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August 6, 2004
Upping The Ante

After the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth ad and book came out this week, the Kerry campaign (as well as the ever-helpful John McCain) demanded that the Bush/Cheney campaign "denounce" the hundreds of veterans who spoke their minds in "Unfit For Command". Instead, the Bush campaign has upped the ante, and the Kerry campaign can't afford to meet the bid:

The White House yesterday distanced itself from a political ad that questions John Kerry's Vietnam service and called on the Democratic presidential nominee to join President Bush in demanding an "immediate cessation" of all advertisements by outside groups.

"We have not and will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters aboard Air Force One. "The president is calling for an immediate cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity."

In one quick shot, the Democrats have their hypocrisy exposed. No one denounced MoveOn when they hosted advertisements comparing Bush to Hitler, and let's not forget that it was the DNC chairman himself that appeared in the media denouncing Bush as a "deserter" -- and no one from the Kerry campaign complained about that at all. Both men were honorably discharged from the service, and Bush didn't base his entire PR on his few years in the Air National Guard over thirty years ago. Now that an unaffiliated group has decided to answer Kerry's campaigning on his four-month war record, they start shrilly squealing about dirty tricks.

What happened to "BRING ... IT ... ON"?

Now Bush has escalated the stakes even higher, challenging the Democrats to disavow all third-party advertising and cutting off its support. The Kerry campaign has strategized for their efforts to step up, especially this month, as it has decided not to spend much of the federal funding that Kerry received at the end of the convention in order to match Bush in the fall. Simply put, Kerry cannot afford to disavow and discourage independent political activities.

The effect of Bush's calling the bluff shows in the "nuanced" response from the Kerry campaign:

"We're glad to have a discussion about campaign finance reform. But it's disingenuous for the Bush campaign to hide behind this partisan group that's trying to tear down John Kerry's distinguished military service record," Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said. "It's a reminder of why this White House has lost credibility."

Of course, as I said earlier, this response is a complete dodge, considering the glee with which the Kerry campaign and the Democrats discussed the supposedly damning Bush military record, until documentation and witnesses came forward to back Bush's service record and his honorable discharge. The Kerry campaign now gets to reap what they have sown, and if it happens that reaping season for the Kerry comes later than they'd like (or sooner), that's hardly the fault of the Bush campaign. Blame Terry McAuliffe for making thirty-year-old service activity a favorite campaign issue. And if they want the Republicans to attack anti-Kerry 527s, then let's hear Kerry denounce MoveOn first.

We'll hold our breath as much as we possibly can while laughing our butts off.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 6, 2004 10:16 AM

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