20 thoughts on “Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth”

  1. It will be absolutely fascincating to see what the mainstream media does with this. Anybody want to place any bets?

    The possibilities range from completely ignore it, to smear the veterens who served with Kerry as war criminals trying to cover their own deeds, to claiming this to be a conspiracy by the military-industrial complex and their right-wing benefactors to destroy the reputation of one of it’s fiercest critics, to digging into these accusations and demanding that Kerry release all his records, to using it as an opportunity to take a fresh, detatched look at the event that either shaped their journalistic careers or innspired them to get into journalism in the first place.

    My bet is towards the beginning of that list.

  2. The cynic in me leans toward the trashing of this group, however, the fact that those who vocally oppose Kerry outnumber his supporters by something like 8 to 1 (?) will make that more difficult. It is encouraging that their website is timing out when I hit the link. I think they are getting swamped with attention right now, it will be interesting to see how they handle it.

  3. Kerry chose this. He made his service in Vietnam an issue. He made the sole basis for his purported qualification to be commander in chief in wartime. Now, several of the people who were there are saying the record is not what he claims it was. These guys will be smeared, of course, and Al Hunt has started that process. But the fact is that the major media can now be outflanked, so much of the public will hear this story. The people in the video do not look like “rightwing nutjobs” to use the JibJab video terminology. They look like a bunch of old guys who want the truth to get out, and don’t look to happy about having to take the heat for doing it.

    I am strongly predisposed to think Kerry is a fraud and a liar, basically scum, dirt. So I’m not a good judge. Let’s see what less ideologically hardened viewers think about the video.

  4. Does anyone know what I’m doing wrong? I can’t seem to get the ad page to work. I’m in Firefox.

  5. Jonathan, at least you’re practicing truth in advertising. I think there is a difference between hatred of an individual and an ideological difference with an individual. “…scum, dirt.” expresses hatred, not an ideological point of view. Those comments are similar to people who hate Bush. In which case you can say to yourself, “So that’s how they feel.” This makes me ask the question, perhaps a naive one, How did politics and political discourse get to such a base level? Where is the anger from and why?(on both sides)

    Hatred; extreme dislike or antipathy; find very distasteful
    Ideology: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture; a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture

  6. Barry, I don’t know the answer to your question.

    I don’t like Kerry because I think he’s basically an unprincipled opportunist and a jerk. I can’t muster hatred for him, however, and I’m not going to lose much sleep if he gets elected. Nor do I think he’s going to wreck the country. IOW, my thoughts about Kerry aren’t even close to the kind of ideas that some of the more extreme lefties are expressing re Bush. (And I’m no Bush enthusiast, though I think that he’s probably a much better president than Kerry would be, especially on the war, which is the clincher, and he seems like an OK guy.)

  7. “How did politics and political discourse get to such a base level? ”

    I always laugh when I hear this implication that somehow at some point in the past politics was practiced in a civil manner, and that now something has changed. People who say things like this are obviously not very well aquainted with our history.

    For starters, the Revolution was not just a war for independence it was a civil war as well. Neighbor on neighbor violence was common. It’s not talked about that much but it was bloody and nasty.

    The 1790’s and the battles between the factions of Jefferson and Madison on one side and Hamilton on the other were legendary for their nasty tone, personal attacks and accusations of treason, conspiracy and sex scandals (both Jefferson and Hamilton were involved in scandals exposed and prosecuted by the other side). By the end of his presidency even Washington was considered fair game. I’m pretty sure that Washington never spoke to either Jefferson or Madison again for the rest of his life (he never wrote any letters at least).

    Eventually the Federalist party disintegrated in disgrace after it opposed the War of 1812 so vehemently that at the infamous Hartford Convention several New England states tried to seceed from the Union rather than particpate in the war.

    You obviously aren’t aware of the level of discourse during any of the presidential elections in which Andrew Jackson was a candidate.

    The there was little breakdown in political discourse that resulted in 650,000 dead, more than 2 million maimed, the impeachment of a president, and 10 years of brutal military occupation, the resulting hatred and suspicions still lingering until today. This was the period in American history when we most resembled a banana republic, not a constitutional one.

    The Great Depression resulted in some of the nastiest, conspiracy and superstition laden political discourse this country has ever seen, with the predictable result.

    Then tehre was the Vietnam erqa with accusation of communist sympathy (legitimate) miltary-industrial complexes (paranoid) and baby killing and war cimes (almost entirely fabricated).

    The vitriole of the John Kerry wing of the world hated Richard Nixon with a passion, hated his friggin’ guts. The things his political enemies said about him in public probably match what he said about them on tape in private. Watergate was at it’s core politics, plain and simple, wrapped up in disputes over the Cold War and Vietnam as much as breaking and entering and wiretapping. Both sides were out to get each other and Nixon overzealously got caught, then proceeded to make things worse. But he didn’t engage in anything that wasn’t and isn’t commonplace in politics (if you don’t believe that you’re a fool). He just never learned the old adage: when you find yourself in a hole the first step is stop digging.

    Ahh, he good old days before the internet and 527’s when everybody was civil to each other.

  8. Interesting how people find something ‘devastating’ just because it tells them what they want to hear. I find the ad exceedingly weak. A bunch of old guys saying that ‘John Kerry cannot be trusted’ or ‘John Kerry lied’ with no a single explanation or supporting statement whatsoever. Three months to go and we’re already plumbing new lows in negative mud slinging.

  9. I agree with DSpears. American politics has always been a “contact sport.” To his list of examples, I would add the brutal battle for the Presidency between Adams and Jefferson in 1800. Remember, these two had been friends during the Revolution (and, as old men, they reconciled).

