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Playing The Hand You Were Dealt

I'm not generally in the habit of agreeing with Josh Marshall, but today I'll give him partial credit for getting the meta view correctly.

In the last few days I've gotten various emails from critics (gleefully) and supporters (frettingly) of Kerry either wondering or simply asserting that Kerry brought this on himself by highlighting his service in combat in Vietnam. The point is echoed by reporters who sheepishly hang the attention they've given to the Swift Boat group on Kerry's having 'made his service an issue.'

For Kerry supporters or Democrats who think this may be true, I can only ask you, please, please do not be such chumps. And for his critics, please allow your punches to the groin the purity of their cynicism, without sullying them with any claims that Kerry forced your hand.

This was always in the cards. Always. Thus the need to get out early making the case in Kerry's favor. Since it was coming anyway, far better to hit it with the wind at your back than sitting still. The Kerry campaign's only mistake -- and it was no small one -- was not getting out ahead of it sooner.

I'm on record as wondering (in February 2004) how Kerry would navigate the minefield that is his past in a general election.

Kerry's DNC performance did highlight the fact that the self proclaimed "war hero" had not been challenged on his Vietnam era record by his Democratic primary rivals. Democrats rolled the dice that Kerry's anti-war grandstanding and lying would not be a topic of debate this close to the election. Perhaps they figured the good old mainstream media would give Kerry the kid glove treatment.

Update: Jeff Quinton notes that there may be a Swift Vets' October surprise.


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Comments (7)

Wow, finally something I ag... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Wow, finally something I agree with you on. Not necessarily do I agree with the underlying reasons for it coming out but it was as you put it "Always in the cards". Look at the history of the Republicans in wanting to hold onto power. False and misleading ads, smear campaigns, voter supressiona and intimidation are only a few of the things they employ.

I agree with you that the Kerry campaign did not get ahead of the story and did not count on the RWSM providing 10's of millions of dollars in free media coverage to the self-named SBVFT group.

Legally, they are separate from this group but behind the scenes they are managing the media coverage to a tee.

The Democrats need to match them and go negative on Bush (and I believe they will) soon.

Dave

I'd like to see Kerry and B... (Below threshold)
Fritz:

I'd like to see Kerry and Bush do something like this...

Kerry: Mr. President, make the Swift Boat Vets quit calling me a coward and a liar!

Bush: Senator, I will if you make them MoveOn guys quit comparing me to Hitler!

Kerry: Then we can both run positive campaigns.

Bush: And, focus on the real issues, like Iraq and the economy.

Kerry: You've got a deal...MoveOn, quit spending all of that soft money on ads that call Mr. Bush a Nazi.

Bush: Swift Boat Vets, you all quit calling Mr. Kerry a yellow-bellied liar!

MoveOn: Up your's, Kerry! We're ridin' this wave as far as it will take us!

Swift Boat Vets: Screw you, Bush! We're all making a fortune off this!

Hum...that didn't turn out like I thought it would!

Dave, they've been going ne... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Dave, they've been going negative on Bush all along, every day, all the time, neverending.

I forgot I had this - anoth... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

I forgot I had this - another group against Kerry:
http://www.powmiafamiliesagainstjohnkerry.com/

Also got some mailings this weekend from ACT (will get you the addy) that's against Bush.

How the hell many groups are out there?
~C

And, how many talking heads... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, how many talking heads from the DNC can they get on FOX in one week? The whole lot of them are really looking terribly unreliable, to my view, and their "I Can Speak Louder Than You" presumptuous, nutty behavior is hitting that ball to home plate, the one that has "loser" written all over it.

That is (^^) in reference t... (Below threshold)
-S-:

That is (^^) in reference to all the DNC Talking Heads and otherwise Kerry Apologists who are guesting on FOX and elsewhere, trying to put out the Kerry Bonfire in the last week.

Based upon those Demos who have appeared, it's looking more and more like they are on the verge of eating their young.

I exaggerate, I realize. But the look so incredibly extreme, and sound even worse...I have to grab the remote just to maintain whenever any of them appear. My sympathies to other guests and employees of FOX, because the behavior by the Kerry Apologists is making it nearly impossible for anyone else to get a word in edgewise.

Perhaps that's the game plan (Kerry's). FOX needs to install a "mute" button with every announcer just so other people can make a point, any point, whenever a Demo appears because the Demos are surely trying to mute everyone else over the airwaves.

FOX is well known to be com... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

FOX is well known to be completely Republican in their eyes and totally biased in one way. I never watch it myself because I find it crude and rude and just plain old slanted so far that the slant actually goes to the ground!! Also they are not reliable with the news at all, in any manner and you're right, they are also very loud.
~C




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