Friday, August 27, 2004

Hugh Hewitt writes:
John Kerry's candidacy could have tried to avoid rekindling the old debate --it might not have worked, because of the anger now on display-- but the only way to have managed such a campaign successfully would have required both an apology for the things he said and a disciplined refusal to trade on his time in Vietnam, time marked both by bravery but also by very unusual circumstances and stories.
The rest of us don't have to be so circumspect about criticizing the CIC or the SecDef or the brass who ran the war in Vietnam. The more I learn about it, the more I think that it was LBJ's effort to fight a "sensitive" war, not allowing our troops to take it to the North where all the arms were coming from, that made it a quagmire, and our media served us very badly by allowing the myth that our troops were all depraved drug abusers and war criminals to spread so pervasively, but the fault was not in honoring our treaty obligations. It was in trying to fight a "limited" war without winning. We, both our people and our government, let our troops down, but Kerry when he came home became part of the problem, and he shouldn't be allowed to skip that part of his record. The Bush campaign is trying to focus on what Kerry's has done for the past 35 years, but it should know that it's a losing cause with the news media so rabidly against Bush.

I think that there's a lot of guilt behind all this anger, along with a lot of self-righteous hubris, and the press needs to be reminded that its job is to report not indoctrinate.

He served in Vietnam, but he didn't learn much

Ralph Peters:
Real heroes don't call themselves heroes. Honorable soldiers or sailors don't brag. They let their deeds speak for themselves. Some of the most off-putting words any veteran can utter are "I'm a war hero."

Real heroes (and I've been honored to know some) never portray their service in grandiose terms, telling TV cameras that they're reporting for duty. Real heroes may be proud of the sacrifices they offered, but they don't shout for attention.

This is so profoundly a part of the military code of behavior that it cannot be over-emphasized. The rule is that those who brag about being heroes usually aren't heroes at all. Bragging is for drunks at the end of the bar, not for real vets. And certainly not for anyone who wishes to trade on his service to become our commander-in-chief.

I'm glad somebody said this, because I couldn't without being called a chickenhawk. It should be added that real heroes don't request Purple Hearts, especially for minor wounds that didn't even require stitches.

It's been my experience with men I respect who served in Vietnam, that they don't talk about it a lot, except with other vets. I see others on the History Channel whose memories are so seared into them that they can't talk about them without choking up. I respect and admire these men, and though I never got to serve, I still think that military service is an honorable thing and is a duty of citizenship, whenever our country calls on us. The draft was necessary in WWII, but it should have been dropped much sooner, because in Vietnam it snagged a lot of kids who didn't want to be there and morale suffered, and some of them went native, resorting to VC-type tactics. But not all of them and not really all that many of them.

For Kerry to want to claim brothership with all the veterans he accused of war crimes is a betrayal you can't just brush off because it was 35 years ago. The memories of combat don't go away and neither does that testimony. Kerry has never done anything in his life out of real conviction. He didn't even give his heart to the Anti-war Movement. Throwing borrowed ribbons over the White House fence is the main symbol of his life. He wants the credit but he doesn't even understand the substance of heroism.

Update: The Kerry Spot reminds us of Kerry's snotty remarks about Admiral Mike Boorda who committed suicide in 1996 after he was criticized for wearing "V" clips over two of his medals. "The clips are awarded for valor under fire, and there was some doubt about whether Boorda's two tours in Vietnam aboard combat ships qualified him for the awards."

Considering Kerry's comments at the time about the propriety of wearing medals you didn't earn, I don't think that the SBVFT criticisms are really so overblown at all:
Is it wrong [to wear medals falsely]? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood.
Personally, I'm not qualfied to say what medals he should or shouldn't wear or even have been awarded, but his hypocrisy has opened a yawning pit under his candidacy that is getting wider all the time, and calling his critics liars and blaming Bush just adds to it. Here's more.

The news media folks who dismiss this story are part of the problem. Juan Williams went ballistic last night on FNC's Special Report about this story being given too much publicity, but I don't remember him objecting to all the poring over Bush's National Guard attendance records. Their reaction to questions about fairness and objectivity is "We can't be biased because we decide what is news, and this isn't news."

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Charm Vacuum

I quit listening to Jon Stewart some time ago, because for each hilarity you had to wade through a bunch of leftish snottiness and dirty jokes. Apparently, John Kerry appeared on the show as a guest recently. Dana Stevens reviewed the show on Slate. Best of the Web quotes the review:
Kerry's charisma was less than zero: It was negative. He was a charm vacuum, forced to actually borrow mojo from audience members. He was a dessicated [sic] husk, a tin man who really didn't have a heart. His lack of vibrancy, his utter dearth of sex appeal made Al Gore look like Charo.
Kerry basically has to reflect the humor and vitality of others; he has none of his own. When he tries to act hip, he looks like a dweeb. I'm pretty personality challenged myself, but then I don't try to get elected president by presenting myself as a cool, snowboarding, mountain biking, youthful guy.


Philip Tersian slams college students:
[T]he ignorance, laziness, sense of entitlement and lack of basic rhetorical skills are stunning.. . .

