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September 15, 2004
Kedwards Campaign Shrieks ... Again

The Kerry/Edwards campaign has a bad case of Vietnamitis -- no matter what the issue or the debate, they find a way to throw in Vietnam as their rebuttal, usually in a hysterical shriek that could serve as a parody in and of itself. The latest example of these non-sequitur responses came from Dick Cheney's speech yesterday, in which he reminded people of the many positions John Kerry has taken on the Iraq war:

Vice President Dick Cheney turned Sen. John Kerry's own words against him Tuesday while criticizing the Democrat for calling the war in Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." In an echo of a charge President Bush leveled at Kerry last week, Cheney contended that Kerry's position was held early in the primary campaign by Democratic presidential rival Howard Dean.

"Sen. Kerry said, and I quote, 'Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president,'" Cheney said.

"In the spirit of bipartisanship, that's one position of Sen. Kerry's that I do agree with," he said.

Like it or not, that's political debate, and pointing out inconsistencies in an opponent's publicly stated positions is not only fair game, but very germane to the election. In response, one would normally expect the Kerry campaign to present examples of Cheney or Bush switching positions or a clarification of the nuance behind the seeming contradiction that Cheney points out. One would expect that kind of response from adults. This is what we get from the shrill adolescents at the Kerry/Edwards campaign:

Mark Kitchens, a spokesman for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, called Cheney's criticism an insult.

"Cheney's attacks come from a man who took five deferments from Vietnam and are disingenuous at best. His attacks are an insult to all of us who have ever worn the uniform," Kitchens said. "George Bush and Dick Cheney like to blame others for their failures but they fail to see that the buck stops at their desks at the White House."

For a campaign which has seen its Viet Nam strategy completely crash and burn, they don't seem to learn much. And if all we ever hear from Kerry on policy issues -- and Iraq is a pretty important policy issue right now -- is that Cheney had five deferments back in the 60s, this may wind up being the dullest landslide victory in American history. The hysterical insults being tossed at every turn by the Democrats may crank up the International ANSWER set, but it's going to turn off the centrists who like to vote for adults in November.

Besides, the Vice-Presidential debate's going to sound like a night with your teenager, at this rate:

Moderator: What is your policy on free trade?

Cheney: We believe that free trade is a liberating influence and that respect for property rights allows for the establishment of democracy.

Edwards: Five deferments!

M: That's not what I asked --

E: I only got one, but he got five! It's not fair!

M: Senator, if I could interject --

E: I swear, this is so stupid. Five deferments!

M: Could you stop trying to change the subject, please?

E: Well, I'm just saying, it's not fair.

It sounds like the entire Kerry/Edwards campaign could use a time-out. Let's hope some grown-ups arrive to put the babies to bed sometime soon.

UPDATE: Yes, Edwards also got a student deferment during Viet Nam. I've added a link.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 15, 2004 5:54 AM

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