Friday, August 20, 2004

He doth protest too much

As a new Kerry ad attacking the Swiftvets heads for the airwaves, Kerry and campaign mouthpieces are complaining that he has to spend ad money in August. They say they hadn't planned to, prefering to save it up for September-October, and isn't it just awful that they need to talk more about Kerry's war record? Call me a cynic, but are these really complaints?

Kerry yesterday suggested that the Swiftvets not only gave aid and comfort to Bush, but that they did so at Bush's behest. "If he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on," challenged Kerry, and I don't think the enthusiasm was feigned. If the past two weeks of the Swiftvet's case are any indication, I think that's an avenue Kerry would very much like to travel. Sound implausable? Well, what would we be talking about if we weren't talking about Kerry's war record?

For starters, we might be taking a step back to ask ourselves about the relevance of a four-month stint on a swift boat 35 years ago to the question of whether or not a man is qualified to lead our country. He is neither the only man who had responsibility in Vietnam, nor the only one who came out of it with medals - he is however the only one claiming it qualifies him to be leader of the free world. In his place, I'd rather be discussing the veracity of my record than the validity of that claim any day.

You see, if that claim weren't valid, then the discussion would need to turn to elsewhere. Someone besides the Bush campaign might notice that I'd spent a couple decades in a high legislative office, and decide that this might be more relevant to a presidential bid. In fact, some people have noticed exactly this, but they're difficult to hear over the din of attacks against the Swiftvets. That would suit me just fine.

A recent Bush ad notes Kerry's abysmal Intelligence Comittee attendance record. At a time when intelligence failures are under scrutiny, we might instead be talking about what role Kerry may have played in them. It's tough to put a positive spin on skipping a year's worth of meetings after the 1993 WTC attack against that sort of backdrop. Nope, I don't think I could do it - more war record for me, please.

Of course, if I somehow dodged those discussions, I might be compelled to get even more relevant still - I might have to divulge my Sooper-Sekrit Plan™ for America. Why would I want to talk about what I intend to do as president when everyone can argue over how I got rice grains in my ass? I mean really, look at this ass - isn't that more important than my plans for this country? Ok, I guess not, but the debates are still coming. So far Bush's only attempt to define a president Kerry is the claim that I'll raise taxes, so why should I define a president Kerry either. That takes away all-important wriggle room, and besides - Republicans haven't yet learned to critisize a plan they haven't heard.

So... how upset can Kerry actually be that we "have" to talk about his war record some more? Kerry's cadre will have to keep telling us he's heroic, and the national media has a pretext to continue ripping the Swiftvets without actually addressing most of their claims. Compared to the alternatives, that must be music to Kerry's ears. In fact, I'd like to hear tape of his statement again - he might have actually said "Bring it on, please".


Blogger Jane said...

Well, Kerry could clear up a lot by releasing his military records like Bush did. But there's not much of a way to wiggle out of the video or the fact that we all say gengis khan and he says jangis khan.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But he did release them! They're in his campaign office, like he said! Wait... no, then he said that they weren't, didn't he. KERRY LIED! PEOPLE... um, WERE MISLEAD!

7:51 PM  

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