Tuesday, August 31, 2004

If You Needed A Reason to Vote for Bush

Here's one that is actually breathtaking: According to Reuters, Senator Edwards has stated:

If elected U.S. president, Sen. John Kerry would offer Iran a deal allowing it
to keep its nuclear power plants if it gave up the right to retain bomb-making
nuclear fuel . . . .
In other words, "Kedwards" would trust the Iranian mullahs to keep their nuclear plants as long as they promised (presumably "cross their hearts," or maybe it's "crescent their hearts") not to develop or acquire fuel capable of use in nuclear bombs.

But there's more:

If Iran rejected this proposal, Kerry would ensure European allies were
prepared to join the United States in imposing strict sanctions against
Iran, said Edwards.

"If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us," said the North Carolina Democrat.

Holy Toledo! So Kerry wants to allow the mullahs to have nuclear reactors, and rely on France and Germany (that's what Kedwards and the Democrats mean when they say "our European allies") to put pressure on Iran not to use that capability to develop nuclear weapons?

Frankly, folks, this is very, very frightening stuff. I actually find it astonishing. Even so, I hope Kedwards keep advancing these kinds of initiatives. The more they do, the more likely Bush's re-election will become.

(Hat tip to Roger L. Simon for this; read Mr. Simon's incisive comments on this proposed initiative here.)

Something to Keep Us Focused

Read this story from Canada's National Post. Here's the first paragraph:

U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating a series of thefts of official
vehicles and uniforms, including an Air Canada uniform, amid fears al-Qaeda
operatives could be acquiring such items for a terrorist attack.

This is serious business, folks. Grim as this reality may be, we need to remind ourselves that there is a very large group of people in the world who consider it their mission in life to kill as many innocent Americans as possible. The more people remind themselves of that, the more certain I believe it is that George Bush will be reelected. (Courtesy of Instapundit.)

News Media Bias

I refer everyone to this excellent analysis by Glenn Reynolds (who also happens to be the Instapundit), which lays bare the old news media's current predicament.

Say Again?

"To me Vietnam is an old place, an old memory. It is old history, it's gone, it's past. The less I have to talk about it, frankly, the happier I am."

--John Kerry, in an interview with GQ appearing on the web today (thanks to RealClearPolitics).

Monday, August 30, 2004

Interesting Perspective on Kerry's Vietnam Service - on The Gridley

This link from Beldar will take you to a thoughtful review and analysis of Kerry's service aboard the USS Gridley, where he spent the great majority of his active duty (in other words, the time when he was nowhere near a swift boat).

Quote of The Day

Who says the GOP is not a "big tent" party?

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."

--Rocker Alice Cooper, quoted in WorldNetDaily.

The Story That Won't Go Away

Thomas Lipsomb is a writer whose material appears in the Chicago Sun Times. He's quite fixated (and not without results) on digging into John Kerry's wartime records (which no one would be talking about if Kerry had not made such a cartoonish spectacle of his Vietnam service). Read Mr. Lipscomb's work here and here. Courtesy of Power Line.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

A Little Reality To Think About

Light posting today, which is Sunday, a day of religious observance (and busy ecclesiastical activity) for me.

I think all the SwiftVets news is important in relation to understanding John Kerry's character and instincts, but it is getting a bit tedious. Meanwhile, there are people out there who want to kill as many of us as possible. This op-ed by George Will reminds us all how important it is that we select the right man for the presidency. This is serious business, folks.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Admiral Schachte Speaks

I'll say it again: Whatever the circumstances that led up to his Vietnam service, John Kerry voluntarily put himself in harm's way for the USA and deserves our respect and thanks for doing so. What repels me is his apparently calculated and repeated embellishment of his service record, coupled with his post-active service incarnation as a war protester who did much damage to the American cause and to American soldiers still serving (or in captivity).

Here's more damning evidence of the embellishment. Admiral Schachte has submitted this statement. Read this appalling story and ask yourself if you think Mr. Kerry ought to be commander in chief.

The Real Problem with John Kerry

My friends know that I repeatedly mutter that the reason the possible success of Kerry's candidacy troubles me is that the U.S. would be electing George McGovern, 32 years later. This piece by Mackubin Thomas Owens is an excellent discussion of why that would be so.

