Friday, August 06, 2004
Because everyone has to have a Swift Boat Vets post: Today's big news was the unveiling of a one-minute ad that's being run in a very small number of broadcast markets.
I've got issues with John Kerry's positions on an entire slew of issues. My first instinct when it comes to Kerry's service in Vietnam is that it is largely irrelevant to the 2004 election, except for how it may have influenced his underlying beliefs on the use of American military might. (I think a valid and pertinent question to put to Kerry in the upcoming debates would be on that very point -- does his Vietnam experience make him too reticent to use military power when it is called for? Would he set the standard for "wars of necessity" so high as to require an attack on the American homeland before he would authorize military force?)
The subject of Vietnam isn't a winner for President Bush. Bush served honorably in the National Guard (no matter what the Michael Moores' of the world claim), but serving stateside isn't the same as serving in Vietnam.
The White House and the Republican National Committee are rightfully running away from this. They're wisely staying on the sidelines.
But as far as the substance of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's claims, it is something that should definitely be investigated -- and I'm not talking about where their money is coming from. The media need to get their best investigative reporters on this and determine what is the truth. The same level of coverage and scrutiny given to President Bush's National Guard records need to be applied to Sen. Kerry's records. To just give the American people a "he said, she said" account isn't enough. And these stories in The New York Times certainly aren't sufficient.
What's really troubling is the Kerry campaign and the Democrat National Committee's response to these ads. It's expected and acceptable to denounce them -- it's something all together different to sic your lawyers on them.
The New York Times report today characterizes the threat letter thusly:
At the same time the Democratic Party said three television stations had agreed to its request to cease showing the advertisement. [emphasis added]
Request? Does this sound like a request to you?
Because your station has this freedom, and because it is not a "use" of your facilities by a clearly identified candidate, your station is responsible for the false and libelous charges made by this sponsor.
There are other problems with the threat letter, it states that the men in the ad claimed to have served on Kerry's Swift Boat -- none of them did, they simply said they served "with Kerry." It's like saying that they didn't serve in Kerry's platoon, but these guys all served in other platoons in the same company. They're close enough to have first-hand knowledge of Kerry's conduct in Vietnam.
Based on my old college Media Law class, I'd say that Sen. Kerry would have a snowball's chance in hell of winning any case brought against these guys.
It should also be noted, that this isn't the first threat letter that's been sent out, the Club for Growth got a similar one.
There are more important things than a 30-year-old war that need to be debated. Kerry's sole qualification for the presidency seems to be Vietnam -- it was the beginning, middle, and end of his convention acceptance speech. Every time this comes up, Republicans need to dismiss it and focus on Kerry's votes in the Senate. That's where he's vulnerable.
On a related note: I would like to point out, that despite the claims made at the Democrat convention, Kerry didn't intend to volunteer for front-line combat. Again, not a winner for Bush, but a truth check for those debates with your liberal relatives.