Our secondary schools, public and private, have not only substituted Maya Angelou for Robert Browning but guided their charges in perfecting the art of passing multiple-choice exams, not drafting essays. No wonder they cannot write, or organize their thoughts, or marshal an argument, or identify the decade in which the Civil War took place. No wonder they confuse Theodore Roosevelt with his cousin Franklin D.
I hope Maya Angelou doesn't see that.

I don't like this

The AP reports:
President Bush wants to work with Republican Sen. John McCain to pursue court action against political ads by "shadowy" outside groups, the White House said Thursday amid growing pressure on the president to denounce attacks on John Kerry's war record.

"The president said if the court action doesn't work, that he would be willing to pursue legislative action with Sen. McCain on that," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New Mexico.

Sen. McCain (R., Ariz.) has called on Mr. Bush to condemn the anti-Kerry ads, even as he is actively supporting Mr. Bush's re-election. The senator welcomed Mr. Bush's gesture.
They clearly don't get it. Maybe Bush is trying to prove that he's not behind the Swift Boat Vets' ads, but he should know better than to try to mess with peoples' First Amendment rights. Free public debate and political speech is what freedom of speech and of the press are all about. We seem to be turning them on their heads by protecting pornography and trying to regulate political speech.

I'm deeply disappointed in Bush and I lost all respect for McCain after he started advocating campaign finance regulations. It's a stupid move on Bush's part, because it will alienate a lot of people like me without winning any support from the middle and left.


But I doubt that most Democrats would get the joke.

The uses of sophistry

Kerry is practicing the time honored technique of accusing your opponent of doing exactly what you've been doing to him. Fred Barnes points out that Kerry treats any criticism of him as "smearing and sliming" while he denounces Bush as being behind the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. Kerry's campaign undoubtedly does more to coordinate with 527s than Bush's ever has.

Why does he employ such blatantly dishonest tactics? Because they work. He can't publish the truth about his vaunted service in Vietnam, because he knows it will only raise more issues than it will solve, so he has gone to the Goebbels "Big Lie" technique, which he knows no Democrat will question. Basically he's depending on the basic ignorance of Democrat core constituencies like union workers and blacks who believe whatever inflammatory bilge their leaders dump on them, as well as the ignorance of undecided voters, who if they paid the least interest to this campaign would have made up their minds long ago. The problem for Kerry is that this can only work for so long before people start to notice that he's not offering any evidence for his charges.

Maybe he thinks that his droning rhetoric will put us all into a trance. It certainly glazes my eyes, but the Republicans haven't done a very good job at countering it. Maybe that's a false impression on my part, since I live in Utah, hardly a battleground state.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What's really Orwellian

is the way groups with obvious axes to grind give themselves heroic sounding names:
America Coming Together, Americans for Democratic Action, People for the American Way, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the whole Progressive political movement, and most of the groups on this list.

Sadly, it seems that a lot of Americans must be deluded by this newspeak, or that the organizers of such groups are themselves.

Monday, August 23, 2004

To hell with Hardball!

I want to see Brinkley interviewed by Brit Hume.

I agree with Ann Althouse that the Kerry response to the Swift boat Vets ads only makes him look less honest and certainly insulting to the American people. But then, that's always how I've viewed the national Democrat campaign tactics. It seems that now a lot of people who consider themselves liberal, are noticing these tactics for the first time. The pro-Gore ad by the NAACP in 2000 certainly showed a low opinion of the intelligence and the critical thinking skills of black voters.

If Kerry has a solid case about his record, why isn't he presenting it instead of calling other veterans liars and trying to tie it to Bush. As I recall, the Republicans didn't have any 527 organizations running ads until they challenged the activities of and George Soros and the FEC refused to act. So, as I see it, Kerry has counted on the big money behind his 527s and the bias of the mainstream media, and it hasn't done the job. For him to blame this all on Bush begs the question of whether Democrats don't have some responsibility for the current mud throwing. They wanted to reform campaign finance but still spend the money of rich liberals and they don't want the other side to do the same. That's all that this boils down to.

Hard hitting, investigative reporting -- Not!

The headline of this story is Kerry TV Ad Pins Veterans' Attack Firmly on Bush, but the story says:
Kerry released a television advertisement yesterday blaming President Bush for a campaign by a "front group" of veterans that Mr. Kerry said had smeared his Vietnam record, as he intensified his drive to gain control in a fight that some Democrats said could undermine his campaign for the presidency.
How does that "pin firmly" anything? It's an allegation, nothing more.

But the real story is about Bob Dole's comments yesterday, spun as proof that the Bush Campaign is coordinating these ads.

Is this what the New York Times, America's newspaper of record, has been reduced to, reporting on the content of political ads? It obviously doesn't want to investigate Kerry's history, preferring to take his word for everything, but that leaves it only the role of a Democrat newsletter. How much free political advertising has Kerry received from stories like this in the major print media?

Breaking the truce

Adeimantus points out why the Swift boat vets said nice things about Kerry before he started making his Vietnam tour of duty the centerpiece of his claim to be a great defender of the country.

Update: The piece has been published on the website.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


This must be in that alternate universe where Kerry has a goatee.

The War is slipping in the polls

At least, if you believe in push polling. I guess it just shows that being blasted by anti-war and slanderous rhetoric for 18 months can cause a shift in people's perceptions.