The Democrats' (Angry) State of Mind

Charles Krauthammer reflects here on what has got the Democrats into such a frenzied state. A taste:

Upon losing a game at the 1925 Baden-Baden tournament, Aaron Nimzowitsch,
the great chess theoretician and a superb player, knocked the pieces off the
board, jumped on the table and screamed, ``How can I lose to this

Nimzowitsch may have lived decades ago in Denmark, but had the soul of a
modern American Democrat. After all, Democrats have been saying much the same -- with similar body language -- ever since the erudite Adlai Stevenson lost to the syntactically challenged Eisenhower in 1952. They said it again when they lost to that supposed simpleton Reagan. Twice, would you believe. With George W. Bush, they are at it again, and equally apoplectic.

* * * * *

UPDATE: Scrappleface warns us of an impending "celebrity exhaustion crisis" if Bush is re-elected.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A Little More on That 1970 Interview in The Harvard Crimson

This news article is a little old by now, but I certainly missed it. I don't think it has gotten the attention it deserves-- possibly because it popped into the blogosphere weeks before the SwiftVets hits the scene. In any case, the information reported takes on new meaning in light of the swift boat controversy.

In early July, 2004, well before the Democrat Convention, the Telegraph published an article about the old Harvard Crimson article I referred to below (see my earlier Hedgehog post here). Apparently Charles Laurence, a Telegraph reporter, found Samuel Goldhaber, the 1970 Harvard student and Crimson writer who interviewed Kerry and wrote the original article. (Goldhaber is now a physician in Boston.) The Telegraph reports:

"I stand by my story," [Goldhaber] told The Telegraph. "It was a long time ago, and
I was 19 at the time, so it is hard to remember every detail. But I do know
this: at no point did Kerry contact either me or the Crimson to dispute anything
I had written."

Among other things, the Crimson story reports that Kerry "wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s."

But the Kerry version of history is different, as the Telegraph notes:

According to the Democratic Party's version of Sen Kerry's military
history, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps at [Yale] through
eagerness to do his duty, and sailed with the Navy for combat as soon as he
graduated in 1966.

Hmmm. As the Telegraph writer observes:

The revelation appears to undercut Sen Kerry's carefully-cultivated image
as a man who willingly served his country in a dangerous war - in supposed
contrast to President Bush, who served in the Texas National Guard and thus
avoided being sent to Vietnam.

Indeed. Kerry, like many in that era, saw that he was going to be drafted-- so he enlisted, In the Navy. Where he could hope for a deep water assignment. Now, as I have said before, many others did the same thing. I was around during that time (I got a draft lottery number but I didn't turn 18 until 1972, and Nixon had all but stopped the draft by then.) I don't fault Kerry one bit for doing what he did. What I do fault him for is embellishing and embroidering his actions the way he has. That he has done so; that he also became an anti-war veteran (while still in the Naval Reserve) and exploited his service while slandering the others who served; that he lied repeatedly about Christmas in Cambodia; and that he now runs for president primarily as a war hero, have all made me deeply suspicious of his ability to serve as a successful president. I once thought that he was a good man and that the country would be fine if he were elected. (I would be gnashing my teeth, I thought, throughout his term, but the counrty would be fine.) I no longer think so.

I wonder why we are not seeing or hearing more about this on Fox, Hugh Hewitt (the man who inspired this blog), Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and elsewhere? Or have I just not been paying attention? I doubt that. I think it's just a combination of the timing of the news cycle and the flurry of news about the SwiftVets' charges. This got lost in the shuffle. It's time to shine the spotlight on it again.

Quote of the Day

"[E]ach episode of the HBO series Band of Brothers . . . begins with a voiceover in which the narrator says of the World War II soldiers portrayed in the program: 'I was not a hero, but I was surrounded by heroes.' In contrast, what John Kerry is saying in essence about his 'band of brothers' is that 'in Vietnam, I was a hero, but I was surrounded by war criminals.'"

Mackubin Thomas Owens, in National Review Online.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Vietnam, 30 Years Later

This piece in the Opinion Journal is long, but may be the best treatment yet of why John Kerry's candidacy has reopened the wounds of Vietnam, and why it didn't have to be that way. Kerry has just been consistently and stunningly wrong about every foreign policy issue of the last 40 years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Mission to Crawford Did Not Go Well

Hugh Hewitt reports here. Oh, well, another Kerry campaign stunt foiled.

