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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Election Recap

The Democrat's Choice at AmericanThinker.com is a pretty even handed recap of the Kerry candidacy.

The article ends with this summary: "Something vs. Nothing: The Democrats have yet to grasp that they have chosen the losing side."

Other Excerpts:

A political axiom holds that you can’t beat something with nothing. The Democratic Party, however, keeps trying.

In the final days of the 2000 campaign, Democrat operatives and their media accomplices broke the story of George W. Bush’s 1976 DUI conviction. What made it a “story” is not entirely clear. Granting that the barest suspicion of hypocrisy is sufficient to loose the hounds, and any actual evidence can destroy a politician’s career, especially a Republican politician’s, where was the hypocrisy? Bush had talked openly about his drinking problem and his decision to overcome it, acknowledging that he done certain things he wasn’t proud of. Uncovering a scrape with the law that happened after he turned his life around would be the journalistic equivalent of tossing a side of beef into a school of piranhas. But what exactly was the purpose of highlighting an embarrassment that occurred during a stretch of his life that, by his own admission, was pockmarked by episodes of improper behavior? How did it qualify as “news”?

Over the final weekend of the 2000 campaign, millions of seniors received a telephone message, taped by far-left actor Ed Asner, warning them that a Bush victory would threaten their social security benefits. Four years later, the voice on the message belonged to Hal Linden, but the content was unchanged.

Bush commented that he has been the President for a few years now and nobody missed any checks: the Democrats pull this stuff every election--why should anyone take them seriously?


By nominating John Kerry, Democrats ensured that they would instigate a vigorous debate on the Vietnam War. Here was a man who had thrust himself into the national consciousness by branding his fellow veterans as war criminals. Following his return from active duty, he made unauthorized visits to the North Vietnamese delegations in Paris, and became an articulate advocate for the enemy position (John Edwards was shocked by entries in Kerry’s diary that historian Douglas Brinkley kept under wraps until the election was over).


Banding together as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, they–Kerry’s entire chain of command—presented a version of events that differed sharply from the candidate’s self-serving account of his own unparalleled heroism, an account that was accepted uncritically by the mainstream media. One of them, John O’Neill, who had debated Kerry on the Dick Cavett Show in the early seventies, co-authored a book, Unfit for Command, which laid out the case in painstaking detail.

The Democratic response to the attacks of the Swiftees was absolutely characteristic. They first attempted to discredit individual members of the group by tying them to Republican cash cows. Next, they pressured radio stations to refuse to grant airtime to anyone deviating from the official Kerry line. They demanded that bookstores refrain from stocking Unfit for Command. Droves of party hacks descended on the talk shows to denounce the decorated vets as “liars,” employing a fascinating technique: dissenters from received truth had to be lying because the official records supported Kerry’s version. The Swiftees contended that Kerry wrote the version that found its way into the official records, so whatever your judgment of the respective sides, the question of origin was central to the dispute.


In every respect, what was on display was the quintessential Democratic response: a no-holds-barred attack that savaged the opponent on every level. No consideration at all was given to the possibility that the Swift Boat veterans felt any genuine emotions, or were expressing grievances rooted in reality. As always, there were no “issues,” just an enemy that stood in the path to the White House and needed to be liquidated.

By cobbling together Unfit Commander, the Democrats felt they had achieved symmetry-- you attack the military record of our guy, we’ll do the same to yours. One thought completely alien to their mindset, a concept that simply could not be entertained by any of them, was that the Swiftees were real, while Texans for Truth were fakes. Many liberals and leftists hate George Bush for his Christianity; a disturbingly large number hate him because he will routinely opt to protect America in reckless defiance of the wishes of Old Europe.
There is a line above about Douglas Brinkley witholding information about Kerry. Some of that information is in a Newsweek article in the November 15th issue, already available online.

Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, also wanted to take a swipe at the Swifties. Edwards was hardly an attacker in the Dole (or Cheney) tradition of vice presidential hit men; his whole persona and appeal were based on sunny optimism. But as early as Aug. 5, when the Swifties were just getting traction, Edwards wanted to push back, hard. McCain had just told the Associated Press that the Swift Boat ads were "dishonest and dishonorable... the same kind of deal that was pulled on me." Edwards wanted to begin a speech, "I join with Senator McCain in calling on the president to condemn this dishonest and dishonorable ad." But Kerry headquarters said no. Stephanie Cutter, the boss of the Kerry communications shop, explained that the campaign didn't need to give the Swift Boat vets any more attention than they were already getting.

Edwards played along, but his aides were indignant. They warned the veep candidate that the story was already out of control and about to get worse. Historian Douglas Brinkley, author of a wartime biography of Kerry, cautioned that Kerry's diary included mention of a meeting with some North Vietnamese terrorists in Paris. Edwards was flabbergasted. "Let me get this straight," the senator said. "He met with terrorists? Oh, that's good."

Now, Newsweek didn't just uncover this nice little tidbit..."Let me get this straight," average Joe said. "Newsweek coordinated the release of information with the Kerry campaign? Oh, that's good."


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