Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC @ MSG: Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

I’d never vote for the man if he ran for president, but goodness, can that man communicate, as Tom Bevan of realclearpolitics.com observed:

Rudy's speech was, in a word, brilliant. More than anyone else living today, Rudy embodies and personifies the courage and strength of our country on September 11. His remembrances last night were like a transport in time back to that fateful day, and his heartfelt recollections of President Bush during that time struck me as powerful reminders, not only of why many people like Bush, but of what we face in the war on terror.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is a more effective weapon against a political opponent than ridicule. Giuliani's attack on Kerry's record of flip-flopping on serious issues was, I thought, one of the most devastating I've seen this year. It was done with humor, with wit, and with perfect timing. Rudy's line about understanding why Edwards thinks there should be two Americas - one America where Kerry can vote one way and another where he can vote the opposite - couldn't have been done better by Jay Leno or Dave Letterman.

But after all the laughter ended the message Rudy left was a deadly serious one: John Kerry does not have the courage and ability to lead with resolve as Commander in Chief.

The Mayor’s remarks went long, and he took frequent departures from the teleprompter, but his delivery was so seamless – and so, well, Rudy, that you didn’t really notice. It also helped that he was very entertaining, using humor to leaven what some commentators fretted would be seen as “slashing partisan attacks.”

Gee, slashing partisan attacks at a political convention? Perish the thought.

So long as President Bush is our President, is there any doubt that they will continue to hear from us?

As Dave Niehaus would say, “Swung on and belted! Deep to right field! That one will fly, fly away…!”

Thank God Bush is our President, and thank God Dick Cheney, with his knowledge and his experience, is our Vice President!

No matter what happens in this election, George W. Bush has already earned his place in history as a great American president.

Giuliani showed us how we got to this point, ripping Europe’s appeasement of terrorism, clearer and tougher than President Bush ever would:

Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. It had been festering for many years.

And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed. The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. And the pattern had already begun. The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government.

Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.

In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer. They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.

Some of those terrorist were released and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals. So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, was ‘accommodation, appeasement and compromise.’ And worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack.

Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table. How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize when he was supporting a terrorist plague in the Middle East that undermined any chance of peace?

This, my friends, is an absolute tour-de-force. A veritable history of the war that began several decades ago and of which we took little notice until that bright, blue September morning.

How’s this for a full-throated cry of New Yorker defiance?

It doesn't matter how [Bush] is demonized. It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.

They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom.

Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership.

Badda-boom, badda-bing, badda-BANG!

And then this barrage at the Boston Balker:

[I]t is important to see the contrast in approach between the two men;

President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts, and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often even on important issues.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.

And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, ‘I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.’

Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas - one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.

By this point I was envisioning Kerry as Neo in The Matrix when he’s fighting Morpheus in the virtual combat training simulation. None of the action was really taking place in the “real” world, but the ass-kicking Neo took left him bleeding for real when they exited the program.

Wherever Brah-Man was last night, he must have needed smelling salts after this beating.

And still it continued:

President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over thirty years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defense.

He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow.

John Kerry's claim that certain foreign leaders who opposed our removal of Saddam Hussein prefer him, raises the risk that he would accommodate his position to their viewpoint.

Devastating. Simply devastating.

Remember in the opening video montage of Rocky III, when Clubber Lang is working his way up the rankings, and in his final bout before challenging Balboa he punches out his hapless opponent when he’s already on his knees?

And then, this wonderful anecdote that was so, well, Bush:

I remember President Bush coming here on September 14, 2001 and lifting the morale of our rescue workers by talking with them and embracing them and staying with them much longer than originally planned.

In fact, if you promise to keep it just between us so I don't get in trouble it was my opinion that the Secret Service was concerned about the President remaining so long in that area.

With buildings still unstable, with fires raging below ground of 2000 degrees or more, there was good reason for concern.

Well the President remained there and talked to everyone, the firefighters, the police officers, the healthcare workers, the clergy, but the people who spent the most time with him were our construction workers.

Now New York construction workers are very special people. I'm sure this is true all over but I know the ones here the best. They were real heroes along with many others that day, volunteering immediately. And they're big, real big. Their arms are bigger than my legs and their opinions are even bigger than their arms.

Now each one of them would engage the President and I imagine like his cabinet give him advice.

They were advising him in their own words on exactly what he should do with the terrorists. Of course I can't repeat their exact language.

But one of them really went into great detail and upon conclusion of his remarks President Bush said in a rather loud voice, ‘I agree.’

At this point the guy just beamed and all his buddies turned toward him in amazement.

The guy just lost it.

So he reached over, embraced the President and began hugging him enthusiastically.

A Secret Service agent standing next to me looked at the President and the guy and instead of extracting the President from this bear hug, he turned toward me and put his finger in my face and said, ‘If this guy hurts the President, Giuliani you're finished.’

Meekly, and this is the moral of the story, I responded, ‘but it would be out of love.’

Thanks to the passage of time and the efforts of the DisLoyal Opposition, the picture of September 11thhas grown fuzzy over the last three years. Monday night it started coming back into focus. The gradual case of comfortable amnesia is over. The message of Messrs Silver, McCain, and Giuliani is only four words long and oughtn’t be a Republican or Democratic message, but an American message: WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

But as a collective entity, the Democrats have.

And it will be their undoing.

RNC @ MSG: 9/11 Tribute

The 9/11 tribute was moving and motivational. The KerrySpot summed it up well:

It will be hard for Terry McAuliffe and company to accuse the Republican Party of exploiting 9/11 in light of the comments by the widow and the sister of the passengers on Flight 93. What was the GOP supposed to say, ‘No, you're not allowed to speak at our convention’?

In my humble opinion, this was miles ahead of the schmaltzy Glenn Close speech and musical tribute at the Democratic Convention.”

It was miles ahead because it was real. Distill all Republican-Democrat differences down to one essence, and what you get is that Republicans are genuine, and Democrats are phony, because Democrats cannot be honest about what they believe and have a hope in hades of winning nationally. Eight years of Bill Clinton spoiled those people, and they’re still only beginning to discover how tough that spin machine is to operate on their own.

All year Dems have been warning – warning! – Republicans not to “politically exploit” 9/11, even while launching an unending moldy stream of libelous attacks on the President regarding that hideous watershed event. Monday night in the heart of liberaldom, the GOP told their foes where they could shove their cynical, hypocritical “advice.”

No wonder the networks didn’t cover it.

RNC @ MSG: John McCain

John McCain’s address seemed kind of flat to me, like he couldn’t find his rhythm or his Viagra. Just seemed like he lacked energy. Wonder if that was because his assigned task was to speak on behalf of his one-time bitter rival from 2000?

Still, he did a decent job of advancing the ball, and got off some good lines – and one spectacular one.

In a time of deep distress at home, as tyranny strangled the aspirations to liberty of millions, and as war clouds gathered in the West and East, Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted his party's nomination by observing:

’There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.’

The awful events of September 11, 2001 declared a war we were vaguely aware of, but hadn't really comprehended how near the threat was, and how terrible were the plans of our enemies.

It's a big thing, this war.

Well, “Sailor” may have denied having eloquence a couple grafs earlier, but that last line said so much with so little. It is a “big thing,” indeed, which is precisely what the other side refuses to acknowledge.

It's a fight between a just regard for human dignity and a malevolent force that defiles an honorable religion by disputing God's love for every soul on earth. It's a fight between right and wrong, good and evil.

And should our enemies acquire for their arsenal the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek, this war will become a much bigger thing.

So it is, whether we wished it or not, that we have come to the test of our generation, to our rendezvous with destiny.

There’s the tie-in with Iraq, as well as next-door neighbor Iran.

We are engaged in a hard struggle against a cruel and determined adversary. Our enemies have made clear the danger they pose to our security and to the very essence of our culture: liberty.

Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war.

Like all wars, this one will have its ups and downs.

But we must fight. We must.

Target: Kerry’s irresolute pacifism. Salvo launched, target destroyed.

[A]ll Americans must share a resolve to see this war through to a just end. We must not be complacent at moments of success, and we must not despair over setbacks. We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.

If we do less, we will fail the one mission no American generation has ever failed: to provide to our children a stronger, better country than the one we were blessed to inherit.

Proper perspective and a recitation of the stakes, in four concise sentences. Very nice.

Remember how we felt when the serenity of a bright September morning was destroyed by a savage atrocity so hostile to all human virtue we could scarcely imagine any human being capable of it.

We were united. First, in sorrow and anger. Then in recognition we were attacked not for a wrong we had done, but for who we are a people united in a kinship of ideals, committed to the notion that the people are sovereign, not governments, not armies, not a pitiless, inhumane theocracy, not kings, mullahs or tyrants, but the people.