Clear-headed Analysis of The Swift Boat Vets Story from RealClearPolitics

Every conservative who wants to follow news and opinion about politics should check RealClearPolitics daily. Here's an insightful piece by Tom Bevan, one of the organizers of the site.

George Bush, The Dunce, Bamboozles The Sophisticated John Kerry

Zev Chafets summarizes here the way Bush outfoxed Kerry on the 527 organization issue.

A Patriotic Shot in The Arm

This op-ed piece in the Washington Post is riveting. It's the account of a French Jewish girl (now an older woman living in Chicago), who tells what it was like to experience the Allied liberation of Paris after four years of hiding from the Nazis. We need reminders like this of the good that has come from our national commitment to freedom.

The Foolhardiness of McCain-Feingold

Remember John McCain's obsession over "getting the money out of politics?" Well, the recent 527 controversies seem to suggest that McCain-Feingold, the defining work of his career in the Senate, has been a flop-- one that was widely predicted. In this excellent op-ed piece, Robert Samuelson gets to the heart of the matter.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Why They Are So Angry

I have not served in the military, so I defer to veterans when they describe what it feels like to serve - to be in combat, in training, and so forth. For some vets, what they know especially well is how it feels to come home from Vietnam. This post from The Mudville Gazette will help all of us, regardless of background, understand how it felt to come home and be greeted by John Kerry's account of how the war was being prosecuted.

News Media Fawning: Will We Get This During The GOP Convention?

Jeff Jacoby's column in the Boston Globe (read the whole thing here) quotes some statements by the major news media regarding the Democrat convention a few weeks ago. Read these and then keep them in mind during the GOP convention. Listen hard for anything approaching this level of gushing:

I was standing next to the young speechwriter who worked with Kerry on this
speech. . . . The look on his face: rhapsody throughout. I don't know how this
was perceived at home. But here in the Massachusetts delegation, where I was
standing, it was perceived very well. - ABC's Dan Harris, following John Kerry's speech to the Democratic convention.

People who served with him in Vietnam said, You can't believe what he's
like in battle. He just changes. He gets this look over him. And when I saw him
walking down the aisle tonight on the way into the speech, I said, `Oh yeah,
there's that look.' And I just knew at that point that he's going to nail this,
and he did. I have never seen the man speak so well.- Time magazine's
Joe Klein on CNN.

John Kerry working himself literally into a sweat. Or as my high school
English teacher would prefer, into a high state of perspiration. An almost
literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it
seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball playoff game or a
Bruins hockey playoff game. These Democrats, as the speech built, having what
amounted to maybe a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes,
united in a way the Democratic Party has not been for about half a century.- CBS anchor Dan Rather.

For those who doubted John Kerry could pull off a stirring speech,
doubts dispelled. For those who doubted John Kerry could unite a traditionally
fractious party, doubts dispelled.- ABC's Charles Gibson on ``Good
Morning America.''

The personality that Edwards exudes when he comes to these events is
something that's pretty infectious with these delegates. And I talked to one
delegate yesterday who says, `You know, I'm coming to like John Kerry, but I
haven't yet fallen in love with him. But I will tell you this, I have fallen in
love with John Edwards.' It's obvious the charisma out there gets to everybody
here in the Fleet Center.- CBS's John Roberts, after John Edwards
finished his convention speech.
[Note: John Roberts is the
heir apparent to Dan Rather for the anchor job at CBS.]

People talk about John Edwards being the sexiest politician in America. I
think Teresa Heinz may be the sexiest spouse of a national candidate in my
memory. She comes across pretty strong, soulful, tender even, in a way. So I
think she had an effective performance.- Wall Street Journal reporter
John Harwood on CNN.

James Pinkerton On How Kerry Blew The Use of His Vietnam Story

Mr. Pinkerton is a well-established moderate voice. He did work in the Bush I White house, but since then has generally made conservative Republicans angry by his middle-of-the-road to left-of-center positions. Here's what he says about Kerry and Vietnam, which I think is dead-on:

A basic rule of politics, never learned by Kerry, is "know thyself." If
something in your background can be used against you, then, for heaven's sake,
don't lead with it. In Boston last month, Kerry could have presented himself as
a four-term senator presenting an alternative to Bush - on issues ranging from
health care to Iraq. But, instead, he highlighted once again his Vietnam
service. He might have thought that he was establishing a winning contrast with
Bush, but he should have thought some more. In fact, what he was doing was
waving a red flag in front of many Vietnam veterans - getting into a fight with
them, their friends and their fans. And that's a loser.

