Mickey Kaus has long noted that Senator Kerry does much better when he doesn’t campaign. The less people see of him, the better he does in the polls. So this story, that he’s taking the next three weeks off, isn’t necessarily that surprising. However, I wonder if it’s also a way to continue to avoid press questions about his Vietnam record, and hoping that it will somehow blow over by then? Clearly, his people still don’t have a substantive response to the Swift Vets’ charges, instead deflecting them with a non-sequitur:
Along the trail, the campaign also had to deal with a variety of distractions.
A group of Vietnam veterans, angry at Kerry’s anti-war activities when he returned from Southeast Asia, accused Kerry of misrepresenting his combat record, and the extent of his wounds.
Kerry aides called the charges ludicrous, contrasting their candidates’ three Purple Hearts with the lack of war experience from Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bush and Cheney’s war records, or lack thereof, aren’t the issue, of course, since they’ve never made them one. Neither of them has claimed their respective behavior in the late sixties as uniquely qualifying them for the job, as Kerry has. Try as the Kerry campaign might, such comparisons are spurious. The issue is not Kerry’s record versus theirs, but his claimed record, on which he’s staked his candidacy, versus the reality.
If Kerry doesn’t fear the truth, he should be demanding that journalists investigate the claims of his former band of brothers, and validate him, instead of engaging in ad hominem attacks on them. But apparently that’s a very big “if.” Easier to go on vacation and attempt to change the subject.
[Late afternoon update]
Here’s another Vietnam vet (he claims to be a former SEAL) who finds Kerry’s Cambodia stories more than a little fishy.
[Another update, a few minutes later]
Brit Hume is not going to let this story go away. After getting into a heated discussion with Juan Williams over this yesterday on Fox News Sunday, he devoted half the panel to it today on his show. And Juan continues to be an obfuscating moron, claiming that the Washington Post and New York Times have already investigated the claims. Both Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke set him straight, but I’m sure that he still doesn’t get it. Fred calls the mainstream media’s failure to report this the biggest dereliction of journalistic duty that he’s ever seen in his career.