In that moment, we were not different races. We were not poor or rich. We were not Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. We were not two countries.

We were Americans.

Note the tense. Which side was it that broke ranks again after barely six months of this unity and resumed putting party over country? McCain didn’t even have to say it, it’s so obvious.
Here he looked like he was beginning to freelance, but he brought it back around to another haymaker point.

My friends in the Democratic Party and I'm fortunate to call many of them my friends assure us they share the conviction that winning the war against terrorism is our government's most important obligation. I don't doubt their sincerity. They emphasize that military action alone won't protect us, that this war has many fronts: in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy. They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies.

We agree.

And, as we've been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle.

Bang! Alliance is a two-way street. And where were France and Germany, the only “allies” John Kerry seems willing to acknowledge? In Saddam Hussein’s back pocket. That line landed with both feet.

I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.

Were you listening, Bushophobic 527s? The ears of those not passed out in tequila comas must have been burning.

Now here is where it started building to spectacular.

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq. Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone. The years of keeping Saddam in a box were coming to a close. The international consensus that he be kept isolated and unarmed had eroded to the point that many critics of military action had decided the time had come again to do business with Saddam, despite his near daily attacks on our pilots, and his refusal, until his last day in power, to allow the unrestricted inspection of his arsenal.

Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.”

Wait for it, wait for it…

And certainly not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls.

The delegates went absolutely bananas. McCain couldn’t get past “filmmaker” for several whole minutes. And, as I had almost forgotten, Michael Moore was actually present in MSG as a “correspondent” for USA Today. It didn’t take long for the cameras to find him, the conceited, skuzzy, smelly, putrid, mendacious, obnoxious, bigoted, ignorant-and-damn-proud-of-it, morbidly obese eye of the perfect storm, smugly reveling in the disapprobation of the people whom he’d load on cattle cars to send to Alaska concentration camps if he had the power he dreams of.

Interestingly enough, Tuesday morning the publication announced that they were withdrawing Moore from the premises for the remainder of the week, though he will still fulfill his columnar obligation, which is kind of like hiring Roto-Rooter but telling them not to bring their hoses.

When order was finally restored, the “Maverick’s” ringing defense of Operation Iraqi Freedom was point made and seconded by acclamation. Indeed, it echoed and reinforced Ron Silver’s earlier remarks – Bush did indeed “do the right thing.”

[A]n absence of complacency should not provoke an absence of confidence. What our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach. It cannot be taken from us. It can only be surrendered.

Another toe-curlingly effective shot at Mr. French. And one for which he has no real, much less comprehensible, answer.

RNC @ MSG: Ron Silver

Alrighty, then. The Republican National Convention, night one.

Four basic highlights:

Ron Silver. Wow. First thing I thought was, “Hey, wasn’t he the same guy who complained about military aircraft flying overhead at Clinton’s first Inaugural only to be told by a companion that, ‘It’s okay, those are our planes now”? So what was he doing at the Republican Convention?

Only delivering what was arguably the best speech of the night, wherein he confessed to being a 9/11 Democrat and took his fellow Hollywoodies apart, brick by extremist brick.

I want to thank the President and the Republican Party for holding this event in my hometown, my father's hometown, my grandfather's and great grandfather's birthplace.

Just over 1,000 days ago, 2,605 of my neighbors were murdered at the World Trade Center - men, women and children - as they began their day on a brilliantly clear New York autumn morning, less than four miles from where I am now standing.

We will never forgive. Never forget. Never excuse!”

If this was artifice, it shows how good an actor he is. To me he came across as genuinely outraged. What better reminder of what was done to us on 9/11? We should all still feel that way.

We are again engaged in a war that will define the future of humankind. Responding to attacks on our soil, America has led a coalition of countries against extremists who want to destroy our way of life and our values.

This is a war we did not seek.

This is a war waged against us.

This is a war to which we had to respond.

“Led a coalition of countries” – beautiful. That should only be repeated several bazillion times over the next couple of months. And what better way to frame this conflict than in those three hammer-blow sentences?

History shows that we are not imperialists, but we are fighters for freedom and democracy.

Take that, Hollywood left!

Even though I am a well-recognized liberal on many issues confronting our society today, I find it ironic that many human rights advocates and outspoken members of my own entertainment community are often on the front lines to protest repression, for which I applaud them, but they are usually the first ones to oppose any use of force to take care of these horrors that they catalogue repeatedly.

Under the unwavering leadership of President Bush, the cause of freedom and democracy is being advanced by the courageous men and women serving in our armed services.

The President is doing exactly the right thing. That is why we need this president at this time!”

By this time I was pumping my fist. Here is that rarest of critters, a genuinely honest liberal who gets it. If “humanitarian” wars were considered a good thing by the left under Bill Clinton, why shouldn’t the humanitarian aspects of the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns be lauded by them as well?

Methinks there are quite a few more 9/11 Dems out there than Big Media is willing to acknowledge. Let Ron Silver, along with Ed Koch and Zell Miller, be their pied piper.

Richie Cohen Joins Kerry Campaign's Pall Bearers

Another lib pundit has jumped ship on the Boston Balker.

If it takes an apology [for libeling all Vietnam vets as “war criminals” before the Senate in 1971], if it takes saying he was once an angry young man who saw blood spilled in a dubious cause - then that's what he should say," writes Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

Otherwise Vietnam and its immediate aftermath will stick to him as has his complicated and too-nuanced position on the Iraq war.

This is a moment for Kerry to speak plainly, to embrace all Vietnam veterans and say that any suggestion that they were war criminals does not represent how he feels now and how he felt then," Cohen urges Lurch. "And if he gave the opposite impression, he's sorry.

Cohen says if Kerry fails to delivers a Vietnam apology soon, he risks becoming trapped in the kind of “rhetorical molasses’ that has hamstrung him on the Iraq war.

Hamstrung in the past…hamstrung in the present. And nowhere to go.

It’d take a big man to fess up to something like this. A man big enough to be president.

Now we’ll see just how much John Kerry wants it.

"Listless" Or Listing?

What happens to a presidential candidate who puts all his eggs into one basket, sees the basket get smashed, and has no backup plan? He becomes “listless.”

In mid-August, with the exception of the Gallup poll, there was not a national poll that did not have John Kerry leading George W. Bush. But about as fast as you can say Swift Boat Veterans for Transforming a Presidential Election, Kerry and his crew find themselves in disarray.”On Monday in Washington meetings were being held behind closed doors at the Kerry campaign, looking for ways to get its candidate and operation back on message.

What message? “I served in Vietnam” was his message. That message has been destroyed.

There were rumors circulating mid-day Monday of ‘major shakeups’ in the campaign, according to a Kerry adviser. ‘…I would bet that in a week, there are a few people here who aren't going to be here or with the campaign.’

Ah, yes, that would be the “blame everybody but myself” stage of Kerry’s implosion.

Candidate Kerry…was on the phone for much of Monday attempting to shore up support and encourage surrogate attacks against his opponent on a day that showed support for him crumbling around the edges in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio, all states that Kerry led in by as many as seven percentage points just two weeks ago.

Oh, wow, more surrogate attacks. What a fresh approach. That’s sure to work.

Wish I could have heard the “shoring up support” part. Watching arrogant liberals whine, beg, and grovel is endlessly diverting.

’This has been just a brutal two weeks for him,’ says another Kerry adviser. ‘He had people telling him the Swift Boat ads weren't going to take because the media was going to ignore them.’

Pity for his sake he didn’t listen to them.

’There are senior people around Kerry who were buying into all the press clippings that this was our campaign to lose. Well those people aren't going to be around after Labor Day. Heads have to roll over what has happened. Kerry has not been well served. And Kerry has not served the Democratic Party well, either. This has to be hugely disappointing.’

An arrogant liberal candidate has to fire his arrogant liberal staffers for being arrogant? And replace them with what? There’s no such thing as a humble liberal.

This will just ensure further mandatory doses of “humility” for the candidate until the conclusion – that it is Kerry who needs to be dispatched – is driven home on November 2nd.

The advisers pointed to further evidence that the campaign was losing focus last week. On Friday and Saturday, considered the last official days of campaigning before the Kerry campaign slowed down for the GOP convention week, Kerry had events in Washington state. During what was supposed to be a public forum in Everett, Kerry spoke for almost an hour before the audience could participate. ‘He lost the audience a half hour into the event,’ says a Democratic National Committee staffer who observed it. ‘It was miserable. Like the old Kerry we saw as a loser during the primary season.’

A similar scene played out the next day in Tacoma, where it appeared Kerry was attempting to kill his audience. Literally. At least five attendees to the rally required medical attention during Kerry's 45-minute speech.

