Friday, August 20, 2004

Smearing His "Band Of Brothers"

The Washington Post took its cuts at the Swiftboat Vets yesterday. Today it was the New York Times’ turn. surveys the blogosphere’s deconstruction of the Times’ predictable effort:

“Patterico writes on the New York Times SwiftVets piece mentioned below:

I don't think I have ever seen such a partisan hit piece in my life…

The article then spends an incredible amount of space detailing this "web of connections," which boils down to this: John O'Neill, a successful lawyer in Houston, knows some influential Republicans in Texas. He even knows people, including current and former law partners, who know George Bush and Karl Rove.


Full disclosure time: I feel an ethical obligation to reveal my "web of connections" to Democrats. I share an office with someone whose friend is married to Democrat California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. No kidding. The grandmother of one of my best friends is an ardent Democrat who knows Hillary Clinton. I have good friends, colleagues, and former employers who have contributed thousands to John Kerry. I am married to a Democrat, and her entire family is 100% Democrats. At least one of her family members thinks George W. Bush is one of the most evil men alive.

This is all absolutely true. And I could go on. Why, if I were any good at Photoshopping, I could make you a pretty cool chart with these facts.

Anyway. Apparently, some of the Republicans that O'Neill knows don't like Kerry. Go figure.

“Tellingly, he notes that the Cambodia story is buried at the end:

What is both amazing and utterly predictable is that the "Christmas in Cambodia" story is saved for the very end. This is the one accusation made by the Vets where the facts are clear - and the facts show that Kerry was not truthful, as even the Kerry campaign has had to admit. How does the New York Times characterize the "Christmas in Cambodia" story? Take a deep breath. It says that the story is "the one allegation in the book that Mr. Kerry's campaign has not been able to put to rest."

Not "the allegation that has forced Mr. Kerry's campaign to explain that Mr. Kerry has not been telling the truth." Just the one allegation that they haven't yet "put to rest."…If you think that the New York Times would downplay a clear story of Bush unmistakably lying about an event he claimed was a turning point in his life, raise your hand.

“They're spinning furiously. Ed Morrissey has much more on this:

Curiously, the story that the Times has yet to cover for its readers is put last on the list: the Cambodian Christmas myth. After impugning the credibility of the Swiftvets for four full sections, the Times finally acknowledges that the Swiftvets were right about the story that Kerry once said was "seared - seared" into his memory and as used for at least 25 years to explain his political activism.

“The Cambodia story is straightforward, and easy to understand, and the Kerry campaign has already admitted that it wasn't true. It makes Kerry look terrible. So naturally it's minimized in favor of complex eye-glazing stuff. Did I call it, or what?”

Indeed. And it wasn’t a difficult thing to do.

But here’s the kicker:

UPDATE: Reader Jim Bender emails: "With all the fuss and charges about coordination between 527 organizations and campaigns, I wondered, given today's article in the New York Times, if they are coordinating with the Kerry Campaign?"

Bingo. As I, myself, discussed earlier in the week, by grasping for the “impugn their motives as evil and partisan” angle, Team Kerry has only served to shine a big, fat spotlight on the vast array of hard-left 527s that have been hurling a hundred times as much slime at the President far worse than anything the poor Swifties could ever have dreamed of since even before he took office. And today the White House gleefully pounced.

The Bush-Cheney campaign isn't about to let Senator John Kerry's hypocritical attacks on outside groups' advertising go unchallenged.

Kerry and company are screaming about Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's $550,000 ad campaign in a mere three states, but White House spokesman Scott McClellan pointed out again today that Kerry has benefited from $62 million in ads spewed nationwide by Bush-hating pro-Democrat groups.

Kerry claimed today to a union in Boston that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was ‘a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know: He wants them to do his dirty work.’

McClellan noted: ‘We will never raise questions about his service. We haven't, and we won't.’

