By smearing Kerry via the Swift Boat front group the Bush camp wins tactical advantages no matter what happens. Even as the various bizzarro allegations by not-so-Swifties are being systematically proved to be a complete tissue of lies and are even turning off at least one high-profile media supporter, the whole flap is making Kerry spend money on a counter-ad — a very good ad but it's still money, and distracting people from stuff that matters.
[Update: How could I forget to link to swiftvets.eriposte.com, the comprehensive fact-compiling and checking site on Kerry & Vietnam!?!] [Update 2: this devastating letter from another swift boat eyewitness puts yet another nail in a well-nailed coffin.]
(Oh yes, even the Xmas in Cambodia mis-speak has a very rational explanation.)
It remains to be seen whether Bush/Cheney's tactical gains can be overcome by a strategic loss — which happens only if Kerry/Edwards can put the albatros of dirty pool around the Bush/Cheney necks.
From a strategic, campaign point-of-view, I think recent developements look very good for Kerry/Edwards, and hold a major opportunity or two.
First, the Kerry campaign ad you noted depicts the current smear job as part of a pattern. It thus drives home the point that Bush isn’t basically a nice/honest/plainspoken guy. This is one of his greatest strengths, and the unraveling Swift Boat Smear scandal, as K/E reveal that Bush is behind it, threatens Bush tremendously. One Bush campaign official has already resigned over it.
Most of the public already thinks Bush has been very negative in this campaign. If K/E can fundamentally alter how Bush is perceived, it will be well worth the money. A Bush seen as a cowardly dirty trickster won’t get a whole lot of traction on future anti-Kerry smears.
Second, the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq are almost uncanny, especially if you consider Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony. Since the Swifties have now brought that up in an attempt to smear Kerry, there’s a major opportunity to redirect the issue to how the administration has failed in Iraq, and show Kerry to be a consistent fighter not only for our troops but for smart, moral foreign policy.
All in all, I think many Democrats are too used to seeing Republican smears working, and have too few examples of those smears being turned back on their source. Too often, we just want them to go away. But this time, we’d be passing up a major opportunity if that happened. I think K/E are being very smart in pursuing this extremely aggressively.
As a clarification of the above, Ken Cordier is the Bush/Cheney campaign member who resigned. Not sure if it’s entirely accurate to call him a “campaign official”, but as of August 19, he was listed as a member of the campaign. Via Digby:
As a clarification of the above, Ken Cordier is the Bush/Cheney campaign member who resigned. Not sure if it’s entirely accurate to call him a “campaign official”, but as of August 19, he was listed as a member of the campaign.
He evidently appeared in a SBVT ad.
Having to respond is a distraction from the real issues facing our country, but perceptions of character is yet another important variable in the voting equation. On that score, at least, Bush has placed himself yet again in a very embarrassing position for several reasons:
1. Republican denials of no connection with SBVT has been revealed as a lie. Not only is it a lie, but it’s illegal. And I think Democrats.com reported flyers showing that the Republican party is coordinating with SBVT.
2. John McCain, a leading light in the GOP who for a while looked like he was a lock to remain loyal to the GOP, appears to be having second thoughts out of resentment over Bush smearing fellow veterans just like he was back in 2000.
3. Bush’s failure to respond quickly (whether to condemn the ads or to defend their attacks on Kerry as legitimate) makes him look craven. For a graphic example, Brad Delong in his blog reported the text of Scott McClellan’s pathetic attempt to wiggle out of a very direct question on whether Bush agrees with or repudiates the SBVT ads.
4. Other veterans, like the editor of the Chicago Tribune, who were there are now speaking out because they are tired of having Bush–in his zeal to smear Kerry–denigrate the service of other troops who served. Put differently, if I was shot at in war, I’d be damned if some stay-at-home coward would cast illegitimate questions about an operation where I risked my life.
In short, Kerry has been given yet more ammunition that the Republicans and Bush are a bunch of snakes who can be counted on to alienate friends in their eagerness to destroy foes, to not tell the truth, and to not even act to do the right thing. Just like everything else the Bush administration has done, this has bitten them in the ass. Why, O why, does anybody support such fools?!
As the Bush campaign persists in their feckless attack on Kerry’s war record, it’s not just the ” albatross of dirty pool” that will end up around Bush’s neck, but the “albatross of desertion and bad faith”.
If I may quote my blog at Smartest man in the entire universe, that Karl Rove
First, you cook up a campaign that slimes your opponent, who volunteered for the service, volunteered for Viet Nam, signed up twice, and volunteered for the most dangerous duty in the Navy, receiving four medals. And, it’s a triple-pronged attack, because it also slimes every person who ever got a military medal, and accuses the entire US Navy of 30 years of ongoing corruption. And all the while, your man was stoned out of his gourd in some state that was apparently neither Alabama or Texas, after having deserted from his cushy stateside National Guard duty.
Yeah, that ought to work just fine. After all, it only has to hold for a little over two more months.
Forgot the scariest last step…was just taking a drive and happened by accident on WEAT in West Palm, which airs the Bill O’Reilly show…his guest commentator was scathingly rebuking Kerry for having reopened the old wound of Viet Nam, which the country was of course over….So after all the cooking’s done, I guess we start blaming anyone but the cook…
Has Bob Dole gone round-the -bend?
Dole went around the bend a long, long time ago.
I would like to see Kerry go directly at the implicit smear of EVERY Veteran’s service, and medals and decorations from that service. If Kerry could somehow award himself a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts maybe Grandpa’s medals from Guadalcanal, or Billy’s from Baghdad, aren’t worth the paper to print the citations either.
An emphatic defense of the honorable service of EVERY Veteran would not only put the liars on the defensive, making them deny that anybody but Kerry ever got undeserved baubles for the uniform, it would also reel in any lost support from Veterans who may have bought the smears.
This Swift Boat thing has me furious…
I’ve abandoned my family’s Republican heritage (which I shared for 32 years since I registered to vote in 1972) and became a (gulp) Democrate.
Second, I abused my seminary education and wrote Galilean Disciples for Truth
let swift boat vets know what you think:
Joe Ponder, (352) 473-2451, 6986, Deer Springs Rd, Keystone Heights, FL 32656
George M Elliott, (302) 645-5071, 124 Gills Neck Rd, Lewes, DE 19958
Adrian Lonsdale, (508) 758-4046, , Mattapoisett, MA 02739
Van Odell, (281) 395-1703, 1622, Crescent Point Dr, Katy, TX 77494
Grant W Hibbard, (850) 932-7001, 3830 Bangkok Cv, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Letson Louis E Dr Jr, (256) 259-1555, 323 Parks Ave Scottsboro, AL 35768
Roy A Hoffman, (804) 935-0943, 3221 Coppermill Trce, Richmond, VA 23294
John O’Neil (713) 654-7600, 1000 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
John Bare, 422 Mill Creek Road, Bird in Hand, PA 17505
Kenneth Buchholz, (972) 355-7623, 1516 Wildflower Lane, Flower Mound, TX 75028
Jack Chenoweth, (573) 964-6872, 108 Hidden Acres, Lake Ozark, MO 65049
Tom Costarino, (703) 748-1602, 2039 Lord Fairfax Rd, Vienna, VA 22182
Morton Golde, (904) 221-7093, 689 Sandringham Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32225
Charles R. Grutzius, (703) 620-0929, 3221 Wildmere Pl, Herndon, VA 20171
Mike Kovanen, (509) 628-9560, 279 Gage Blvd, Richland, WA 99352
Dennis Spranger, (262) 637-6736, 3000 Olive St, Racine, WI 53405