“Like the old Kerry we saw as a loser during the primary season.” And what was it that vaulted him to the Dem nomination, other than Howard Dean’s self-immolation?

His Vietnam war hero gimmick.

Nine weeks before Election Day is awfully late in the game to try and re-invent yourself – especially if your decades-long penchant for doing so has become a manifest liability.

Tod Lingberg nailed it in Tuesday’s Washington Times:

’Reporting for duty’ grows more illustrative of the problem by the day: Democrats may have summoned [Kerry]…But Americans have not summoned him, at least not yet. Mr. Kerry has been acting as though they had. He concluded his speech as follows: ‘I will work my heart out. But, my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine. It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.’ Very good. Now, where is the part in which, with due humility, he asks people to vote for him?

Missing. Mr. Kerry has to a make a case for himself grounded in something other than his personal excellence. That, my fellow citizens, is in his hands.

And that cupboard is bare.

UPDATE: Wow – it isn’t just the American Spectator and Washington Times saying it, but Al F’ing Hunt.

Headline of his WSJ piece: “Kerry Campaign Weighs Shake-Up As Bush Gains Upper Hand in Race”

Remember the scene at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the villain picks the wrong grail and he ages a thousand years in thirty seconds?

Political Tourets Syndrome

Gotta go back to the left-wing rabble again because their extremist goofiness, as you might have expected, didn’t stay peaceful.

GOP convention protesters turned violent Monday night when NYPD cops tried to enforce security banning demonstrations within the three block security perimeter around Madison Square Garden, seriously injuring one policeman. Police say plain clothes Detective William Sample was yanked from his vehicle and punched and kicked until he was unconscious. ”Eleven demonstrators were arrested, but his attacker escaped, according to NY1 News.

Sample was hospitalized and is in stable condition with head injuries, which are not considered life threatening. The attack occurred during a march by the ‘Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign.’

The group of several thousand did not have a permit, but reportedly negotiated with police to let them march to the Garden. Law enforcement sources said they feared further incidents might mar Tuesday's proceedings, beginning with an expected protest outside a Texas delegation breakfast for Halliburton company.

Protesters have dubbed Tuesday ‘Direct Action Day,’ with disruptions and civil disobedience planned at different sites throughout New York City. Monday night's violence was in marked contrast to Sunday's march on the Garden by the radical umbrella group United for Peace and Justice, which came off largely without incident. Sunday night, however, a female GOP delegate attending a Broadway show was jostled by demonstrators, who pelted her with vulgarities.”

Meanwhile, at what one would think was a bit more refined protest event (heh), the "Big Tent Extravaganza," there was a gathering of musicians, actors, and comedians co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood and its affiliate, Planned Parenthood Republicans for Choice. The event, held at the Beacon Theater Monday night, was billed as a celebration of unity between Democrats and Republicans who support abortion. But one featured performer, the comedian Lewis Black, had a message for GOP delegates who might hold other views.

“It is un-fucking-believable that since the time I was 15 we have been having to argue this shit," Black said. "There comes a point where you say, ‘Fuck you, enough is enough. There is no argument. It's not your body, asshole. Shut the fuck up.’

Lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer said of evangelical Christians, "I support any religion that brings people up. Anything that brings people down, your ass is mine. That's fucking bullshit." Westenhoefer also described her fundamentalist sister as "a whack-job Christian," and added that "Mormons are whack jobs, too." And she launched into an extended discussion of the actor Mel Gibson and his movie The Passion, saying, "He's a fucking asshole."

Just keep it up, my good Dem friends. Be the face of the Kerry-Edwards ticket. Believe that shoving extended middle fingers in the collective face of middle America is the way back to power.

Just makes it that much more likely that, on November 2nd, your asses will be ours.

Daschle Turns Purple

--Tsk, Tsk, tsk, what Democrats won’t do to get re-elected.

Here is the transcript of Tom Daschle’s latest campaign ad:

Daschle: Tonight, the President has called us again to greatness, and tonight we answer that call.

Narrator: In our country’s hour of need, Tom Daschle made us proud.

Senator Dick Durbin: Tom Daschle called us together and said, “We have to keep this nation safe and secure.” I thought that was one of his finest moments. He really said in those moments what all of us felt, that before we are Democrats, before we are Republicans, we’re Americans.

Senator Carl Levin: Tom Daschle has a great inner strength and toughness, which is why Tom is such a great leader.

Narrator: Senator Daschle helped forge a consensus to rebuild our military.

Headline: Daschle: Time to unite behind troops, Bush.

On Screen: Daschle and President Bush hug on House floor.

Narrator: Tom won significant increases in homeland security and helped provide law enforcement new tools to track down terrorists

Headline: Daschle, mayors pitch homeland security.

Headline: Daschle calls for more body armor for South Dakota soldiers in Iraq.

Narrator: And no one has done more to get our troops the equipment they need or ensure our veterans are taken care of when they return home

Headline: Senator Daschle receives “Unsung Hero” award from American Legion

Daschle: I’m Tom Daschle and I approve this ad, because a strong military and a strong America is the best way to fight terrorism.

A lot is being made about the picture of Daschle and President Bush embracing. One amused GOP official guffawed that, “Senator Daschle now concedes supporting the President can score him votes in the fall!”

Well, duh – South Dakota isn’t exactly a battleground state, much less “blue.” What strikes me about the Daschle ad is that it comes across like it was Daschle who led the charge into Afghanistan and Iraq while George Bush was just “along for the ride” or something.

Shouldn’t be too difficult for John Thune to point out how Daschle spent the balance of 2001 obstructing Bush’s first defense appropriations request, or how he spent the balance of 2002 blocking the President’s homeland security proposal on behalf of the public employee unions.

After all, I understand Max Cleland is in need of somebody to push his wheelchair around in case its motor breaks down.

National Suicide As "Realism"

Mr. French has given "pre-emption" a whole new twist - he's trying to surrender to the Iranian mullahgarchy before he's even gotten elected.

[Kerry’s running mate Opie] Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a ‘great bargain,’ it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative.

No – really? Ya think? Just how much “confirmation” do you people need?

He said that, if elected, Kerry would ensure that European allies were prepared to join the United States in levying heavy sanctions if Iran rejected the proposal.

How can Kerry ensure that? If this deal is such a “bargain,” why would Tehran reject it? And if they did, how would “heavy sanctions” change their minds? When have “heavy sanctions” ever changed any dictator’s mind?

’If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us,’ Edwards said.

How does he know this? What if they didn’t? Wouldn’t Kerry meekly back down on even his “heavy sanctions” because they would otherwise be “unilateral” and thus “alienating” to our “allies”?

Kerry first outlined the idea of providing nuclear fuel to Iran in a speech in June – a proposal favored by many Europeans…

That explains why Kerry embraced this retread insanity.

…but Edwards, who twice described the concept as a ‘bargain,’ was more explicit in suggesting [a] Kerry administration would actively try to reach an agreement with the Iranians.

IOW, he’d give Tehran anything it wanted in order to have that photo-op treaty-signing ceremony, complete with ceremonial grinning handshake.

’At the end of the day, we have to have some serious negotiating leverage in this discussion with the Iranians,’ he said…

None of which he would have precisely because he’d be so eager to “reach an agreement.”

…noting that Kerry would press the Europeans to do much more than ‘taking rewards away’ if the Iranians fail to act.

Meaning what? Military action? He expects them to do our fighting for us in Iran as well as Iraq? With what? How is he going to enable, much less get, them to do this? Talk about American imperialism.

Iran has insisted that it be allowed to produce nuclear fuel, which would give it access to weapons-grade material. Under Kerry’s proposal, the Iranian fuel supply would be supervised and provided by other countries.

IOW, “other countries” would give the Iranians their weapons-grade material instead of them producing it themselves. If this idiocy sounds an awful lot like the disastrous Bill Clinton policy vis-a-vie North Korean ten years ago, go to the head of the class.

What does Kerry call it? “A realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran.” Since when has national suicide been “realistic”?

One leg of the “axis of evil” is irremovable because of that criminally negligent blunder. Kerry would make it two.

Let him implement his retreat from Iraq and he might just hit the trifecta.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bounce Like A Superball?

There appears to be a growing grassroots anticipation (doubtless much to the consternation of Bush “strategerists”) that George W. Bush is going to get a healthy bounce coming out of his convention.

Now the Bush operatives claim that don't expect their campaign to get a bounce from the Republicans' own convention this week. This is surely wise strategy, as it will both keep them from looking like fools and prevent the base from feeling disappointed if no bounce materializes. Yet it is also not very believable. Most of the important factors increasingly point to a Bush bounce after the convention.

