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August 20, 2004
Lurching From Disaster To Disaster

John Kerry has the worst tin ear for politics than anyone at least since his former Massachussetts boss, Michael Dukakis, and perhaps even worse than that. All Dukakis did was ride around in a tank wearing a helmet that made his obvious pandering look like a grade-school stunt, and he received well-deserved hoots for his effort. However, Kerry has usurped the role that his Hollywood handlers strove to hang on George Bush and John Ashcroft, attempting to intimidate combat veterans, publishers, and retailers into censoring the free political speech of dissenters:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry asked the Federal Election Commission on Friday to force Republican critics to withdraw ads challenging his military service, and accused the Bush campaign of illegally helping coordinate the attacks.

The Kerry campaign said it filed the complaint against the group behind the ads, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, "for violating the law with inaccurate ads that are illegally coordinated with the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and Republican National Committee."

And this:

Cutter sought to turn the argument over presidential readiness back on the White House. "Mr. McClellan needs to understand that John Kerry is not the type of leader who will sit and read `My Pet Goat' to a group of second graders while America is under attack," she said.

So, let's see ... the Kerry campaign's response to attacks from his former comrades in arms is to (a) call them liars, (b) sue them, (c) sue the Bush campaign, (d) send staffers out to attempt to intimidate the publisher and retailers to pull a best-selling book of political speech off the shelves, and (e) try to invoke Michael Moore's fantasy life as a campaign theme.

Can we all say "meltdown"?

Fair-minded people, who may have been sympathetic to Kerry up to this point, have to ask themselves why he's acting like a screechy old spinster whose beau had the temerity to ask her age. The Swiftvets are liars? Easily proven: sign the 180 and release all of the records, including the medical reports, all of the fitreps, the after-action reports, his journals -- everything. Mr. Bring It On could also additionally choose to stand at a podium and take questions from the so-called legitimate press in order to refute their charges on a factual basis, working from those records. (And thank you to Jake Tapper and The Note for suggesting that he answer a few of my questions at any such function -- perhaps Mr. Tapper could get me a credential to that press conference?)

Instead, the darling of the Hollywood set and the courageous war hero has run behind the skirts of Stephanie Cutter, who laughably calls George Bush's intestinal fortitude into question while her boss hides from the media. Michael Meehan has no problem getting in front of a microphone to berate Regnery and several retailers for carrying the book and suggests that they ban it from sale, which gives an enlightening view of how a Kerry administration will handle dissent. I suppose that the Northern Alliance would have to sign loyalty oaths to Kerry before being allowed around a microphone, and even then we'd have to submit our copy to Meehan before entering the booth.

Are these people really that stupid? Can a campaign for a major party be run by this many incompetent oafs?

And let's remember what it is that they're crying about -- one 527 has purchased less than $500,000 worth of TV ads attacking John Kerry. In contrast, a variety of 527s have spent over 100 times that amount attacking Bush:

McClellan also accused the Kerry campaign of sanctioning the same type of attack ads by outside groups that it is accusing the president of approving.

"I mean, where has the Kerry campaign been for the last year while more than $62 million in funding through these shadowy groups have been used to negatively attack the president?" he asked. Outside groups funded by Bush's opponents have spent millions on commercials that criticize the president.

The ad that drew Kerry's angry response on Thursday aired in only three states at a cost of well under $1 million. It features several Vietnam veterans who accuse Kerry of lying about the circumstances surrounding events for which he won his medals. Kerry received three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star while in Vietnam.

Even so, the Annenberg survey said "more than half the country has heard about or seen" the commercial the result of widespread coverage on cable television and talk radio as well as the Internet.

What concerns Team Kerry is the effectiveness of the SBVT campaign, not some supposed collusion. No wonder they're crying. Unfortunately, as my good friend and colleague Rocket Man explains at Power Line, the Kerry team built the model that the Swiftvets follow:

Hypocrisy among the Democrats is never a shock, but this is really something. The Dems' 527 organizations have spent over $50 million, compared to around $250,000 by the Vets. One of the Dems' 527's, America Coming Together, is virtually the Democratic Party in exile, and a top MoveOn staffer recently moved over to the Kerry campaign. So the idea that there is something fishy about the fact that Bob Perry donates to Republican politicians as well as to the Vets is ludicrous.

The Kerry camp has convinced itself that by remaining in what they consider "attack mode", they demonstrate leadership and decisiveness, but that's just hogwash. All they demonstrate is that Kerry can't live without his lawyers to fight the battles he started. Reasonable people don't get impressed by lawsuits -- they see lawsuits as part of the problem with American society. They want straightforward answers and skilled handling of dissenting opinions. Instead, they've watched the Democrats bury their candidate and attempt to cast attention everywhere except on the questions raised by the veterans, who have already been proven correct on the Cambodian Christmas myth.

It's meltdown time at Kerry/Edwards, and it's not a pretty sight.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 20, 2004 9:11 PM

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» Is This Kerry's "Saddam Moment?" from Demosophia
Now John Kerry has filed a lawsuit against the Swiftvets. Here's what O'Neill said recently about the Bronze Star incident, about which some twelve eyewitnesses have testified that Kerry left the scene, only returning when he felt it was safe, [Read More]

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