Guide. “Talking about poking a stick in the eye,” laughed a Democrat politico.

To meet their political objective, Democrats believe it critical that Kelley’s book break through with the mainstream media. “If NBC starts, that will give enough credibility and the rest will follow,” said a Democratic strategist. And after numerous questions last week, NBC finally confirmed to the Bulletin this morning that the Monday, September 13 “Today Show” will feature Kitty Kelley and the allegations in her book. Sources also reported last week that it was likely that “Dateline” would air the book this coming Sunday evening, although NBC reported that, as of early this afternoon, that is not the plan. Both programs are part of the network’s “news” programming and there are said to be some on the inside who feel very uncomfortable with the Kelley interview, fear her documentation is not up to the standards of NBC news, and believe the expected charge from Republicans that the network is playing politics may have enough validity to stick. Of interest, sources in Kelley’s office say that at least for now CNN’s “Larry King Live” has decided not to provide the author an airing as it has in the past for her previous books.

Although the book is expected to include numerous charges, some who claim to be familiar with the book say that, most importantly, it acts as a catalogue of everything ever alleged against the larger Bush family. The cocaine and abortion stories about President Bush have been circulating since the time he first ran for governor in Texas.

And one source noted that Kelley’s expected claim that President Bush suffers from attention deficit disorder was first alleged by writer Gail Sheehy during the 2000 presidential campaign. Sheehy has generated controversy of her own for her books on political figures, causing the Washington Post at one point to document her supposed errors in a section called “Gail’s Goof Corner.” And while Kelley’s spokesman offered a “no comment” to reports that Kelley and Sheehy worked together on at least this part of the book, the political paths of the two have crossed in the past. Kelley has been involved as a host for a number of liberal-leaning political events, and has donated money to such causes as the Gay And Lesbian Victory Fund and Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, who is known as one of the strong proponents of the right-to-choose movement in the US House. In one of her first public events for her new literary work, Kelley is expected to attend a Washington book-signing party to benefit a political wing of Planned Parenthood. Sheehy moves in similar political circles, has donated to Democratic candidates and supporting groups in the past, and most recently joined Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore in writing section introductions for a new book published by, the 527 which is spending millions of dollars on ads attacking President Bush.

While Democratic activists are eagerly awaiting the release of the Kelley book and the press attention it may generate, one Democratic strategist with the experience of having worked on numerous presidential campaigns is not so sure this is the “silver bullet” that Kerry needs. “What does it say about our campaign if we put our chips on Kitty Kelley? These charges have been out there for years,” said the strategist, “most have to do with the time before Bush ‘found God,’ and I’m not sure that rehashing them on the ridiculous network ‘celebrity news’ programs will help with the undecided vote.”