Dick Morris, the first such voice, kept it up today:

If Bush uses his convention skillfully to highlight his homeland-security record and uses Senator Zell Miller, his keynoter, to attack Kerry's Senate record, he should emerge in great shape.

After four days of Republican rhetoric, it is not fanciful to hope that Bush ends up with an 8- to 10-point margin over Kerry — 52-53% for Bush vs. 43-44% for Kerry.

After the convention? Expect the lead to shrink a bit in the early days of September, but to grow to robust proportions again when the "third convention" is held — the anniversary of 9/11.

Spurred by the emotion and patriotism that will surround this grim annual event, Bush will probably take a good size lead into the debates that begin in mid-September and run until early October.

Being a robust partisan Republican, I’d like to believe this. But not wanting to just take such proclamations at face value, I decided to dig back into the polling of the past few months and crunch the numbers for myself.

I began with the first significant event of the campaign – the death and state funeral of former President Ronald Reagan.

On June 5th, the date the Gipper went home to be with the LORD, my polling composite had Bush trailing Kerry by a point and a half (44.5%-43.0%). Two weeks later, after the state funeral and after Dutch was laid to rest, Bush had surged to a little over a four-point lead (45.7%-41.5%), or a bounce of not quite six points.

By July 6th, when Senator Kerry announced Opie Edwards as his running mate, about four-fifths of that bounce had dissipated (Kerry 46.1%, Bush 45.7%). That announcement boosted him a couple of points (of which he lost about two-thirds because he inserted three weeks between it and his convention), as did the Boston Bacchanalia. Lurch thus wheezed into August with about a three-point lead (47%-44%).

The denuding of Kerry’s Vietnam bio fraud cost him that net veep/convention bounce, bringing us to the beginning of the GOP convention with the race in an almost exact tie (Kerry 44.2%, Bush 44.1%).

It should be noted that this really isn’t a “pre-convention bounce” for Dubya, but rather a mini-collapse for Kerry. It’s still up to the President to sweep those once-more undecideds, and their comrades, into his own column. And if Monday’s program (Senator McCain did yeoman work in his speech, and Rudy was absolutely on fire – more on that in Tuesday’s blog) and what’s rumored for Zell Miller’s keynote address (tearing Kerry limb from limb on his Senate record) are any indication – and that’s not counting the Governator on Tuesday – if the President’s address slam dunks the proceedings home, he should get a bounce at least as big as he did back in June. That would give him roughly a six-point lead as of September 10th.

The significance of that date needs no explanation, and heralds what the aforementioned Mr. Morris refers to as “the third convention,” the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. What makes it interesting for our purposes here is in how the timing of the GOP convention stands to, in effect, make part of Dubya’s post-convention bounce permanent.

If you figure that the President’s convention bounce fades like his June surge did, he’d lose two and a half points or so over the ensuing two weeks. But at least a week of that, and perhaps two, is offset by the 9/11 remembrance. This would put Bush up by the eight-to-ten point range that Mr. Morris envisions by mid-late September.

Assume the same tightening from there and we head into the debate period with GDub ahead by mid-single digits, Kerry still under fire on his Vietnam record (assuming he doesn’t come to his senses and try some sort of mea culpa – a safe assumption if I’ve ever heard one) and unable to mount much of a surge beyond that without a major Bush gaffe or policy reversal. The President coasts home to a second term from there.

Of course, the alternative course of events is that the President’s “misstatements” of the past few days on Iraq and terrorism blow up in his face and change the dynamic and tide of the race back to Kerry, or at least muddle things such as to make the outcome completely unpredictable.

Here’s hoping that (1) Bush won’t bumble, stumble, and fumble through his convention speech and (2) it will carry more weight with the electorate than the brain farts of two (hopefully) obscure interviews.

Red (State) Storm Rising

The new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday shows the same modest trend toward President Bush, but a more remarkable across-the-board surge in the internal numbers.

Strongly support the candidates: Bush 56%, Kerry 40%

Trust more to handle:

TerrorismBush 56%, Kerry 38% (The core issue of this campaign.)

Education – 47%-47% tie (Amazing that Dubya ties Kerry here – but then when has Lurch talked much about education?)

EconomyBush 48%, Kerry 47% (This should be better with the economy as strong as it is, but then again Bush really hasn’t defended his economic record, and Kerry’s been hammering away dishonestly at it for months)

Health CareKerry 50%, Bush 43% (Wasn’t the prescription drug boondoggle supposed to fix this area? Heh.)

IraqBush 52%, Kerry 44% (And this is with Bush, again, not defending the war much or very well. Good thing Kerry is so confused about it, or he might have made some actual headway on this and terrorism.)

TaxesBush 48%, Kerry 46% (Bad, bad, bad. Dubya should be massacring Lurch on taxes. But like so much of his record of accomplishment, the President has done a piss-poor job of defending his tax cuts and the boon they’ve been to the post-Clinton bubble, post-9/11 economy. He’d be well advised to take Stephen Moore’s advice in his acceptance speech.)

Best Describes the Candidates:

HonestBush 47%, Kerry 41% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +6 – Sure is fun to see a few hundred thou do more damage to Kerry’s reputation in three weeks than a hundred times that much did to the President’s over a year and a half.)

Has a VisionKerry 48%, Bush 45% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +6 – This number is obscene, and speaks more powerfully than anything I’ve seen to the President being “AWOL” on making the case for his re-election. This will mean a lot of heavy lifting on Thursday night.)

Understands your problemsKerry 48%, Bush 42% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +5 – Feh. Kerry doesn’t even feel his own pain; he has underlings to do that for him. I can only ascribe this one to party brand labeling. Still, that Bush is even close on it is noteworthy, I guess, and is perhaps another harbinger of things to come.)

Make the Country SaferBush 53%, Kerry 40% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +5 – That’s consistent with the numbers above.)

Strong LeaderBush 54%, Kerry 39% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +4 – Ditto.)

Shares Your ValuesBush 47%, Kerry 46% (net change for Bush since 8/1 - +3 – “50/50 nation…{shrug})


Bush 50/40 (+10)
Kerry 43/40 (+3)

This last one is the key, IMO. Since domestic issues are basically a wash, this can only indicate that, as has been long assumed, national security is the overriding issue of this election, and for all the Democrats’ vicious attempts to hack apart Bush’s towering advantage, he still owns it lock, stock, and barrel. And the vehicle for making the horserace number match the internals is this week’s convention and Thursday’s main event.

Kerry has bumbled away the initiative in this race. If Bush can remember how to shut his yap or otherwise better regulate his choice of words, and picks up that baton, Brah-Man will never catch him.

Treason As Patriotism

About the massive mobilization of left-wing rabble that vowed, as Tom Hayden promised last week, to make GOP/NYC’04 “a thousand times worse” than Dem’68’s “Days of Rage” in Chicago, the less said the better. But I will add a comment and what I think is a vastly symbolic quote.

Don’t believe the “upwards of half a million” BS. According to the estimate of the NYPD, there was at most a quarter that number, and they didn’t do much beyond be ignorant, idiotic, and obnoxious.

Don’t believe me? Get a load of this.

Standing in the midst of thousands of protesters Sunday morning, I wondered if any of the individuals in this massive crowd actually believed the self-righteous propaganda.

The catch phrase of the day was, ‘Dissent is Patriotic.’ I saw not a hint of irony on the faces of the mob as they demanded, for hours on end, ‘Republicans go home!’ and ‘GOP scum, leave our city!’

Let's think about this for a moment: There are 5,000 Republican delegates in town for the convention. Protest organizers predict the final count will be somewhere around 250,000 and I've no reason to doubt the figure. So protesters will outnumber delegates 50 to one.

At what point exactly, I asked several members of the Question Authority Brigade, is one group far enough in the minority that they become, well, dissenters?

Sputtering, uncomprehending rage was all I got in response.

And nudity. And profanity. LOTS of profanity.

UPDATE: Okay, the modification of Sean Hannity’s catch-phrase (“Mao, more than ever”) - was worth a chuckle....

What Would Make Libs Embrace Tort Reform?

Brinkley Blows Kerry's Cover

Kerry’s excuse for not releasing his military records went up in smoke on Friday.

For months, the campaign has been hiding behind Freedom of Information Act requests and what it has said was an exclusivity contract with its ‘paid historian,’ [my quotes] Douglas Brinkley.

But Brinkley late Friday said that there was nothing holding back the campaign from releasing documents.

Reportedly Brinkley gave the appearance of being harried, exasperated, wanting very much to be left alone, and probably ruing the day he ever agreed to a professional association with John Kerry.

In tennis, when the ball comes into your court and you don’t return it enough times, you lose.

It’s up to Senator Kerry to stop playing with a ping-pong paddle.

