By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
References to Vietnam have an additional benefit for Kerry, for that war symbolizes the harm that can occur when a government misleads the citizenry about a war. For decades, conservatives and Republicans have used Vietnam to accuse Democrats of being wimps on national security and unpatriotic or even treasonous. (Remember how the right went gaga over Clinton’s anti-war activities.) Kerry and his advisers have deftly turned Vietnam into a double liability for Bush.
In these post-9/11 and orange-colored days, to defeat a wartime president — even one who, in botching a war, has undermined the necessary campaign against al Qaeda — Kerry may have to prove he not only has the right ideas and the right experience but the right stuff. Threatening to lead a filibuster in the Senate to block drilling in the Alaskan wilderness is not quite sufficient. Nor is having mounted an inquiry into CIA connections to drug runners during the Contra war in Nicaragua. So, when I stare into the sunglasses of police officers who stop me and check my car before I can head down Constitution Avenue, reminding me that I am working in a potential war zone — and when voters gaze at their television sets and see pictures of helicopters, limousines and trucks and are told that any of these vehicles can deliver the next blow to our country — I am thankful Kerry pulled off some derring-do three decades ago. Who would have thought that Vietnam might save us from warmongers?
A TV ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 advocacy group (formed to raise unregulated soft money), accuses John Kerry of lying about his war record and betraying his comrades by later opposing the Vietnam War. Here is some of the fallout:
“It’s notable that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was formed not by a Swift Boat veteran but by Merrie Spaeth, a Republican PR hack from Houston whose late husband ran for the office of lieutenant governor in Texas with George W. Bush.”
“They did the same thing to John McCain in 2000 — the same group. In support of the same crowd.”
on The Daily Show, August 9
“I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat [Kerry] commanded . . . I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam . . . I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad . . . I can’t believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt.”
The White House Bulletin, August 5
Q: Do you — does the president repudiate this 527 ad that calls Kerry a liar on Vietnam?
Mr. McClellan: We have been very clear in stating that, you know, we will not — and we have not and we will not question Senator Kerry’s service in Vietnam. I think that this is another example of the problem with the unregulated soft-money activity that is going on. It does nothing to elevate the discourse. We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft-money ads and activity. Q: So the president joins McCain in criticizing this particular ad?
Mr. McClellan: We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft-money ads and activity that are going on.
Q: Scott, more specifically, though, will the president or the campaign ask this particular group to pull this particular ad off the air?
Mr. McClellan: We’re calling for a cessation to all the unregulated soft-money activity, and we hope that the Kerry campaign will join us.
—Compiled By Michael Hoinski