I thought last week was the best week of the campaign for Team Bush. Kerry showed his populist credentials by jetting off to his wife's $7 million ski lodge for some much needed rest and relaxxation with his rich friends. Just the thing a laid-off auto worker can identify with. The Bush ads started in earnest, featuring Kerry pompously declaring "I voted for the $87 billion, then voted against it." There's a slogan to energize the voters. This week by contrast was a horror for Bush, courtesy of turncoat weasel Richard Clarke. Starting with Leslie Stahl's infomercial for his book, Clarke pretty much ruled the airways and used it to jab his poison pen into the eyesockets of his former bosses, Condi Rice and the President. The Republicans managed to get their response machinery started by the end of the week and issued stock statements that Clarke was a disgruntled former employee with an odd memory and a habit of saying whatever people wanted to hear. Since they had vetted his book--query, couldn't they have held it up until after the election???--they knew what he was going to say. Still, they seemed unprepared and were clearly wrongfooted by the media savvy Clarke. They had to use valuable time and resources to attack and discredit Clarke, when the target should have been Kerry. Given the shellacking Kerry took last week, they might have been able to end this fight on a second round TKO, but their ineptness coupled with Clarke's mendacity equalled a bad week for the boys from the Lone Star state. There is however a silver lining. The single issue before voters now is the fight against terrorism. Bush has to like his odds against Kerry if the election is decided on that issue. The Clarke storm will pass, but the image of Hanoi John standing proudly with Jane Fonda will not. Voters don't trust the Democrats on security issues and with good reason. Kerry, as the last term's single most liberal senator, has to overcome that burden. While Clarke damaged Bush's reputation slightly, he did nothing to enhance Kerry's credentials. Bush can still point out that had Kerry been in office, Saddam would not only still control Iraq, he would control Kuwait and perhaps Saudi Arabia as well.