Today's unusually poorly written WHLetter, mysteriously entitled Taking the High Road, the Low Road and Maybe a Boulder or Two, starts off like a harmless, light-hearted compare-and-contrast piece about the biking habits of the two presidential candidates. I was willing to overlook the mention that BushCo's gift bike cost roughly a quarter of the one that Sen. Kerry bought for himself. Facts are facts. But when Ms. Bumiller brought up as an example of poor sportsmanship the 'training wheels' comment that Sen. Kerry made upon hearing of BushCo's famous header on all that wet ground in Crawford, without acknowledging that it was a play on BushCo's idiotic comment about the training wheels coming off Iraq on June 30, she lost the benefit of the doubt I was so generously giving her.
Read the column if you can bear it. Or save time and simply remind yourself of the RNC's pet Kerry memes: Kerry, the road biker, is a weak rich guy with a mean streak. He's nobody you'd want to have a beer with. BushCo, the mountain biker, is strong and vigorous. His "intense" bike trips give the Secret Service agents who ride with him sore muscles. Just so you're completely clear on the point that road biking is for wimps, Ms. Bumiller includes a comparison of mountain biking and road biking:
"It's a much different type of exercise," said Stephen Madden, the editor of Bicycling and Mountain Bike magazines. "Mountain biking involves a lot of up and down, and it also can involve a lot of technical expertise in jumping logs and rocks."
(The ground was wet and there were probably LOGS!)
Honestly, Sen. Kerry can't buy BushCo's coverage in the NYTimes. I'm desperate to hear how Okrent, who's planning to look at the political reporting some time before the election, justifies almost weekly puff pieces like this one with no balancing effort for the Kerry camp.
In case you don't want to bother reading the 900 words Ms. Bumiller strings together, and who would blame you, here's the bit about the training wheels:
When Mr. Bush had his spill, Mr. Kerry's reaction rapidly coursed through political cyberspace. According to The Drudge Report, Mr. Kerry said to reporters in what he believed was an off-the-record remark, "Did the training wheels fall off?"
The Chicago Sun-Times then reported that Chicago's Democratic mayor, Richard M. Daley - who ripped the skin off his kneecap in a bicycle accident a few years ago - had scolded Mr. Kerry for the wisecrack. "You should not wish ill upon anyone," Mr. Daley said.