Another Kerry Pre-Post-Mortem

Chalk up one more lib pundit volunteering as pall-bearer for the Kerry candidacy.

John Kerry is not George W. Bush — and for a lot of us, that's reason enough to vote for Kerry come November. But reason enough for a majority of voters? I doubt it...

But if Bush is frightening — in part because he so dogmatically believes what he believes — Kerry is frustrating and infuriating because he seems not to believe much of anything worth risking offense...

No, what infuriates about Kerry is his wish to be all things to all people — or, at any rate, not to give them any basis for attacking him. He has, as far as I can tell, staked out a single position that might be called controversial: He would repeal the tax cuts for the rich.

But nearly everything else he says or does seems calculated to avoid clear-cut disagreement with people on either side of any issue. Thus he ‘voted for [the $87 billion supplemental military budget] before I voted against it.’ Thus he differs with the president on what he would do to extricate us from Iraq, but has offered no discernible policy. Thus he parses every statement to the point where even he must wonder what he said. Thus he (to return to his Vietnam War protest days) didn't return his ‘medals,’ but only the ‘ribbons’ that represent them.

Little things become big issues for Kerry because he refuses to stake out positions on the big things. Maybe, with the polls showing him in a virtual dead heat with Bush, he doesn't want to frighten the ‘undecideds.’ Well, if I were undecided (and, frankly, I would be if Kerry were pitted against Bush I instead of his scary son) I'd find Kerry's super-carefulness off-putting.

Is Kerry acting on advice of his political advisers, or does he really have no important and articulable policy differences with the man he would replace? If the former, it strikes me as questionable advice; if the latter, it suggests a president who would be weak on leadership.

I’m telling you, if by mid-September Bush is up as much as some observers are beginning to openly predict (see below), the Big Media wall-to-wall pro-Kerry flack & hack apparatus will begin to crumble.

If Lurch can’t beat Bush, they’ll drop him like Michael Moore on a blind date.

Opie Was Listening

Me, last Thursday:

Leave aside that the ‘Administration’s plans for the country’ have not remotely been ‘upended.’ Remember that press conference back in the spring when reporter after reporter demanded that Bush admit he ‘made a mistake’ by liberating Iraq? Remember how he resolutely, and properly, refused to do so, most of all to deny the other side the sound bite they craved for advertising fodder thereafter?

Well, now he’s given it to them. ‘I made a miscalculation…in…Iraq’ will be plastered everywhere between now and November 2nd.

John Edwards today:

After months of saying he'd done everything right on Iraq and foreign policy, the president acknowledged just the other day that he miscalculated the way in which he waged the war in Iraq. He believes that he may have won the war too quickly and that was a miscalculation.

Didn’t take long, did it?

“I made a miscalculation…in…Iraq” and “I don’t think we can win the war on terror.”

Dubya would have been better off puking all over himself instead. That mess would have been a lot easier to clean up.

UPDATE: From the Democratic response to Rudy Giuliani tonight:

DNC Communications Director Jano Cabrera said in response: ‘Rudy Giuliani tonight stood in the shadow of ground zero and praised the President who said we cannot win the war on terror.’

I think the President has upchucked his version of “I voted against the $87 billion before I voted against it.” I really do.

"Sailor" Turns On Mr. French

Another big “uh-oh” for the Kerry camp.

Senator John McCain, R-AZ, called advertisements run against John Kerry by pro-Republican Vietnam War veterans ‘dishonest and dishonorable’ but said Monday it was legitimate to question the Democrat presidential candidate's anti-war efforts after his service.
Message to Mr. French: “I’m not gonna save your worthless ass on this one.”

Bush still won’t touch it. But he’ll be about the only Kerry foe who doesn’t.

Another Bush Boner

What President Bush said in his interview with Matt Lauer this morning:

Lauer: “You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?”

President Bush: “I have never said we can win it in four years.”

Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”

President Bush: I don't think you can win it. [my emphasis] But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world – let's put it that way. I have a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand is to find them before they hurt us, and that's necessary. I’m telling you it's necessary. The country must never yield, must never show weakness [and] must continue to lead. To find al-Qaeda affiliates who are hiding around the world and … harm us and bring ‘em to justice - we're doing a good job of it. I mean we are dismantling the al-Qaedas we knew it. The long-term strategy is to spread freedom and liberty, and that's really kind of an interesting debate. You know there's some who say well, ‘You know certain people can't self govern and accept, you know, a former democracy.’ I just strongly disagree with that. I believe that democracy can take hold in parts of the world that are now non-democratic and I think it's necessary in order to defeat the ideologies of hate. History has shown that it can work, that spreading liberty does work. After all, Japan is our close ally and my dad fought against the Japanese. Prime Minister Koizumi, is one of the closest collaborators I have in working to make the world a more peaceful place.”

What the left will plaster all over the airwaves for the next two months:

Lauer: “You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?”

President Bush: “I have never said we can win it in four years.”

Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”

President Bush: “I don't think you can win it.”

What GDub meant was that we can never completely eradicate terrorism per se. That would be akin to swatting every last mosquito. But we can so disrupt terrorist networks and their sources of financing and support – including access to WMD – that bin Laden’s twisted dream of "kill[ing] four million Americans — 2 million of them children — and…exil[ing] twice as many and wound[ing] and crippl[ing] hundreds of thousands" will never, ever be realized.

But it doesn’t matter what he meant. He gave the other side a godsend sound bite they can make hay with like Michael Moore with a trunk of McDonalds coupons.

It’s pretty sad when your best hope is that your candidate’s gaffe was a malapropism. If that sentence was suggested for use beforehand, the ass of whoever did so should be fired immediately.

Way Beyond The Swiftvets

The unraveling of John Kerry’s Vietnam war-hero gimmick is spreading beyond the efforts of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.

Statement of RADM William L. Schachte, Jr. USN (Ret.)

August 27, 2004As was true of all "Swiftees," I volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was assigned to Coastal Division 14 for a normal tour of duty.

I was a Lieutenant serving as Operations Officer and second in command at Coastal Division 14 when Lieutenant (junior grade) John Kerry reported to us in mid-November, 1968. Lt. (jg) Kerry was an Officer-in-Charge (O-in-C) under training in preparing to be assigned as one of our Swift Boat O-in-C's.

At some point following President Johnson's announcement of the suspension of bombing in North Vietnam in March 1968, we were directed to become more aggressive in seeking to find and destroy or disrupt the enemy in our operating area. As part of this effort, I conceived a new operation that became known as "Skimmer OPS." The concept was simple. A 15-foot Boston Whaler was sent into an area where, based on coordinated intelligence, North Vietnamese cadre and Viet Cong were expected to be meeting or where, for example, concentrations of enemy forces might be involved in the movement of arms or munitions. We were to draw fire and quickly get out of the area. This would allow more concentrated firepower to be brought against the enemy forces we had been able to identify.

These operations were carried out only in "hot" areas and well away from any villages or populated areas. A Swift Boat would tow the skimmer to the general area of operations, and the ambush team would then board the skimmer and proceed to the designated area of operations. The Swift Boat would be riding shotgun and standing off, occasionally out of sight, to provide fire support and long-range communications. The Skimmer was powered by an outboard motor, and we carried an FM radio, handheld flares, an M-60 machine gun with a bipod mount, and an M-16 mounted with a starlight scope. If the night was heavily overcast, we brought an M-14 mounted with an infrared scope. We also carried an M-79 single-shot grenade launcher. In addition to our combat gear and flak jackets, we often carried .38-caliber pistols.

The operation consisted of allowing the skimmer to drift silently along shorelines or riverbanks to look or listen for sounds of enemy activity. If activity was identified, we would open fire with our automatic weapons, and if we received fire, we would depart the area as quickly as possible, leaving it to air support or mortar fire from a Swift Boat standing off at a distance to carry out an attack.

I commanded each of these Skimmer operations up to and including the one on the night in question involving Lt. (jg) Kerry. On each of these operations, I was in the skimmer manning the M-60 machine gun. I took with me one other officer and an enlisted man to operate the outboard motor. I wanted another officer because officers, when not on patrol, were briefed daily on the latest intelligence concerning our sector of operations and were therefore more familiar with the current intelligence. Additionally, at these daily briefings, officers debriefed on their patrol areas after returning to port.

On the night of December 2-3, we conducted one of these operations, and Lt. (jg) Kerry accompanied me. Our call sign for that operation was "Batman." I have no independent recollection of the identity of the enlisted man, who was operating the outboard motor. Sometime during the early morning hours, I thought I detected some movement inland. At the time we were so close to land that we could hear water lapping on the shoreline. I fired a hand-held flare, and upon it bursting and illuminating the surrounding area, I thought I saw movement. I immediately opened fire with my M-60. It jammed after a brief burst. Lt. (jg) Kerry also opened fire with his M-16 on automatic, firing in the direction of my tracers. His weapon also jammed. As I was trying to clear my weapon, I heard the distinctive sound of the M-79 being fired and turned to see Lt. (jg) Kerry holding the M-79 from which he had just launched a round. We received no return fire of any kind nor were there any muzzle flashes from the beach. I directed the outboard motor operator to clear the area.