John Kerry and Bob Dole Discuss Wartime Heroism and The Campaign

Yesterday, on a long, long drive home after dropping my son off at college, I happened to hear most of the Sean Hannity show. I don't find Hannity to be a particularly insightful political analyst, but he does get great interviews. One of yesterday's guest was Bob Dole, who revealed he had received a telephone call from John Kerry after Dole's comments on Sunday.

[Refresher: as summarized below, Dole had said, among other things:

One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off theirears,
cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons. . . . The next
day he's standing there, "I want to be president because I'm aVietnam veteran.]
Well, on Monday morning John Kerry telephoned Dole about those comments. Dole's summary of that conversation is fascinating. Newsmax summarizes it here. It's a must-read.

The Kerry Vietnam Chronicles, cont.

This Wall Street Journal editorial gets it exactly right.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Young John F. Kerry

This must have been posted somewhere, but I have never seen it.

In 1970 John Kerry ran unsuccessfully for Congress. (Father Robert Drinan, the fiery liberal Jesuit priest, won the Democratic primary and went on to serve many terms in Congress.) During the campaign, a reporter for the Harvard Crimson interviewed Kerry. It is a most interesting interview. Here's an excerpt:

At Yale, Kerry was chairman of the Political Union and later, as Commencement
speaker, urged the United States to withdraw from Vietnam and to scale down
foreign military operations. And this was way back in 1966.

When he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris,the draft board refused and Kerry decided to enlist in the Navy. The Navy assigned him to the USS Gridley which between December 1966 and July 1968 saw four months of action off the Vietnam coast. In August through November, 1968, Kerry was trained to be the skipper of a patrol boat for Vietnamese rivers. For the next five months, until April of 1969, Kerry was the commanding Lieutenant of a patrol boat in the Mekong Delta. He was wounded slightly on three different occasions and received a Silver Star for bravery. His patrol boat took part in Operation Sealords, mostly scouting out Viet Cong villages and transporting South Vietnamese marines to various destinations up and down narrow rivers covered with heavy foliage on either side. One time Kerry was ordered to destroy a Viet Cong village but disobeyed orders and suggested that the Navy Command simply send in a Psychological Warfare team to be friend the villagers with food, hospital supplies, and better educational facilities.

But wait a minute. What about all that "Send me!" rubbish Bill Clinton was spouting at the Democratic Convention? It doesn't appear that John Kerry was itching to get into the war, does it? It seems that, like so many people, Kerry tried to get a deferment and when he saw that being drafted was inevitable, he enlisted-- and in the Navy, which everyone knew was the place to be if you wanted to minimize your chances of getting into combat. (In fairness, very few people were itching to get into the Vietnam war. Kerry, however, seems to encourage people to think that he was. It's simply part of his pattern of exaggeration about such things.)

Then there's this:

In America, "everybody who's against the war is suddenly considered
anti-American," Kerry said. "But I don't think they can turn to me and say I
don't know what's going on or I'm a draft dodger." Referring to the House Armed
Services Committee, chaired by L. Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.), Kerry said, "I want to
go down to Washington and confront Mendel Rivers, who never fought in a war."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? "You didn't fight and I did, so only I can discuss war credibly."

And this:

Kerry said that the United Nations should have control over most of our
foreign military operations. "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our
troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United

Well. Some ideas are formed at an early age, aren't they?

Finally, this:

On other issues, Kerry wants "to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is
fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care." He also favors a
negative income tax and keeping unemployment at a very low level, "even if it
means selective economic controls."

Yup. Looks like the roots of animosity toweards the intelligence services and some ideas about taxes and the economy that place him just a little to the left of George McGovern.

The worrisome thought is that this man could very well become President of the United States.

Kerry Campaign Seems to Acknowledge Some . . . Well, Imprecisions, Shall We Say?

Command Post notes that "the Kerry campaign removed a 20-page batch of documents yesterday from its website after The Boston Globe quoted a Navy officer who said the documents wrongly portrayed Kerry’s service." Read all about it here.