“He added: ‘Senator Kerry knows that his latest attack is false and baseless. The President has condemned all of the ads by the shadowy groups. We have called on Senator Kerry to join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money activity that is going on in this campaign."

So now, if Lurch wants to be taken seriously in his newfound disapproval of “unregulated soft money activity,” he’ll have to do with the Media Fund, America Coming Together, and, and all their rabid comrades precisely what he demands that Dubya do – actively condemn their actions, actively and permanently disavow them, and stop quietly benefiting from their bilious lies.

Will he do so? Of course not – he’s too busy smearing his “band of brothers,” and is now trying to get Regnery, the publisher of Unfit for Command, to stop distributing the book. Next he’ll have his thugs – sorry, “campaign workers” – stealing and confiscating as many copies as they can, throwing them in a big pile, and burning them.

Once that bonfire is concluded, they’ll have to start on the next book, The Many Faces of John Kerry - Why This Masschusetts Liberal Is Wrong For America, which picks up where Unfit leaves off and systematically demolishes Kerry's post-Vietnam political life.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the Swiftboat Vets are putting out another ad? This one, entitled “Sellout,” focuses on his slanderous testimony against his “band of brothers” before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 in which he accused them of having “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, randomly shot at civilians, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam…” – not to mention freely admitting doing such things himself. Pay particular attention to two comments:

Ken Cordier: “That was part of the torture, was, uh, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes.”

Paul Gallanti: “John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my, uh, comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, uh, took torture to avoid saying.”

This is devastating. Utterly devastating.

The Swifties are playing John Kerry like a kazoo. They ran their first ad, knowing how Kerry would respond with escalating personal attacks against them in lieu of any attempt at refuting their allegations. And now that that smear campaign has reached full throttle they bring out their second ad highlighting how he smeared them thirty-four years ago – illustrating that, in essence, nothing has changed.

The question rising to prominence in my mind is how long it will be before Kerry collapses in the polls. As long as his party and the press think he can win this election, they’ll stick with him. But some are already beginning to hedge their bets (Marty Schram, Helen Thomas), as I discussed earlier in the week, while others (Tom Harkin, Paul Begala, and last night, Chris Matthews) are becoming decidedly angry and flustered in full public view.

According to

John Kerry's support among veterans has collapsed in the wake of revelations by fellow Swift Boat veterans who say he lied about his combat record, a CBS News poll released Thursday shows.

In the three weeks since the Democratic convention, Kerry's lead among veterans has plummeted by a whopping 19 points, and he now trails President Bush in this key demographic 55% to 37%.

In an August 3rd CBS poll taken after Kerry spotlighted his combat record at the Democratic convention, the top Democrat actually led Bush among veterans, 48% to 47%.

The new numbers represent the worst showing by Kerry since CBS began sampling veterans in late May. Back then, Kerry trailed Bush by 13 points with vets. In July, just prior to the convention, Kerry had closed that gap to just 6 points.

Kerry's plummeting support from his "band of brothers" was likely reflected in internal polls by the campaign, prompting the top Democrat to complain publicly for the first time on Thursday about the Swiftvets, whose new book, Unfit for Command, became an instant best seller when it was released this week.

But Kerry's decision to confront the issue personally may have backfired: While the mainstream media had previously all but ignored the Swiftvets, their claims received extensive coverage in Thursday and Friday news cycles, including a front-page above-the-fold report in the New York Times.

The poll also shows that white Catholics, who once supported Kerry (Catholic) over Bush (Protestant) by double digits, now split their vote evenly between the two.

And just today, according to the most recent state polls, not only has Ohio moved back into the “leaning Bush” column, and Michigan and Florida moved back into the “tossup” column, but California has become a tossup as well.

If President Bush gets the level of bounce from his convention that the Boston Balker did not from his, don’t be surprised if the sane portion of the “anybody but Bush” crowd decides that discretion is the better part of valor, and takes a walk on their “war hero.”