Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The legacy of the Swift Boat Vets

John Fund analyzes the effectiveness of the group in a well-written piece. Truly, the Swifties are a tremendous story, and I've never quite understood why they have been labeled as a bunch of Bush partisans (actually, I do understand it - when the media finally got on board, they decided to treat the Vets with biting condescension normally reserved for conservative activists). But these men are not Bush backers, as O'Neill's support for Edwards evinces - they simply loathe John Kerry. And rightly they should, in my opinion.

Personally, I was never that concerned with whether Kerry received medals for wounds he didn't receive or whether he embellished his wounds to get those medals or whatever. That is his own business. What is damning is: a) his testimony about the "widespread" atrocities; and b) his lying about Christmas in Cambodia.

First, if you can't figure out why his Senate testimony didn't infuriate Vets or why it is fair game, then nothing I can write will convince you otherwise. Suffice to say that his medals are Kerry's own business, but making broad, sweeping (not to mention false) generalizations about the service of thousands of soldiers to a national audience is no longer his own personal business.

Second, if Kerry wants to tell his staffers some tall tales about his war experiences, whatever; same goes for anything he tells his drinking buddies at the bar. But it's a different matter altogether to do so on the floor of the Senate, and it's another ballgame unto that to use these lies to undermine an administration. I think that deep down, most Donks probably caught on to this shameful display, since the retort to my point was always something to the effect of "well, at least Kerry served his country." Kerry made his own personal narrative into national business when he started using it as a means of advancing himself in public service. After all, the media worked themselves into a lather over PRIVATE matters of Bush's life (allegations of drug abuse and so forth); would that they had displayed a similar doggedness when it came to pronouncements on the floor of Congress.

Good for the Swifties. Hopefully they can rest somewhat easier now.


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