And, as Roger L. Simon notes, Bob Dole seems to have gotten this right:

"One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their
ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole
said. "The next day he's standing there, 'I want to be president because I'm a
Vietnam veteran.' Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million
veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam," said Dole, whose World
War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm. [Note: After
he was wounded Dole lay on the battlefield for nine hours before being
evacuated. He nearly died, and spent over a year in the hospital after he
got back to the USA. And yet all he ever did was make light of his wartime
sacrifice. He never talked about it.]

Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect
his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean,
they're all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you're out."

I think Dole gets to the heart of it. Kerry sounds like a man who acts
as if he were the only one who served in Vietnam. And for that matter, the only
one who protested the war.

The Kerry Campaign Seems to Acknowledge Some . . . Well, Imprecision In The Ol' Candidate Campaign Bio; And Bob Dole; And Chris Hitchens

Oops, They Said

Command Post notes that "the Kerry campaign removed a 20-page batch of documents yesterday from its website after The Boston Globe quoted a Navy officer who said the documents wrongly portrayed Kerry’s service." Read all about it here.

Bob Dole Speaks Up

As Roger L. Simon notes, Bob Dole seems to have gotten this right:

"One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their
ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole
said. "The next day he's standing there, 'I want to be president because I'm a
Vietnam veteran.' Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million
veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam," said Dole, whose World
War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm. [Note: After
he was wounded Dole lay on the battlefield for nine hours before being
evacuated. He nearly died, and spent over a year in the hospital after he
got back to the USA. And yet all he ever did was make light of his wartime
sacrifice. He never talked about it.]

Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect
his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean,
they're all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you're out."

I think Dole gets to the heart of it. Kerry sounds like a man who acts
as if he were the only one who served in Vietnam. And for that matter, the only
one who protested the war.

Christopher Hitchens notes:

This was a combat of more than 30 years ago, fought with a largely drafted army using indiscriminate tactics and weaponry against a deep-rooted and long-running domestic insurgency. (Agent Orange, for example, was employed to destroy the vegetation in the Mekong Delta and make life easier for the swift boats.) The experience of having fought in such a war is absolutely useless to any American today and has no bearing on any thinkable fight in which the United States could now become engaged. Thus, only the "character" issues involved are of any weight, and these are extremely difficult and subjective matters. If Kerry doesn't like people disputing his own version of his own gallantry, then it was highly incautious of him to have made it the centerpiece of his appeal.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

About That Shrapnel . . . and Meet The Press


About That Shrapnel

Well, I spent 20 minutes drafting a post for today and then it disappeared. Argghh!
Here's a shorter version.

There's a great deal flying around the internet on Kerry and Vietnam, so I will not try to add much. I did notice this morning's Washington Post story on the Swift Vets controversy, however.

Kerry, in his inimitable way of attempting soaring rhetoric, has often noted that he still carries metal in his body from Vietnam. Now, as someone who was of age in the Vietnam era, I honor the service of anyone who chose to place himself in harm's way by enlisting. Kerry did that, and the nation should be grateful to him as to everyone else who did.

Having said that, I think perspective is important. Here's how the Post reports the incident that led to Kerry carrying metal in his posterior after all these years:

As they were heading back to the boat, Kerry and Rassmann decided to blow
up a five-ton rice bin to deny food to the Vietcong. In an interview last week,
Rassmann recalled that they climbed on top of the huge pile and dug a hole in
the rice. On the count of three, they tossed their grenades into the hole and

Evidently, Kerry did not run fast enough. "He got some frags and pieces
of rice in his rear end," Rassmann said with a laugh. "It was more embarrassing
than painful." At the time, the incident did not seem significant, and Kerry did
not mention it to anyone when he got back on the boat. An unsigned "personnel
casualty report," however, erroneously implies that Kerry suffered "shrapnel
wounds in his left buttocks" later in the day, following the mine explosion
incident, when he also received "contusions to his right forearm."

Kind of puts that incident in perspective, doesn't it? Remember that the next time you hear Kerry pontificate about the metal in his body.

Meet The Press on The Swift Vets

As I was typing this post, "Meet The Press" came on. The first story was about the Kerry-Vietnam issue. All in all, I think Tim Russert was fair, although the first topic he covered was whether there is a connection between the Swift Vet ads and the Bush campaign. (Did I call that one or not, folks?)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A Quick Comment on "527"Organizations

I'm off driving my son to his first year at college, so will post only this bit of information from Power Line. Among other things, the Power Line guys note that of the twenty-five largest contributors to 527's, only one is a Republican.

