Sunday, September 05, 2004
Kerry campaign implosion + collapse becoming truly sad & pathetic
The latest efforts by John Kerry supporters going back to the Bush AWOL stuff is amongst a legacy of stuff cooked up or repackaged the Democrats over the years Bush has been a public figure and not something which is going to make any difference in this election. It was re-introduced to help prop up the "Bush Lied" propaganda as well as to help either Howard Dean (who went skiing on his deferments), John Edwards (who didn't serve anywhere ever at all) or John Kerry (then believing his war record and thinking it could pit a strength against weakness). Recall in 1992 John Kerry took to the floor of the Senate and decried any consideration of Bill Clinton's burning his draft card or protesting against the US from foreign soil. If there was a real issue to be had there then GHWB #41 would have been seen as preferable to Clinton and we'd be calling Bob Dole "President", not "Senator", today.
All this stuff truly does is weaken John Kerry and further perpetuates him as a candidate focused on the past and still fighting a 30 year old war. Meanwhile Bush comes out with his convention speech and effectively introduces a forward looking agenda - dispute it or debate on or of the merits aside - that even his most strident critics (read David Broder in Washington Post) had to admire. Kerry's whole convention was focused nearly entirely on Vietnam including the absurdly stupid Dukakis-tank-pose-esque "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty!" silliness. The Bush campaign was wise to avoid it and are lucky that John O'Neill was swept into the campaign when he watched the first replaying of the Dick Cavett debate from 1971.
NY Times conspiracy charts aside - it's truly as it seems; O'Neill was in the hospital after giving a kidney to his wife; he saw the debate replayed on C-SPAN (as did I). A couple weeks later C-SPAN folks tracked him down and had him on as a guest in their weekday interview + call-in program. The SwiftVets were already irked from Kerry's appearance at their reunion the prior year and all were approaching boiling point after reading Kerry's authorized biography "Tour of Duty" by Douglas Brinkley (seeing how events were mis-portrayed, realizing Kerry had been lying to them, individually, and filing false reports, etc., on top of reminding them of his 1971 testimony and anti-war escapades, not to mention the FOIA request of VVAW records from the FBI revealing / confirming Kerry met with Madame Binh and the Vietnamese Communists at the Paris Peace Talks in France). All of these things are the origin of "Unfit for Command" and the SwiftVets' efforts to help defeat him.
Now, here's what some know that most folks don't and why I'm really, really laughing when reading the advice coming out from Susan Estrich and their like in response to the RNC last week that Kerry hasn't been mean enough, etc., the level of hate being espoused so far is not high enough, yet, even the "Bush = Hitler" stuff isn't over the top enough yet, so they're going to start dumping all their garbage back out again ... only, this time, with a higher level of hyperbolic vitriol, this has all the makings of a Dukakis level landslide and I imagine now just a matter of time before the Deaniacs start abandoning Kerry in droves once they realized how much they've been played as true suckers and outright fools by the DNC and Kerry campaign. From the other side it's truly hilarious & the meltdown in the press and actual, unbelievable implosion witnessed live, nationwide on Thursday night, with Kerry at best drunk and, at worst, totally incapable of sustaining any acceptable level of decency and composure, is really, truly amazing for a modern day presidential campaign.
Kerry's service experience - is not as being portrayed for the media. Set aside the fact he went, he served and faced combat - which warrants praise, honor & respect. Kerry would have been wise to have kept it like that but, the problem is, he's a one trick pony. All he's ever done in his life worthy of any real accolade is his Vietnam service. His senate record and other experiences since, while appealing to the left, is not something he wants anybody truly investigating (why nothing from 1970-s through today was discussed at the Democrat National Convention). In the past he's relied on the same set of tactics & we witnessed exactly the same M/O in the 1996 Weld race. The only problem for him here, today, is that he had to use Rassman during the primaries, to win Iowa, when Rassman had long been tucked away for his presidential race. Seriously, every campaign he's run has resulted in his spontaneous "finding" and bringing out of somebody from his boat, to great accolades, upon which he follows-up by attacking his opponent(s) for not serving in one way or another. The primaries also brought forth Fred Short (who served with him for a few days and was rewarded himself on the very first as Kerry plotted his Silver Star scenario). Rassman - I truly believe, based on his way of doing these things every time in the past - was long held in reserve for "grand reunion" to take him over the top in the Presidential Campaign - but things didn't work out that way; Dean spiked and Kerry had to pull Rassman up, once again, to win the Democrat primaries, leaving him without anybody left for the campaign season now.
Now here's where Kerry's vulnerable today & why this AWOL stuff is so, so, so stupid for them to be using, considering, however, they didn't use their convention to put forth any agenda and now don't have anything left:
Kerry has effectively refused to release his military and medical records. Reviewing the records on his site reveal any number of disparities which the Navy has now officially noted indicate falsehoods and an official investigation is underway. The selected records Kerry has released show some rather damning facts or discrepancies which make the whole Bush / AWOL stuff look all the more stupid and silly in comparison.
