Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Kerry, Bush and the Swiftboat 'Veterans'

"Vietnam war veteran and Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry has been ambushed and, for the moment, remains caught in enemy fire. Having made his five-month stint of decorated service in Vietnam the heart of his platform, it is now emerging as his achilles heel.

A group of veterans financed by Republicans from Texas and close to President George Bush are airing ads calling him a liar for the claims he has made about his service and suggesting that he did not come by his military medals honestly. Their case is shoddy, given that none of the Swift-boat Veterans for Truth were with Kerry at the time and their claims have been refuted by those who were. Their motivation is shabby, as most of them are piqued by the fact that Kerry returned home to campaign against the war. All of which makes the fact that their attacks have had such a huge impact that much more revealing.

For since the ads began screening, Kerry's slight lead in the polls has been shaved away. Two weeks ago, before the ads appeared, he was running even with Bush among the nation's 26 million veterans. Now Bush has a 24-point lead. The issue dominating the news cycle is not what is happening in Najaf today but what happened in the Mekong delta 35 years ago."

There are three things we can learn from this. First, there is no level to which Republicans will not stoop to besmirch a character, belittle an issue or befuddle the electorate. Second, there is no level to which the Democrats will not stoop to attempt to neutralise these attacks. And third, that the Republicans will always win in this race to the bottom because so much less is expected of them and, when it comes to muck-slinging, they have no qualms about getting their hands dirty.

Read the rest:,,1288586,00.html

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