Something to keep in mind if Tim Russert, George Stephanopolous, and Bob Schieffer all start wringing their hands about the extent to which a lone 527 group - the Swift Vets - are backed by Republicans.

Friday, August 20, 2004

This Is Not Going To Go Away

As a follow up to my last post below, please watch this video. I am not sure how the Kerry campaign responds to this. Kerry was pretty evasive about it on Meet The Press a few months ago.

The News Hour's Segment on Kerry And Vietnam; And, Why We Are Fighting The Vietnam War Yet Once Again

This is a news show I wish I had seen, but here's the link to a transcript. Jim Lehrer is a well-respected and fair journalist of long-standing, and I think this is a balanced report. Here are some interesting tidbits, beginning with this exchange:

OLIPHANT: And we keep going in this endless cycle of, see, I put this
out there, I made this accusation, I made this charge, but held to a higher
standard, I'm not saying your... That this didn't happen or that something did
happen, I'm saying that you haven't come within a country mile of meeting
first-grade journalistic standards for accuracy.

JOHN O'NEILL: I'll tell you this, there isn't a jury in the United
States, Mr. Lehrer, that will read this book and look at the evidence that
wouldn't conclude this man lied over and over again in Vietnam, not one.

Part of the problem here is that O'Neill is a trial lawyer (and a respected one in the Houston area), and Oliphant is a journalist (well, a columnist). Those two disciplines approach questions like Kerry's Vietnam service in a different way. Tom Oliphant might as well be from the Kerry campaign, given his stout and caustic defense of the Senator.

Nothing was said about the Christmas in Cambodia story, which is one yarn that Kerry has had to recant. Maybe that will be covered elsewhere.

Viewing this matter somewhat globally, here's what I find most remarkable about it. John Kerry is making us revisit the Vietnam War yet again, something I think few of us who lived through that era really want to do. And yet we should have seen this coming.

Just look at the overall picture: Kerry served just over four months in country, then left. He was highly decorated during that time period and received three Purple Hearts in those four short months, none of them for major injuries. Then, after leaving almost a year early, he became a famous (or infamous) critic of the war, leading Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), testifying before Congress, appearing on television, throwing medals back, and so forth. He made statements about what U.S. soldiers did in Vietnam that, to say the least, were remarkable for their inflammatory nature. (That may be the greatest understatement in the history of this blog.) Now running for president, he has made his Vietnam service the centerpiece of his campaign-- to the point that even his supporters have found themselves occasionally rolling their eyes.

In light of all that, how could we have ever hoped to escape the present vitriol and debate? No one should be surprised; it was inevitable.

Frankly, however, I am surprised anyway. I thought we'd be talking a lot more about the Iraq war, not one that ended 30 years ago.

This is not helpful to anyone, including President Bush, who served in the National Guard and has to face uncomfortable questions about that service.

I think you had to live through the Vietnam war and be of draft age then to understand this discussion fully. Anyone who was alive and paying attention during that era knows that many, many men served in the Guard. It was just part of life. So was ROTC, conscientious objector status, and enlisting-- as John Kerry did. The Air Force and Navy were the first two choices for enlistment, since service there was more likely not to put the enlistee in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. Kerry himself admits that he did not expect to be in combat, and that he signed up for swift boat duty because he did not think it would put him in combat. (I don't have the time to find the link to that interview, but it's not disputed that Kerry said that.)

This does not mean that anyone who made any such choices was a coward or morally inferior in any way. It was just the way life was in those days, and part of the strangeness of the Vietnam era.

I do blame John Kerry, however, for the current nastiness. He had a very unusual war record and post-war record, and now he has based his campaign on that record-- not on all of the record, but on the heroic part he wants to emphasize. He does not want to talk about his VVAW efforts, only the Bronze Star and the Purple Hearts. He was never going to get away with that, and it's amazing that he thought he would.

The presidential campaign now has "Vietnam Redux" written all over it, and that is because of John Kerry.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Controversy over the Kerry War Record Embellishments Heats Up

Hugh Hewitt simply nails the current status of this story.

Read this post.

Then read this one.

Then sit back and watch to see what happens. I'm not sure how this will all turn out, but it's going to be quite a show.