Upon returning to base, I informed my commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, of the events, informing him of the details of the operation and that we had received no enemy fire. I did not file an "after action" report, as one was only required when there was hostile fire. Soon thereafter, Lt. (jg) Kerry requested that he be put in for a Purple Heart as a result of a small piece of shrapnel removed from his arm that he attributed to the just-completed mission. I advised Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard that I could not support the request because there was no hostile fire. The shrapnel must have been a fragment from the M-79 that struck Lt. (jg) Kerry, because he had fired the M-79 too close to our boat. Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard denied Lt. (jg) Kerry's request. Lt. (jg) Kerry detached our division a few days later to be reassigned to another division. I departed Vietnam approximately three weeks later, and Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard followed shortly thereafter. It was not until years later that I was surprised to learn that Lt. (jg) Kerry had been awarded a Purple Heart for this night.

I did not see Lt. (jg) Kerry in person again for almost 20 years. Sometime in 1988, while I was on Capitol Hill, I ran into him in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. I was at that time a Rear Admiral and in uniform. He was about 20 paces away, waiting to catch the underground subway. In a fairly loud voice I called out to him, "Hey, John." He turned, looked at me, came over and said, "Batman!" We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, agreed to have lunch sometime in the future, and parted ways. We have not been together since that day.

In March of this year, I was contacted by one of my former swift boat colleagues concerning Douglas Brinkley¹s book about Senator Kerry, "Tour of Duty." I told him that I had not read it. He faxed me a copy of the pages relating to the action on the night of December 2-3, 1968. I was astonished by Senator Kerry¹s rendition of the facts of that night. Notably, Lt. (jg) Kerry had himself in charge of the operation, and I was not mentioned at all. He also claimed that he was wounded by hostile fire.

None of this is accurate. I know, because I was not only in the boat, but I was in command of the mission. He was never more than several feet away from me at anytime during the operation that night. It is inconceivable that any commanding officer would put an officer in training, who had been in country only a couple of weeks, in charge of such an ambush operation. Had there been enemy action that night, there would have been an after action report filed, which I would have been responsible for filing.

I have avoided talking to media about this issue for months. But, because of the recent media attention, I felt I had to step up to recount my personal experiences concerning this incident.
Saturday, following Tom Lipscomb’s Chicago Sun-Times piece on the multiple citations for Kerry’s silver star, he posted an equally startling follow-up.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman has no idea where a Silver Star citation displayed on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign Web site came
from, he said Friday. The citation appears over Lehman's signature.

"It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said.

Well, well, well. This little caper, whatever it was, didn’t take place in Vietnam thirty-five years ago in the “fog of war,” but two years after Kerry entered the U.S. Senate.

Admiral Schachte and Secretary Lehman aren’t Swifties. And they aren’t part of Kerry’s fevered version of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” or “GOP shills” or “Bush goons” or “liars” or “frauds.” They’re simply two more men, two more honorable warriors, who have stood up and pointed out two more ways in which that purportedly “valorous” four months and eleven days that is the overarching reason advanced for why the Boston Balker should be made commander-in-chief simply do not add up.

It bears repeating: the mess John Kerry has made of his campaign with this colossal miscalculation is not going to go away until he releases all his military documents, answers the proliferating questions about his Vietnam service record, and levels with the American people. Otherwise, as a Zogby survey released Monday indicates, the Democrat challenger can kiss goodbye the bulk of undecided voters that typically break against the incumbent.

The longer Lurch waits to come clean, the more likely it is that if he ever does, it’ll be too late.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Abu Ghraib Was "A Political Smear"

Former Carter SecDef James Schlesinger has delivered another big, fat “FU” to the Bush Administration’s left-wing tormentors.

Opines the Wall Street Journal:

Since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001, the U.S. has handled about 50,000 detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and other venues of the war on terror. Among those, about 300 allegations of abuse have arisen. And as of this month 155 investigations have resulted in 66 substantiated cases of mistreatment. Only about a third of those cases were related to interrogation, while another third happened at the point of capture, ‘frequently under uncertain, dangerous and violent circumstances.’

So notes Tuesday's report from the Independent Panel to Review DOD Detention Operations, empowered in May by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and chaired by former Pentagon chief James Schlesinger. The report offers invaluable perspective on the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib and is devastating to those who've sought to pin blame on an alleged culture of lawlessness going all the way to the top of the Bush Administration.

John Kerry must be even more disoriented by the Swift boat story than he appears if he thinks now's the time to call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation.

Wow. That’s quite a display of (well-deserved) woofing from the normally staid, restrained Journal op-eders.

Mr. Schlesinger and his fellow panelists, having already had long and distinguished careers, have no motivation to risk their own reputations for Mr. Rumsfeld's. They have produced what's to date the definitive assessment of what went wrong, and the bottom line could hardly be more clear: While the Abu Ghraib abuses deserve to be punished, like other wartime excesses, the allegations that they had anything to do with so-called ‘torture memos’ and a Pentagon ‘culture of permissiveness’ are nothing but a political smear. [my emphasis]

Maybe it’s Mr. Apocalypse Now who should quit the campaign and resign his senate seat instead, seeing as how he’s responsible for endangering far more American POWs than the number of Iraqi terrorists the “late shift” at Abu Ghraib ever dressed up in Victoria’s Secret.

A Sign Of Desperation

I’m a bit reluctant to toss out words like “collapse” and “desperation” in a race that is still, at this writing, so close. But this Reuters story is hard to describe any other way.

Democrat John Kerry on Thursday challenged Republican President Bush, to weekly debates from now until the November 2nd presidential election.

Leave aside that he knows this isn’t going to happen. Also leave aside that this is an obvious setup for him to taunt the President as “ducking my challenge after I met his [on the Iraq war vote] head-on”. (And got steamrolled in the process, I might add.)

I just ask the very obvious question: does a confident candidate throw down such lame gauntlets? Does he need to? Or has Brah-man been reading the polling tea leaves of the past few days?

’America deserves a serious discussion about its future. It does not deserve a campaign of fear and smear,’ the Massachusetts senator told a crowd at a community college near Minneapolis.

Translation: my bigger “band of brothers” have kicked the legs out from under my trumped up “war hero” persona, my attempts to “fear and smear” them have backfired, and I’m frantically grasping for any straw I can possibly reach to prevent my campaign from cratering.

And he grabs hold of…the very things that will draw attention to what he spent less than a minute talking about in his fifty-five minute convention speech: his twenty-year senate record.

Out of the frying pan…

You just gotta love the Bushies’ amused reply:

’During the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself,’ said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt.

Is the Boston Balker, as Hugh Hewitt described him today, “teetering on the brink of collapse”?

Not yet.

Or at least, not until a week and change from now.

But he is trying, well, desperately, to change the subject from the Swift Vet hornets’ nest he’s stirred up – and steaming right into the next Bush, um, ambush.

Assuming that the President hasn’t switched parties by then, that is.

Talk about “strange bedfellows”…

Lovie Escapes

Teraaaaaaayza “Lovie” Heinz Howell Kerry somehow got out of the straitjacket, snuck away from her keepers, and managed to reach a microphone yesterday:

Heinz Kerry said she can't speak directly to the [Swiftboat Veterans for Truth] ads because she refuses to watch them. ‘I'm very proud of [hubby’s] service,’ she said. ‘I believe that discussions or attacks on his service undermine the peace of mind not only of Vietnam veterans but of those now fighting for their country. Let us hope that if they volunteer for service their reviews are not going to be so nefarious in the future.’

Ah. So a man with a political career and record of hostility to all things military (and who is held in contempt by most veterans, past and present) being held to account for that record by the fellow vets whom he publicly defamed will deliver a knee to the groin of current military morale, but the election of this same man to the post of commander-in-chief will be a boon to it?


Well, all I can do is paraphrase the comment of one Vietnam vet I read today: “If John Kerry loses, that will be the [homecoming] parade we never had.”

And current American soldiers will be heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Bush's Campaign Finance "Journey"

Ramesh Ponnuru in today’s NRO “Corner” on Bush’s campaign finance “journey”:

A brief history: 1) I'm against it, and you should vote for me over John McCain on this basis. 2) Some campaign-finance reforms amount to a restriction on free speech, and I'll veto them on that basis. 3) I'll sign the bill, let the judges sort it out. 4) The bill I just signed bans all those George Soros ads. 5) I'm going to sue to get those ads all banned. 6) I'm going to support legislation to ban those ads that I already banned, even though they used to be free speech.

