by John Hawkins | September 2, 2004 10:47 pm
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Either someone is doing a very bad job of advising John Kerry or he’s buying into that old saw that both parties’ faithful always repeat “We’re just lying there and taking it! We’re not fighting back” and he’s insisting on saying this in his speech tonight…
“We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in-chief. We’ll, here’s my answer. I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.
The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I’ll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.
Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you’re still on their payroll makes you unfit. That’s the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it’s not going to change. I believe it’s time to move America in a new direction; I believe it’s time to set a new course for America.”
Of course, nobody challenged John Kerry’s patriotism at the Republican convention, that’s just a dodge that Democrats use when Republicans start pointing out how bad their voting records are on security related issues (See Max Cleland for a perfect example of what I’m talking about). Furthermore, if you check Dick Cheney’s speech last night, you won’t find the words “unfit” or “office” in the speech. All you’ll see is a very pointed, illuminating attack on John Kerry’s poor record on security issues.
Moreover, strategically, this is a dumb thing for Kerry to say on so many levels…
“The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I’ll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.”
First of all, that’s the sort of charge you send surrogates out to make because it sounds nasty, partisan, and unpresidential, especially when compared to the very gracious & respectful way that the Bush campaign has treated Kerry’s military service. Furthermore, it’s not going to hurt Dick Cheney or help John Kerry. People already know Cheney got deferments during the war and that John Kerry served.
Furthermore, by continuing to put his Vietnam record front and center in the campaign, Kerry helps keep the charges by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth front and center in the campaign.
On top of all of that, we’ve got Kerry complaining about a war he voted for and talking about the Saudis and Haliburton? What, is Michael Moore writing his campaign speeches for him now?
Maybe Kerry feels like he needs to ramp it up a notch since the momentum is swinging dramatically in Bush’s direction because of Swift Boat Vets for Truth & the convention, but John Kerry is going to hurt himself more than he hurts Bush by personally launching these sort of shrill attacks…which actually suits me just fine =D
*** Update #1***: From a post I wrote back on Feb 11, 2004…
“Most importantly, you have to remember that the last thing a Massachusetts liberal with a terrible voting record on security issues wants to do is go toe to toe on defense issues with George Bush in a time of war. So expect him to try to use the old Max Cleland dodge to get out of it. Kerry will claim that simply being a decorated Vietnam vet makes him credible on national defense and if anyone questions his judgement, they’re attacking his patriotism. Then the issue becomes the attacks on his patriotism, not his sure to be mousey foreign policy.”
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