« Bonfire Of The Vanities Reminder | Main | The New Puritanical Era »

Vietnam's Relevance In 2004

President Bush's service in the Air National Guard has been heavily covered in the media for the last few weeks, while John Kerry's anti-war activities have yet to be put through the media grinder. Expect the mainstream press to suddenly "discover" the audio from Kerry's Senate testimony at some point.

Today's Washington Post has the first survey I've seen on the actual impact of the Vietnam era service of both candidates on this election. The National Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania released its first findings on Friday, and concluded that the Vietnam records of Sen. John Kerry and President Bush "matter chiefly to Americans who have already made up their minds against the particular candidate."

Q. After John Kerry returned from service in Vietnam, he demonstrated against the war, he testified in Congress against it, and he threw his campaign ribbons away in protest. Do you approve or disapprove of Kerry's antiwar activities?


Q. Some people say that when George W. Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard in the '70s, he often did not show up for duty. Bush says he did fulfill his obligations and has presented records which he says prove that he did. From what you have heard or read, do you think he fulfilled his military obligations, or do you think that he did not fulfill them?

62% DID
38% DIDN'T

I disagree to a certain extent with their conclusion based mostly on the level of coverage of the two issues. The Bush ANG service story has pretty much run its course, while the Kerry anti-war activities have yet to be serious focused on. Bush's numbers show that he's pretty well ridden out the storm on the issue, while Kerry's are starting as an overall negative before the story has been widely told. Once the story takes it's moment in the spotlight it's hard to imaging his numbers improving.

Update: Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus note that if "war hero" is the answer to every question about Kerry's foreign policy positions that is going to get old real fast. Based on the stump speeches I've heard, those who like long and tedious seem to be Kerry's target demographic...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Vietnam's Relevance In 2004:

» Mudville Gazette linked with The Original "Cut and Run"

Comments (9)

Hearing Kerry's testimony d... (Below threshold)

Hearing Kerry's testimony definitely put me in the 17%. Reading the text made it clear how dopey his arguments were, but hearing him say them with his New England patrician accent (since jettisoned) really made me angry. His service in Vietnam rings awfully hollow when you hear him describe his fellow troops and officers as war criminals, and blame it all on the Republican administration. Sort of like, I'm a miserable slug of a human being and it's all Richard Nixon's fault.

Remember, this was Kerry's big chance. It got national publicity and favorable coverage by CBS and jumpstarted his political career. It's impossible to hear it and think he didn't know what he was saying.

You need to go to Kerry's c... (Below threshold)

You need to go to Kerry's campaign blog.

"John Kerry Challenges George W. Bush to Debate on War"

No, not the Iraq war. The Vietnam war.


Gallup released poll result... (Below threshold)

Gallup released poll results a few days back that showed that while 68% of Americans thought Kerry "did his duty for the country during the Vietnam War," that only 49% have heard a "great deal" or "moderate" amount about his combat experience there.

So you are likely right on target with that assumption that this story has yet to be told. However, for the time being it will only be told in blogs and veteran's web sites.

And, by the way, (same poll): Even fewer, 39%, have heard much about Kerry's anti-war activities after he returned from Vietnam.

Growth potential.

Kerry has more to say in re... (Below threshold)

Kerry has more to say in responce to foreign policy questions: war hero and "work with the international community." (what has this guy been sleeping under a bush for the last two years?)

I have read a few Veterans ... (Below threshold)

I have read a few Veterans blogs stating Kerry's war record really needs to be examined - with his close connection to the Kennedy's, I can't imagine that there isn't a connection between his heroic actions and political buddies in the Kennedy family - what a good way to get a fellow democrate started in politics then to whisper in an admirals ear about his friend over there - - the Vets think a lot of Kerry's actions were staged -

I's worth looking into -

Kerry is already pulling ou... (Below threshold)
Random Numbers:

Kerry is already pulling out the old whine: You're questioning my patriotism!

No one is questioning your patriotism, Mr KerryIservedinVietnam. You judgement on national security matters is in grave doubt, not your love of your country, whichever it is.

Kerry is a spoiled Brahmin ... (Below threshold)
Jack is Back!:

Kerry is a spoiled Brahmin of Back Bay Boston who has a wet finger raised on every issue of the day. He can't take the heat and will use every opportunity to start arguments that he will use to deny later. A sleazeball pol of the worst Clintonian tradition.

The Washington Post display... (Below threshold)
mitt - Vietnam Vet:

The Washington Post displayed it's pro-Kerry bias in the question when it said:
"and he threw his campaign ribbons away in protest".
They could have said, "and he threw away someone else's medals, and let us believe they were his, when he actually only threw away his 'ribbons', which are only representations of the medals."
The question posed by the Post skips entirely the misrepresentation Kerry fostered through this sad episode. That misrepresentation speaks volumns about Kerry's 'character' and his [then] belief in and commitment to his protest.

You can buy replacement ribbons anytime, they are trivial to replace. Medals are not so replaceable (I assume you can get 'facsimiles' somewhere or maybe even actuals on the black market).

Now it is politically correct to have Vietnam Medals. Apparently more correct than throwing them away in protest.

The Patriette, January 29, 2004:
"Kerry played the leading role in a highly publicized "anti-war" protest in which he threw medals the press reported were his over a barricade and onto the steps of the Capitol. Kerry never mentioned that the medals he tossed were not his own. Years later it was revealed in the 1988 issue of Current Biography Yearbook that: " . . . the ones he had discarded were not his own but had belonged to another veteran who asked him to make the gesture for him. When a reporter asked about the incident, Kerry said: 'They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them.'" Kerry's medals today hang in his Senate office, now that it is "politically correct" for a U.S. Senator to be portrayed as a Vietnam War hero. So much for integrity."

NANCY BENAC, The Associated Press, February 17, 2004:
"he tossed away the ribbons he had received with his war medals, and threw away the medals of other veterans who weren't able to attend."

NYTimes February 16, 2004:
"According to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, one of John Kerry's main advantages in the coming presidential campaign is his "chest full of medals.""

You can buy replac... (Below threshold)
Jalal Abu Jarhead:
You can buy replacement ribbons anytime, they are trivial to replace. Medals are not so replaceable (I assume you can get 'facsimiles' somewhere or maybe even actuals on the black market).
This was very true at the time. Replacements for full-sized medals (as opposed to their ribbons or miniature medals, which have always been available commercially) had to be requested through the Navy.

About ten or fifteen years ago, the Navy changed its policy, and now full-sized medals may also be purchased commercially.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy