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WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web - Kerry: Up in Smoke?
WSJ ^ | 4/27/04

Posted on 04/27/2004 1:44:08 PM PDT by areafiftyone

Kerry: Up in Smoke?
A look at the second-day coverage of John Kerry's "Good Morning America" interview about his shifting Vietnam medal stories bolsters our view that the Kerry campaign is in very deep trouble. "Kerry Questions Bush Attendance in Guard in 70's" reads a front-page headline in today's New York Times. The Times gives top billing to Kerry's attempt to change the subject:

In a day of piercing and personal exchanges, John Kerry questioned on Monday whether President Bush skipped National Guard duty 30 years ago, while Vice President Dick Cheney disparaged Mr. Kerry as an opportunist unfit to lead the nation in wartime.

Mr. Kerry had previously declined to join other Democrats in raising questions about Mr. Bush's National Guard attendance record. But during a contentious interview on national television on Monday, when pressed on whether he threw away his Vietnam war medals in a protest in 1971, he defended himself and attacked the president.

"This is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing," Mr. Kerry said on "Good Morning America" on ABC. "The Republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me, and this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I'm not going to stand for it."

Now, some would argue that the New York Times is showing its own bias by emphasizing the National Guard business. But in fact, Kerry's mentioning of it is highly newsworthy. The man wants to be president of the United States, and he is in such a weak position that he feels it necessary to attack his opponent personally over an ancient issue that is as trivial as anything we can imagine.

Normally, presidential candidates are at great pains to appear above the fray, or "presidential." They leave most of the attacks to their surrogates--even attacks that are substantive, such as Cheney's speech yesterday. Thus Bush aide Karen Hughes has commented on Kerry's contradictory statements about his medals, but the president himself has remained mum and will likely continue to do so.

Why did Kerry feel that he himself had to bring up the National Guard? For one thing, because he is extremely vulnerable on the medal question. He has built his entire candidacy around the image of himself as a war hero, but when voters learn that he threw his decorations away, and then that he can't even tell a straight story about which decorations they were, the war-hero story becomes at the very least complicated.

Hence the need for a diversionary defense. Letting his surrogates belabor the National Guard would not have been effective, because they've already done so, leading a few weeks back to a kerfuffle that blew over when the White House released Bush's service records. By raising the issue himself, Kerry elevates it--but he diminishes himself in the process. (The Boston Globe notes another Kerry statement that suggests his degree of desperation: "God, they're doing the bidding of the Republican National Committee," he said of ABC News immediately after the "Good Morning America" interview ended--and after he thought the microphone had gone off.)

Not that Kerry's surrogates haven't been sounding related themes. The Washington Times notes that "a Democrat-leaning group" has suggested "that Mr. Cheney's wife became pregnant to help her husband avoid serving in Vietnam." It seems an outfit called the Thunder Road Group is unhappy that the Cheneys were making love, not war.

Aren't Bush's National Guard record and Cheney's lack of military service fair game for the Kerry campaign and its allies? Well sure, if voters deem them important. We're guessing that they won't, although President Dole may disagree.

On the other hand, Kerry's antiwar activity seems highly relevant today. When he threw his medals, ribbons or whatever over the fence at the Capitol, he was already a politician, forming a worldview about America, its military and its role in the world. How that worldview was shaped and what form it takes today is of the utmost importance to voters choosing a candidate in November. Yet Kerry can't even seem to get his facts straight about those formative events.

Blogger Michael Totten suggests a way for Kerry to extricate himself from this quagmire:

Most people don't really care if John Kerry did and said dumb things in '71. I certainly don't. I was only one year old at the time. I do expect him to act like an adult and be honest about it, however. He is, after all, auditioning for president of the United States.

I don't care for John Kerry, but I'll throw him a rope all the same. Here you go, senator. Say this on the TV: "Today's more strident anti-war activists remind me of my own immature self back in 1971." It will kill two proverbial birds with a single figurative stone. It will play well among people who matter. And you'll feel a lot better.


(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: 2004; gma; jamestaranto; kerry; medaltossing; upinsmoke

1 posted on 04/27/2004 1:44:12 PM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone
Why don't they just vote for the hair. You know, just put up a pencil drawing of a head and then Kerry's hair on top.

It's no wonder Kerry spent $1000 for a haircut, not to mention that humongeously expensive plane ride to ferry the hairdresser on his G-V.

His hair is the most attractive thing about him. Everything else underneath reeks..That meltdown on ABC with Charles Gibson was embarassing. Just so French....
2 posted on 04/27/2004 1:56:25 PM PDT by OpusatFR (John Kerry - Cheezewhiz for the mind - marshmallow mush for the masses)
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To: areafiftyone
Yup! As bad and inadaquate as Bush is he will win by a landslide if Kerry is the dems choice.
3 posted on 04/27/2004 1:57:05 PM PDT by fatidic
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To: areafiftyone
he feels it necessary to attack his opponent personally over an ancient issue that is as trivial as anything we can imagine.

Even if you think it's relevant (and it might be if Bush was really AWOL tokin' weed and throwing medals or something) - it's already been answered.

There -IS- such a thing as a dead horse.

4 posted on 04/27/2004 2:01:23 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: fatidic
I don't think President Bush is either bad or inadequate!
5 posted on 04/27/2004 2:01:47 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: areafiftyone
If Kerry goes down, who will ride in to the rescue? Despite all the conspiracy talk, I don't think even Hillary would do it. A Kerry withdrawal would be extremely damaging to the Democratic Party - we could even be witnessing the end of the party.
6 posted on 04/27/2004 2:04:14 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: areafiftyone
. By raising the issue himself, Kerry elevates it--but he diminishes himself in the process.

I tried to post this thought yesterday, but couldn't quite find the right words. Guess that's why I don't write for Opinion Journal.

;-)

7 posted on 04/27/2004 2:04:29 PM PDT by mombonn
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To: areafiftyone
Aren't Bush's National Guard record and Cheney's lack of military service fair game for the Kerry campaign and its allies? Well sure, if voters deem them important. We're guessing that they won't, although President Dole may disagree.

Ha! Clever.
But the debate isn't about the act of throwing the medals (ribbons, merit badges, whatever).
I could at least respect him if he did something and stood up for it, even if I disagree with it.
But I have nothing but contempt for a waffling weaseler (or is it weaseling waffler?) who tries to be on all sides.

8 posted on 04/27/2004 2:05:07 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Izzy Dunne
There -IS- such a thing as a dead horse.

I'm inclined to agree with you, every time I see an image of Kerry.

9 posted on 04/27/2004 2:06:21 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: Rummyfan
This poster 'fatidic' is a radical muslim. Read his other posts. Its all about hating jews and horrible US foreign policy. Very transparant. You can tell he is not just a wack out lib.
10 posted on 04/27/2004 2:06:36 PM PDT by mlbford2
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To: Izzy Dunne
The NYT and USA Today headlines and stories are deeply troubling. USA Today headlines "Kerry Defends Vietnam Record." I didn't know Kerry threw his medals over a fence in Vietnam. They state as a FACT that Kerry's Vietnam service settles questions about his weak defense record. They immediately call President Bush's service in the National Guard "spotty." In fact, they split up and bury the real story so deep it's incomprehensible. All this because KERRY got caught lying and lashed out at the media.
11 posted on 04/27/2004 2:10:34 PM PDT by Williams
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To: mlbford2
How do you pronounce his name? It reads "fatty dick."
12 posted on 04/27/2004 2:17:51 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: areafiftyone


Hey, I screwed up Vietnam, now I can muck up Iraq.


13 posted on 04/27/2004 2:20:39 PM PDT by Smartass (BUSH & CHENEY 2004 - STAMP OUT (KERRY) SOCIALISTS.)
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To: OpusatFR
Consider the "global warming" gasses from his "Hair Issue Specialist" round trip flight a "blow dry".

Kerry is a most crass individual.
14 posted on 04/27/2004 2:24:29 PM PDT by SevenDaysInMay (Federal judges and justices serve for periods of good behavior, not life. Article III sec. 1)
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To: areafiftyone
When you are awarded a medal, for example, a bronze star, you receive both the ribbon and the medal that goes with the award of the bronze star. The reason for that has to do with uniforms. The ribbon goes on one's Class A or B uniform. The medal goes on one's high speed dress (mess) uniform. They are the same medal.

