The primary strategy (at least until his story began to implode this week) of the Dems this year was to put forth a decorated Vietnam vet, and attempt to contrast him with a president and vice president who hadn’t served in that war. The hope was that they could set up his record as sacrosanct, and unquestionable. For the most part, until the Swifties came along, the Republicans went along with the deal (“No one questions Senator Kerry’s service to his country in Vietnam”).
But here’s a problem with that argument that occurred to me the other night. The stock response from the Dems is “He volunteered to go to war, he gave his blood for our country, he fought bravely, he earned commendations.”
But unfortunately, he’s not the only person of whom all that could be said. Clearly, his four-month resume, by itself, even if accepted at face value, will not be sufficient to launch him into the White House. Now that his war stories have been severely damaged, the real battle in the fall will be what he’s done since the war, and I don’t think that it’s going to be very pretty picture.
[Update at 12:30 PM PDT]
Am I the only one that sees nothing in this story to justify the headline “Kerry Campaign Unfazed by Bush Attacks”?
First of all, these aren’t “Bush attacks.” They’re Swift Boat Vet attacks. And there’s nothing in the behavior of the Kerry campaign that could be characterized as “unfazed.”
And of course, trial lawyer John Edwards urges the president to violate the law, by coordinating with a 527:
“This is a moment of truth for George W. Bush,” Edwards said at a Democratic rally. “We’re going to see what kind of man he is and what kind of leader he is. … We want to hear three words: Stop these ads.”
And the Bush spokesman makes the excellent point that the only campaign that’s denigrating the service of Vietnam veterans is the Kerry campaign (in their attacks on the Swift Boat Vets). And speaking of denigrating vets, check out this latest outrage from Pat Oliphant.
[Update a few minutes later]
No, of course I’m not comparing John Kerry to Benedict Arnold.
Benedict Arnold was a competent military commander.