I think (5) and (6) are new this week.

Here's a better idea: Representative Roscoe Bartlett's First Amendment Restoration Act.

Ouch. Bush is digging a hole for himself right alongside Kerry. The difference may end up being that Lurch had such a huge head start.

Death Of A Delusion

And still, despite Bush’s prissy objections, Kerry’s Vietnam gimmick continues to disintegrate.

Check out this story by Thomas Lipscomb, in the Chicago Sun-Times:

The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a ‘Silver Star with combat V.’

But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, ‘Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a “combat V” to anyone for a Silver Star.’ Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a ‘combat V’ for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star ‘combat V,’ either...

B.G. Burkett, a Vietnam veteran himself, received the highest award the Army gives to a civilian, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, for his book Stolen Valor. Burkett pored through thousands of military service records, uncovering phony claims of awards and fake claims of military service. ‘I've run across several claims for Silver Stars with combat V's, but they were all in fake records,’ he said.

Kerry's Web site also lists two different citations for the Silver Star. One was issued by the commander in chief of the Pacific Command (CINCPAC), Admiral John Hyland. The other, issued by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman during the Reagan administration, contained some revisions and additional language...

But a third citation exists that appears to be the earliest. And it is not on the Kerry campaign Web site. It was issued by Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam. This citation lacks the language in the Hyland citation or that added by the Lehman version, but includes another 170 words in a detailed description of Kerry's attack on a Viet Cong ambush, his killing of an enemy soldier carrying a loaded rocket launcher, as well as military equipment captured and a body count of dead enemy.

Major Anthony Milavic, a retired Marine Vietnam veteran, calls the issuance of three citations for the same medal ‘bizarre.’

Normally in the case of a lost citation, Milavec points out, the awardee simply asked for a copy to be sent to him from his service personnel records office where it remains on file. ‘I have never heard of multi-citations from three different people for the same medal award,’ he said. Nor has Burkett: ‘It is even stranger to have three different descriptions of the awardee's conduct in the citations for the same award.’

“So far, there are also two varying citations for Kerry's Bronze Star, one by Zumwalt and the other by Lehman as secretary of the Navy, both posted on johnkerry.com.

“Kerry's Web site also carries a DD215 form revising his DD214, issued March 12, 2001, which adds four bronze campaign stars to his Vietnam service medal. The campaign stars are issued for participation in any of the 17 Department of Defense named campaigns that extended from 1962 to the cease-fire in 1973.

“However, according to the Navy spokesman, Kerry should only have two campaign stars: one for ‘Counteroffensive, Phase VI,’ and one for ‘Tet69, Counteroffensive.’

“Reporting by the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs points out that although the Kerry campaign insists that it has released Kerry's full military records, the Post was only able to get six pages of records under its Freedom of Information Act request out of the ‘at least a hundred pages’ a Naval Personnel Office spokesman called the ‘full file.’

“What could that more than 100 pages contain?…Kerry, who should have been discharged from the Navy about the same time - July 1, 1972 - wasn't given the discharge he has on his campaign Web site until July 13, 1978. What delayed the discharge for six years? This raises serious questions about Kerry's performance while in the reserves that are far more potentially damaging than those raised against Bush.

“[Says] Burkett, who has spent years working with the FBI, Department of Justice and all of the military services uncovering fraudulent files in the official records…: ‘The multiple citations and variations in the official record are reason for suspicion in itself, even disregarding the current swift boat veterans' controversy.’

What’s the old saying? “If it smells like dog crap, it’s probably not filet mignon.”

Now let us go back in time eight years and revisit the tragic end of then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Boorda.

In 1996, a left-wing news service raised questions about two small "V" clips that the chief of Naval operations wore over two of the medals on his chest full of them. The clips are awarded for valor under fire, and there was some doubt about whether Boorda's two tours in Vietnam aboard combat ships qualified him for the awards, although the Washington Post reported that a 1965 Navy manual appeared to support Boorda's right to wear the clips. Unlike Kerry, the awards did not provide grounds for Boorda to shorten his tours of duty.

Hours before he was scheduled to meet with Newsweek reporters to discuss the controversy, the admiral went to his home at the Navy Yard and shot himself in the chest. The CNO had been in command of the Navy during a troubled period and his leadership was being criticized by its senior officers. Still, among the notes he left was one to ‘the sailors’ expressing his fear that the controversy over his decorations might harm the Navy. Boorda had lied about his age to join the Navy and was the first CNO to rise through the enlisted ranks.

What did John Kerry have to say about this?

-The Boston Herald, 5/18/96:

Veterans said yesterday that although they would take offense at someone falsely wearing a ‘V’ combat pin, they couldn't see how this could drive Navy Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda to suicide.

’Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood,” said Senator John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam. [my emphasis]

The Boston Globe, same day:

’The military is a rigorous culture that places a high premium on battlefield accomplishment,’ said Senator John F. Kerry, who received numerous decorations, including a Bronze Star with a ‘V’ pin, as a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam.

’In a sense, there's nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought,’ Kerry said.

’If you wind up being less than what you’re pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you.”

Of Boorda and his apparent violation, Kerry said: “When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily.” [my emphases]

This is not to say that Lurch should go to the back of his campaign plane and hurl himself out of the emergency airlock without a parachute, but my God, how can this man sleep at night?

The Swifties ought to be all over this one like Michael Moore on a buffet table.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Punching A Gift Horse In The Mouth

{shaking head} I don’t understand this. I really don’t.

From Bush's interview with the New York Times

There’s a good question right there – why on Earth is George Bush talking to the New York F’ing Times? That’s like Ariel Sharon giving an exclusive interview to al-Jazeera.

President Bush said on Thursday that he did not believe Senator John Kerry lied about his war record, but he declined to condemn the television commercial paid for by a veterans group alleging that Mr. Kerry came by his war medals dishonestly.

Mr. Bush's comments, in a half-hour interview with the New York Times, undercut a central accusation leveled by the veterans group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose unproven attacks on Mr. Kerry have dominated the political debate for more than two weeks.

Let me see if I have this straight. Bush is alleged by Kerry to have no credibility on national security because he didn’t serve in Vietnam; yet now that the President backs up Kerry’s version of events that he did not personally witness – and the Swiftboat Veterans did – he’s suddenly an authority on it? This is a very large step beyond merely saying that Kerry “served honorably.”

Could this be an attempt at Clinton-style “triangulation”? But this doesn’t fit that description; Bush is basically siding with his opponent against the Swifties – you know, the decorated Vietnam war heroes who have almost single-handedly hoisted his weenie ass into a small pre-convention lead.

Why? Why is he doing this? Why can’t he just urge Kerry to release all his military records and say nothing else about it? Or segue into Kerry’s fecklessness on the war on terror? Why? Why? Why?

"I understand how Senator Kerry feels - I've been attacked by 527's too," he said, adding that he had spoken earlier in the day to Senator John McCain and had agreed to join him in a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission to bar the groups.

Sondergeld Echo Syndrome strikes again. Plus, isn’t this kind of whining by proxy on Dubya’s part?

Mr. Bush also acknowledged for the first time that he made a ‘miscalculation of what the conditions would be’ in postwar Iraq. But he insisted that the 17-month-long insurgency that has upended the Administration's plans for the country was the unintended by-product of a ‘swift victory’ against Saddam Hussein's military, which fled and then disappeared into the cities, enabling them to mount a rebellion against the American forces far faster than Mr. Bush and his aides had anticipated.

Leave aside that the “Administration’s plans for the country” have not remotely been “upended.” Remember that press conference back in the spring when reporter after reporter demanded that Bush admit he “made a mistake” by liberating Iraq? Remember how he resolutely, and properly, refused to do so, most of all to deny the other side the sound bite they craved for advertising fodder thereafter?

Well, now he’s given it to them. “I made a miscalculation…in…Iraq” will be plastered everywhere between now and November 2nd.

Again, why? Only thing I can fathom is that his handlers told him he needed to appear more “humble” to improve his appeal to undecided voters. But with the Democrats shrieking, “even Bush himself admits he screwed up!” at full-throated roar volume, well, which message to you think will be more likely to get through?

GDub is going wobbly, ladies and gentlemen. And just when he was possibly on the verge of breaking this race wide open.

It’s only late August, but an ill November wind is starting to blow.

The Crown Prince of Malaprop

Steve Chaggaris of CBS News reports:

On Wednesday, Kerry made his third visit to Green Bay, WI, this year and made it a point to focus on the main thing the city revolves around: football and the Green Bay Packers...