Therefore, the symbolism of throwing away either one is the same. You're saying, "I'm pitching this bronze star....I'm showing my disdain for this whole military."

In other words, there's no DIFFERENCE in throwing the "ribbon" versus the "medal." They are the SAME AWARD!

There is no way that Kerry can split this difference without INTENTIONAL MISDIRECTION!

Xzins
Chaplain (Retired) US Army
15 posted on 04/27/2004 2:30:34 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!)
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To: Rummyfan
would be extremely damaging to the Democratic Party - we could even be witnessing the end of the party.

From your lips to Gods ears...

16 posted on 04/27/2004 2:33:53 PM PDT by cmak9
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To: Izzy Dunne
.

Izzy Dunne,


The Beginning of the End for the 2004 Kerry Presidential Campaign ... The Long Knives' Drum Beat begins ...



Patton@Bastogne

.
17 posted on 04/27/2004 2:36:36 PM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (John "Heinz" Kerry won't be the Nov-2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee)
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To: areafiftyone
John Kerry and Spontaneous Political Combustion
18 posted on 04/27/2004 2:47:47 PM PDT by pabianice
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To: xzins
Roger that Sir!
19 posted on 04/27/2004 2:56:18 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way! Toby Keith)
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To: areafiftyone
"It seems an outfit called the Thunder Road Group is unhappy that the Cheneys were making love, not war."

Like American Express -- priceless.

20 posted on 04/27/2004 2:56:34 PM PDT by Bonaparte
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To: Rummyfan
" . . . we could even be witnessing the end of the party."

Heh heh! That's two of us in one day. An idea who's time has come.

21 posted on 04/27/2004 3:05:33 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: xzins
Send that info to GMA while they're still on the war path.
22 posted on 04/27/2004 3:05:42 PM PDT by Bonaparte
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To: Rummyfan
Hillary? You means the screecher? I make sure that the glassware is not on the table if her soundbites are playing on radion/TV.
23 posted on 04/27/2004 3:14:57 PM PDT by RobbyS (JMJ)
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To: areafiftyone
There's a village voice editorial (link on Drudge) saying that Kerry should be taken out of the race. Dems are very unhappy with him. He is, however, the choice of most primary voters, and a Lautenberg Gambit would make matters worse. And for what? To prop Howard Dean on the ticket? Or John Edwards? Bad as Kerry is, the others were worse. They lacked his experience...LOL! or his war record (double LOL) and his gravitas (check out the bike-riding and snowboarding performances of JFK-Jr. Lite).

I am dumbfounded that a supposedly experienced pol is getting expensive hairdos and presuming microphones are off. There can be no other explanation but that he is not up to the task of campaigning. But they're stuck with him. A switch would be a catastrophic free-for-all.

24 posted on 04/27/2004 3:33:07 PM PDT by Graymatter
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To: Bonaparte
gma= good morning america??
25 posted on 04/27/2004 6:06:34 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!)
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To: areafiftyone
Most people don't really care if John Kerry did and said dumb things in '71. I certainly don't. I was only one year old at the time. I do expect him to act like an adult and be honest about it, however. He is, after all, auditioning for president of the United States.

You know what? I do care. I knew many young men who died in that war that Kerry sided with the enemy on. I am amazed to hear anyone say they just don't care when someone gives aide and comfort to our enemies.

26 posted on 04/27/2004 10:50:52 PM PDT by ladyinred (Kerry has more flip flops than Waikiki Beach)
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To: Rummyfan
I don't think he is bad either Rummyfan. I am a Bushbot and proud of it! :-)
27 posted on 04/27/2004 10:52:02 PM PDT by ladyinred (Kerry has more flip flops than Waikiki Beach)
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To: Smartass
Nice work around here SA!
28 posted on 04/27/2004 10:58:00 PM PDT by wardaddy (This is it. We either win and prevail or we lose and get tossed into that dustbin W mentioned!)
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To: xzins
affirmative
29 posted on 04/28/2004 12:46:41 AM PDT by Bonaparte
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To: xzins
GMA email page
30 posted on 04/28/2004 12:54:36 AM PDT by Bonaparte
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