1st - the whole spin proffered that Kerry "volunteered" for service and combat is absurd; Kerry - by his own admissions in his own biography and elsewhere - joined the Naval Reserve (like the National Guard) after his attempted deferment for school in France was rejected and he faced draft. He never had "two tours of duty" (first year was spent on the USS Gridley which guarded our California coast & didn't qualify) - and the second "tour" only involved 3 months in combat - a far cry from the 12 months which - for all other vets - characterize a tour. Not a big deal except that it's the only claim to any office - from failed Congressional bid to POTUS - he's ever really had & remaining experience doesn't play outside Massachusetts (heck even there he faced tough races with Weld and others over the years).
Next are the lies that Kerry opted for combat in Swift Boats - to the contrary, at the time he volunteered for Swift Boats they were being used for non-combat related patrols and the reenacted videos he produced with his own super-8 camera (he then told his mini-"band of brothers" would be used) for his pre-planned presidential campaign with their silly depictions of Kerry posing as an Army infantrymen with hand grenades hanging from the vest he's wearing and carrying his gun pointed at his feet.
Finally is the real question about Kerry's term of service and the appearance that HE - KERRY - vs Bush - was the one who was, actually, indeed, AWOL. Note that Kerry signed up for 6 years of service in 1966 but wasn't discharged until 1978. Why? Because Kerry's records have been redone. On his campaign site he omits the periods from 1971-1972, presumably because that included the periods he was (now even admittedly - Michael Kranish and Patrick Healy article in Boston Globe "Kerry Spoke of Meeting Negotiators in Paris", March 25, 2004) actually negotiating with our enemy and representatives of Communist / North Vietnam while a Naval Officer and our troops were at war. It's also being questioned if Kerry was possibly court martialed during that period, something which was commonplace during that time and would explain why those periods are excluded from the records he chooses to release and would be explainable if he took advantage of the amnesty later offered to such folks by Jimmy Carter.
Many of Kerry's revised documents were purportedly signed by John Lehman, then Secretary of the Navy and recent member of 9/11 commission, who doesn't have any explanation for what or why Kerry had all these records changed and otherwise knows nothing further to explain it, leading to this official investigation which the Navy's Inspector General announced would be undertaken last week. Why Kerry refuses to release the records is certainly a quandary when all he has to do is sign Form 180. On August 22, 2004, Washington Post noted "Although Kerry campaign officials insist that they have published Kerry's full military records on their Web site (with the exception of medical records shown briefly to reporters earlier this year), they have not permitted independent access to his original Navy records. A Freedom of Information Act request by The Post for Kerry's records produced six pages of information. A spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, Mike McClellan, said he was not authorized to release the full file, which consists of at least a hundred pages."
All this stuff would be moot if weren't for a bankruptcy of any kind of sellable message on the part of the Democrats and need to focus near exclusively on his Vietnam record. Even the anti-war supporters are becoming disengaged because of Kerry's latest stance & further flip-flops on Iraq (first falling into an obvious trap set by Bush challenging Kerry to state whether, knowing all he knows now, if he still supported his vote for the war resolution before moving back to an anti-war stance and declaring Bush "unfit" for "misleading America into war"). It's frustrating, I'm sure, to see Bush keep spinning circles around the Kerry campaign when Bush is supposed to be an idiot and Kerry portrayed as this intellectual who, everyday, it seems, makes another outrageous gaffe in one way or another. Yesterday, in his latest attempt to portray himself as a "common man", he stepped in it again, providing another classic photo-op (image above) awkwardly handling a shot gun and using ammunition enthusiasts noted Kerry probably didn't even realize he has repeatedly voted against in the Senate. No wonder Teresa took ill on the campaign trail yesterday after Newsweek poll came out showing Bush up 11 after Wednesday and up 16 on Friday following his Thursday evening convention speech.
Unfortunately for Kerry campaign and its supporters, Kerry is truly - as I've always observed - a one trick pony and the latest additions to his stump speech ala "Well, I'm going to leave it to the voters to decide whether to vote for Cheney, who got 5 deferments, or me serving two tours of duty" are just not going to cut it in an election which is supposed to be focused on the future and which the Bush campaign has effectively exploited, not only in their own presentation of what many consider a compelling agenda combined with the opening left by the Kerry campaign to define his Senate career on Republican terms instead of Democrats' by refusing to discuss anything other than Vietnam and hatred of Bush during their convention.
The implosion & collapse of the Kerry campaign is something to behold for politicos and spectators alike but it's not very pretty, rather sad, truly pathetic, really, and, with Kerry's never questioning himself or correcting problems and only / always seeks to blame & attack others, it appears destined to only get much, I suspect much worse for Kerry in the coming weeks remaining leaving most supporters left waiting & openly wanting to celebrate the 1000th death in Iraq & hoping for some other kind of economic or terrorist inflicted catastrophe they can latch onto. Meanwhile the justifiable outrage felt by many of his supporters over being had as badly as they were has got to yield justifiable resentment against the DNC party bosses who suckered them into this mess and they now see he's sold the anti-war protestor folks out as quickly as he sold out his comrades who languished in notorious communist Viet Cong prisons like "Skid Row" and "The Hanoi Hilton".