As he was taking questions from the audience, he referred to the legendary Packers stadium, Lambeau Field (which has been called that for 39 years) as ‘Lambert Field.’

If the voters catch wind of that gaffe, it could take Kerry another three visits to Green Bay to make up for it.

And just think – he left out effusive praise for the Packers’ legendary coach, Vince Lomberti, and their all-pro quarterback, Bert Favre.

I dunno; maybe Mr. French should give up on football and go back to polo references instead.

The Swiftees Just Keep Coming

Don’t look now, but here’s Swiftie ad #3. And this time it’s Steve Gardner, the foregunner on then-Lieutenant Kerry’s PCF-94, who calls him a liar.

Didn’t the Kerryites say that nobody who didn’t serve on Kerry’s boat should be taken seriously as a credible eyewitness?


Even LA Times Can't Spin Kerry Collapse

The Los Angeles Times has another poll out, and as usual there’s a great deal of question as to the validity and objectivity of their sampling.

You’ll recall that their June poll showing Kerry up 51%-44% was based on a sample of 38% Democrats, 25% Republicans, 24% independents, and the remainder consigned to the flotsam. Correcting for that spectacular skew put Bush up 49%-45%.

The pro-Kerry tilt isn’t quite that precipitous this time – approximately 38% Dems, 32% GOPers, and 30% independents/other – but still measurable.

What’s interesting is that even with this tilt, Bush still leads in the poll 47%-44%.

According to the internals, Bush leads among Republicans 93%-3% while Kerry leads among Democrats 81%-15%, with the independents split evenly. So, if the electorate is truly “split right down the middle,” that should mean a fairly substantial lead for the President – certainly outside the margin of error.

A KerrySpot reader crunched the numbers:

I also looked at the LA Times survey and found it really badly biased. How do their numbers add up? Something must be really wrong with their population sample. Here's the breakdowns and the math behind it.

While 3% of voters who called themselves Republicans said they would vote for Kerry, Bush drew 15% of all Democrats, and 20% of Democrats who consider themselves moderate or conservative, the poll found.

Ok, so out of their 1,597 surveyed, 782 choose Bush. If 20% of those surveyed choose Bush, but called themselves moderate Democrats, how many Democrats were included in the survey? We know 20% of those calling themselves Democrats (156) chose Bush. According to the statement, Kerry received 3% of Republicans out of his 43% (687) which equals 20 votes. Therefore, 97% of Kerry's support came from Democrats (667), plus Bush's Democrat support (156) votes equals 823 Democrats. That means that 52% of the sample's base was Democrats (832/1597). Back out the 2% bias (32 people) from the study, and the numbers are Kerry (655) compared to Bush (782). 50% Bush (782/1565) compared to (655/1565) 42% Kerry. That's an EIGHT point lead and way outside the margin of error.

FWIW, I took the 38-32-30 template, equalized the Dem and GOP proportions at 35 each, and came up with a similar result (Bush 49.4%, Kerry 41.6%).

Whatever the vagaries of one generally unreliable poll, the larger point is the direction of the trend. And if one of the Kerry campaign’s house organs shows even the five point move in Bush’s direction over the past month it’s acknowledging (IOW, since the Swiftboat Vet storm erupted)…well, it’s no wonder that Lurch is developing a Samson complex.

Too Clever By Half

This KerrySpot post sounds an ominous note for President Bush:

Scott McClellan tells press pool that President Bush this morning called Senator John McCain ask for his help in pursuing court action to shut down all the activities of the 527 groups... Bush went on to say to McCain that if court action does not work, he would look forward to working on legislation to silence the independent groups in political debate.

One Kerry Spot reader, a NR subscriber for 13 years, emails in, ‘So Bush is going to team with McCain to further muzzle free speech by taking legal action against the Swift Boat Vets, MoveOn.org and other ‘shadowy groups?’ Forget it. The First Amendment is more important than taxes, the war on terror, education, what have you. I can't vote for him now.’

Jim Geraghty tells him to hold his horses.

This smells like Bush three-level-chess "strategery" to me. If Bush and McCain pursue legal action to shut down the 527s, that puts pressure on Kerry to join in, too. That means Kerry has to sign on to legal action to stop MoveOn.org, the Media Fund, Americans Coming Together…If Kerry doesn't join in, his double standard is exposed in terms even undecided independents can grasp: 527s that run ads comparing Bush to Hitler are okay, but ads criticizing Kerry shouldn't be allowed.

If Bush and McCain win, the biggest guns in Kerry's arsenal get silenced, and the GOP can enjoy its huge hard-money advantage…If Bush and McCain lose, the First Amendment is safe for another day, and Bush and McCain have done their part to stop ‘soft money.’

As a matter of principle, this is still a repugnant affront to First Amendment rights, no matter which side benefits from it. But as a matter of political strategy, it sounds like the same bill of goods that was sold to us when Bush signed McCain-Feingold in the first place. Remember how it was put over as being good public relations for the White House (no more “fat cats influencing elections” {snicker}) and anyway, don’t worry because the SCOTUS is sure to strike it down? Well, Olympus didn’t strike it down, did it? And now we’re being assured that legal action to muzzle all 527s is just to (further) embarrass Kerry, and don’t worry, because they’ll never really succeed. But what if they do? If you can’t express yourself through parties or independent organizations, and in only strictly limited fashion directly through candidates’ campaigns, well, it doesn’t leave many alternatives. And the hell of it is, that won’t be the case, because it will never be the case. Unless the political class is going to drop the façade and simply cancel elections altogether, they will never, ever “get money out of politics” any more than they’ll end our dependence upon fossil fuels or feminists will banish the male sex drive. All they’ll accomplish is to create a “soft” money black market by effectively criminalizing grassroots democracy.

For that matter, who’s to say that Kerry would be pressured into following suit? Why couldn’t he just flip-flop again and attack Bush as an enemy of political expression (since as we all know only left-wing agitating fits that description in Kerry’s universe…) and watch Big Media tear Dubya apart? Can you say “Swiftboat Who?”

It’s been nearly two weeks now since the President went on Larry King Live and first condemned all 527 activity instead of calling upon Senator Kerry to release all his military records and settle the Swiftboat Vet dispute. That comment didn’t sit right with me then, and hasn’t ever since.

And now we see why.

Looks like my instincts are as sharp as ever.

Loving Your Enemies A Bit Too Much

From the “Didja Know” Department, courtesy of NRO’s Rich Lowry:

Max Cleland, who made a staged appearance at the Bush ranch Wednesday, was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank in 2003. The same Max Cleland who is spending nearly all of his time attacking President Bush is, amazingly enough, a Bush political appointee… He's happy to get on the gravy train, and trash the President who put him there. [my emphasis]

{shaking head} Perhaps I should just quote from Mark 6:11:

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Maybe it isn’t “presidential” to tell your enemies to go to hell, but for heaven’s sake, does Dubya have to fill up his “household” with them instead?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Only One Way Out

In that context, what of any substance is there to be made of the following?

Rumors floating around Washington mid-day Tuesday had the Kerry campaign reaching out to a couple of media outlets - NBC's Meet the Press and CBS's 60 Minutes - to discuss a possible appearance by candidate John Kerry this coming Sunday.

A Democratic strategist outside the campaign said the thinking appeared to be to get the candidate out to speak about the mounting Swift Boat Veterans for Truth controversy before the Republican Convention."’I don't know if they are thinking a full-blown mea culpa from Kerry, but that seems to be the way some people are thinking,’ says the strategist. ‘He wouldn't use the words “I'm sorry” in speaking about his actions after Vietnam here at home. But he would seek to try to put this thing to rest."

It’s fair to ask how that would be any different from his appearance on MTP earlier this year where he…

made a statement that appeared to be an indirect apology to veterans he might have offended with his activities in 1970. During that appearance he said he might have allowed his anger and frustration to get the best of him. But he stopped short of making any formal apology or admission that he was wrong for taking such a public stance against the war.

Make no mistake, it is a “full-blown mea culpa,” a formal apology, and an admission that he was wrong for taking such a public stance against the Vietnam war that the Swiftboat Vets are looking for. And they will settle for not one smidgeon or iota less. And don’t think that Kerry doesn’t know it. That is why this brouhaha is more than just a passing incident in the larger campaign. It is, rather, a blood feud that will only be decided when either Kerry is defeated in November, or he becomes president and exacts a terrible retribution on his one-time “band of brothers.”

In drawing “the real John Kerry” out from behind his calculating, “nuanced” mask, the Swifties have provided American voters with a very illuminating look at the man they’re being asked to consider for the highest office in the land. That service alone is as valuable to their country as any they rendered in Southeast Asia thirty-plus years ago.