American Proscenium

Smearpolitik

After several weeks of fulminating about John Kerry’s war record and the medals he presumably awarded himself, at least some veterans of the Stupid Party eventually got down to the real point about the man who wants to replace George W. Bush in the White House.  Amazingly, it was none other than the forgotten Robert Dole—himself something of a war hero from World War II and whose wounds were far more serious than any Mr. Kerry has even claimed to have suffered—who seems to have been the only man in the GOP to grasp that point.

“One day he’s saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons,” the once-and-never-again presidential candidate remarked in an interview on CNN’s Late Edition in August.  “The next day he’s standing there, ‘I want to be president because I’m a Vietnam veteran.’  Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served.  He wasn’t the only one in Vietnam.”

The point of the ugly little business about John Kerry’s war record is not whether he did or did not really do some courageous things in Vietnam or did or did not deserve the medals the Navy gave him.  Those who claim he didn’t have not proved their case, despite the bottomless eagerness of the conservative establishment...

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