August 23, 2004
It amazes me that Republicans are peddling the Swift Boat ad.
Now I'm not surprised that they would peddle any junk they can get their hands on.
No, what amazes me is that the ad seems to be working.
Here's John Kerry, who volunteered to fight in Vietnam and won three purple hearts, a bronze star, and a silver star.
And here's George W. Bush, who has bopkes, as we say in Yiddish. He weasled his way into the National Guard and--shall I put it charitably?-had only a spotty record there, at best.
I would have thought that this would be obvious to anyone watching the slanderous commercials, and that the smear would quickly rub off on Bush.
It wasn't even a good smear.
After all, an investigation by the New York Times has revealed that some of the very people accusing Kerry about the circumstances surrounding his medals had previously praised him for his bravery on the days in question.
On top of that, the connections to Bush grow clearer every day. Bob Perry, a longtime associate of Karl Rove's and a huge contributor to Bush's campaigns, forked over 200 grand for the ad. And others on board the anti-Kerry ad team have a web of interlocking connections with Bush.
And here's a direct one: A Vietnam vet named Ken Cordier was doing veterans' outreach for the Bush campaign up until August 19. Guess what? He's also on the Swift Boat Vets steering committee and appeared in one of its commercials, according to Reuters and journalist William Rivers Pitt.
At the end of the day, I still believe these ads will backfire.
Other veterans will start to wonder whether their own medals could be so easily, so sleazily, besmirched. And fair-minded Americans everywhere eventually ought to be able to see through the muck.
Disgust will register.
And "enough is enough" is likely to be the prevailing sentiment.