It’s been a bad week for President Bush, or so they say. After all, he was accused of being a traitor by a man who accepted campaign funds from the Red Chinese, a deserter by a man who shilled for an overt draft-dodger, embarrassed by his hand-picked weapons inspector and probably most dire of all, he had a less-than-inspiring appearance on a Sunday morning talk show. Or so they say.

As is usual, even among conservatives, people tend to believe the media’s lyin’ eyes over their own ears. And as is even more prevalent, the majority of folks rely entirely upon the media to analyze events they haven’t bothered to witness. I call this phenomenon the “Al Gore is a fierce debater” syndrome.

In the run-up to the 2000 election, pundit after pundit warned that the veep’s ace in the hole would be his utter domination of the tongue-tied cowboy when they squared off in the debate arena. Many on the right agreed, fretting fearfully that all would be lost once the candidates toed the rostrum rubber. Suffice to say that if one actually watched Gore’s debates, the only opponent he ever faced who had brains plus personality was Dan Quayle, who cleaned his clock in ’92. Ditto, George W. Bush in 2000.

Most talking heads, including some on the right thought the president was uninspired, defensive and even repetitive during his “Meet The Press” appearance. If anyone was repetitive, it was grand inquisitor Russert who asked about the lack of WMDs and pre-emptive war in Iraq no less than 16 times in the show’s first segment alone. And it was Russert who was knocked for a loop when Bush sternly admonished him when he tried to interrupt the president addressing the parents of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. The second half of the show was then dominated by the president’s good-natured banter and quick wit.

To be sure, David Kay’s announcement that he did not think WMDs would be found in Iraq was, at face value, cause for consternation on the right and jubilation on the left. But President Bush faced it with equanimity and grace, neither castigating Kay nor calling for the ouster of obvious fall guy George Tenet. He instead called for yet another bi-partisan investigation into the matter and welcomed the opportunity to improve the intelligence-collection process.

Sunday night saw the reappearance of Al Gore in his best Billy Sunday mode, ranting against the evil that is George W. Bush. His spittle-laced tirade in which he shrieked that the president “betrayed the country,” was given little, if any, air time by the mainstream media. His charge that Bush deceived the country, however, was and is being given much lip-service by those more (or less) in control of their faculties. This is actually good news for Bush supporters who may recall the fate of those who trafficked in “Bush knew” conspiracy theories after 9-11. Though they are constantly urged otherwise, the majority of the American people trust their commander-in-chief.

Less attention still was given to a report in the New York Times of all places concerning a memo purportedly written by top al-Qaida thug Abu Musab Zarqawi lamenting his growing belief that the U.S-led coalition is winning the war on terror.

Mr. Zarqawi, who operated out of the Ansar al-Islam camp in northern Iraq before the war, states: “We can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like what has happened in so many lands of jihad. … Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. … By God, this is suffocation.” I’m sure that a comparable disclosure by a top Nazi SS officer during World War II would have been similarly ignored.

As for the “Bush was a drunken, draft-avoiding deserter” wing of the Democrat Party, it would seem as if they, too, had a good week. Just as in the late unlamented “six words” controversy last summer, the liberal media is obsessing over what they think is a hot issue but is really, to paraphrase Dorothy Fields, as cold as yesterday’s mashed potatoes.

Seeking to bolster their presumptive candidate John Forbes Kerry’s military record (did you know he served in Vietnam?), they have slandered a good man’s service record and demeaned all who served and continue to serve in the National Guard. This will not play well to a nation at war.

But worst of all for them, every time their minions regurgitate the AWOL story, a gorgeous photo of Lt. George W. Bush, young and handsome in his uniform is beamed all over the world. Not a bad week, not at all.

Lisa Fabrizio was a weekly columnist for the recently shuttered Toogood Reports website, writing on politics, sports and social issues. She lives in Stamford, Conn.

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