    Jefferson was said to have swindled clients when he was a young lawyer. He was accused of cowardice because he served as Governor of Virginia instead of fighting during the Revolution. Charges of his hating Christianity dogged him. It was said Bibles would have to be kept hidden were he elected President. Finally, Jefferson was accused of bedding every female slave at Monticello. (We now know that, after the death of his wife, he bedded only one, Sally Hemings, whom, it seems, he really loved.)

    Jefferson hired the notorious scandalmonger, James Callender, to write an “exposé” on Adams. In his pamphlet, Callender charged that Adams was determined to make himself President for life, with his son John Quincy as his successor. Jefferson denied hiring Callender, but, having fallen out with Jefferson because he felt he was underpaid, Callender published Jefferson’s incriminating letters on the deal. When they were published, Jefferson seemed genuinely shocked by the letters, leading Joseph Ellis to conclude in FOUNDING BROTHERS that “the deepest secrets were not the ones [Jefferson] kept from his enemies but the ones he kept from himself.” (BTW, Callender, again disgruntled over his pay for the hatchet job on Adams, was the first to reveal the Jefferson/Hemings affair.)

    Adams was attacked, not only by Jefferson and his supporters, but also by the so-called “High Federalists” of his own party, who were led by Alexander Hamilton. In a pamphlet published in October, 1800, Hamilton charged Adams with almost every character flaw possible and all but said he was totally insane.

    Does the fact that Jefferson and Adams and Hamilton slung mud justify Kerry and Bush’s slinging it? Of course it doesn’t. I think, however, we should honestly admit some things. First, mud slinging is often a lot more effective than we would like to believe. Second, it’s a very old custom in American politics. Can we realistically expect more from Kerry and Bush than we got from Jefferson and Adams and Hamilton? Indeed, truth be told, I rather think less mud (both in terms of amount and intensity) is being flung today than then. (Modern media simply enables its wider dissemination. Of course, in 1800, there was not as much country to disseminate it to.) Does the present campaign represent new lows in mudslinging? Not a chance!

  10. I don’t like Kerry because I think he’s basically an unprincipled opportunist and a jerk

    If I didn’t read the word Kerry, I would have thought you were talking about Bush!

    In reference to my question regarding uncivility in political discourse, I was only referring to the present day. Some of the comments gave an interesting historical perspective. Visiting web sites of various political hues, I hear a great deal of shouting; an O’Reilly / Franken approach. A polish guy who lives in Rome once said that we tend toward “…imposing one’s limited personal opinion…” upon one another as if our opinions were truth. I know I get caught up in that mess. It is always refreshing to hear/read someone who knows what they are talking about.

  11. There are legitimate differences of opinion of how to view a given set of facts. As they say, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It all hinges on what you believe in.

    Conciliators and compromisers are necessary in the world, but they are not what we aspire to.

  12. Many differences, and especially so during electoral campaigns, have to do with selective criticism. As long as they are told what they want to hear, people are simply glad to accept it without asking too many questions. But tell them something that conflicts with their own conventional wisdom and they’ll submit you to an FBI interview. Witness the success of movies like Michael Moore’s; extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Yet, for some in the audience, they neither need nor demand any. If it fits their prejudice, it must be true. In fact, they reinforce each other : the movie reinforces the prejudice, and the prejudice makes it easier to accept Moore’s assertions.

    DSpears thinks that “Conciliators and compromisers are necessary in the world, but they are not what we aspire to.” Well, this is also a matter of taste and opinion. Compromise and consensus are hailed as inspiring virtues in some parts. France is one I know all too well.

  13. ‘ “…scum, dirt.” expresses hatred, not an ideological point of view.’

    That is precisely correct. Hatred is what I was expressing, and I am sorry if that wasn’t absolutely clear about that. I have both an ideological opposition as well as hatred for the man and his party. I grew up under their rule in Massachusetts, so I have not sentimentality about the Democrats. I mentioned that as a truth in advertising point. I may be an unusual Republican. I hate the Democrats and John Kerry as much as they hate Bush and the Republicans. More, I hope. I’ll leave it to others on this blog to be fair, nice, or even-handed. I’m none of those and don’t pretend to be.

    As to Sylvain’s point, the old guys are responding to Edwards saying “ask the men who served with Kerry what kind of man he is”. So, someone asked the men who served with Kerry and they are saying what kind of man he is. The complete details don’t fit in the three minute. You can find more details about the kind of man John Kerry is on the website and in the book. Still, there is at least one specific accusation that he lied about the injury that led to one of his purple hearts. Since Kerry has made his Vietnam service the heart of his campaign for President, by all means let us hear all about it.

  14. He brought this on himslef. I hope the “band of brotehrs” that he is paying to jet set around the country with him is put under the same scrutiny as the Swiftvets.

    Somehow I doubt that wil happen.

    “Compromise and consensus are hailed as inspiring virtues in some parts. France is one I know all too well.”

    Funny, I don’t recall that being France’s position with respect to the United States.

  15. It is interesting that Jerry Corsi, co-author of “Unfit for Command”, the book about John Kerry has a long and distinguished history of posting anti-Muslim, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic rants on “Free Republic”, a web site. (www.freerepublic.com)

  16. Corsi said he was joking, and apologized. What’s much more interesting is whether Kerry is lying about his war record. That Kerry’s campaign staff and supporters have leaped to attack the messengers, while trying to avoid responding to the substance of the accusations, suggests that Kerry is either hiding something or is remarkably inept in responding to criticism. Barry, how do you explain Kerry’s evasiveness, and his apparent lie about being in Cambodia in Christmas 1968?

    BTW, you’ll come across more credibly if you respond in this thread rather than start a new troll in another thread, as you did here.

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