Looks Like The Swift Vets Have Drawn Blood

I can't say or report it better than Power Line does. Read the entire post! Excerpt:

The issue, of course, is not whether Kerry served honorably and bravely in
Vietnam. I take it as a given that he did. The questions are: 1) whether he
has lied, repeatedly, about his service in an effort to embellish it; 2) whether he has delibertately tried to take credit for engagements fought by other men (Lt. Ted Peck in particular); 3) whether his leadership of the anti-war movement, which was the origin of his political career, was based on a tissue of lies, including not just the Christmas in Cambodia fantasy--the stated reason for Kerry's purported disillusionment with government--but, more fundamentally, his claims that his fellow servicemen were a group of war criminals who routinely committed atrocities. These are serious questions that go the the heart of Kerry's fitness to be Commander in Chief, but Kerry won't acknowledge them (let alone answer them) unless he absolutely has to.

The AP notes further that Kerry's campaign has released a new ad featuring Jim Rassmann:

Aides said the commercial would air in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, three
battleground states where the original anti-Kerry ad ran. The decision to advertise even in a limited fashion marked a change in course for the campaign, which had hoped to remain off the air for August to conserve cash for the fall campaign.

So the Kerry camp is clearly worried.


As Instapundit notes, this editorial cartoon, which appears in the Charlotte Observer today, assumes the reader knows all about the underlying "Christmas in Cambodia" yarn, but the newspaper in which the cartoon appears has not printed a word about that story.

The Washington Post Reports on The Swift Boat Vets Controversy - By Checking The Military Records of The Swift Vets, Not Kerry

Read all about it here and make your own conclusions.

Wouldn't a lot of this be resolved if Kery would simply sign Form 180 and authorize release of all his military records? Why doesn't the Post ask Kerry's campaign why he won't do that?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hypocrisy Watch: Senator Tom Harkin

Thanks to Power Line for linking us to Instapundit's good work on Harkin's prior fibbing about his war record. (For those who missed it, among other intemperate and stupid statements, Harkin called Dick Cheney a "coward" for not serving in Vietnam.)

You must read what Instapundit came up with - here.

And Power Line's commentary is here.

Sen. Kerry's fuzzy memory hits the cartoons.

Read This, Then Send The Link To Everyone You Know

. . . including your local newspaper. It's an op-ed piece the Power Line guys got published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today, focusing on Christmas in Cambodia.

In case you missed it, the L.A. Times did a lengthy piece yesterday on the swift boat vets, but the Times story gave Christmas in Cambodia only passing mention. As the Star Tribune piece makes clear, Kerry's mendacity is clearest, and the evidence most daming, regarding that 1968 Christmas story he has told so many times, on the record.


  1. The Boston Globe is now covering this story. I know I'm biased, but I don't think Kerry looks too good in this one. Read it here.
  2. Kerry's own Vietnam journals (apparently typewritten while he was there) describe a far different Christmas eve than the Cambodian one he has referred to so many times on the record. Read the relevant entry from his journal here. It's ironic that his own journals hang him this way; one of the criticisms from his swift boat comrades was that he spent so much time writing. Moral: If you're going to keep a contemporaneous journal for use in your later political career, you'd better make sure it's accurate, and you'd better stick to that story.
  3. Observation: If people depended only on CNN for their news, they would have a completely different view of reality from someone who, like me, reads blogs and newspapers. It's amazing. For example, Fox News has been covering the Cambodia story relentlessly, and has consistently noted the major media's refusal to cover it. Brit Hume has been especially forceful in that regard, almost to the point of true bravery.

    Out of curiosity, I watched a bit of the Aaron Brown show on CNN last night. The Kerry-Cambodia story was buried as about the 4th or 5th item mentioned. Equal time was devoted to allegations about GWB's national guard service, including MoveOn.org's new ad claiming that Bush used connections to get into the guard, was "grounded" for some reason (gee! do you think they are implying he was drinking?), and then was AWOL. The Kerry campaign has disavowed the ad as "inappropriate," but only Fox reported that, not CNN. And the CNN talking heads expressed surprise that Bush would want any sort of debate over wartime service, given his record.

    Like I said, the world according to CNN is not the one you and I live in.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Kerry Simplifies His Campaign Theme

I'm worried. It looks like Kerry has developed a simple, straightforward message that resonates with his base unlike any other. Well, at least it's honest. He spells it out in this news article.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The History of Our "Rush To War"

RealClearPolitics summarizes here some key historical facts that destroy liberal (and news media) dogma about Iraq: That the U.S. "rushed" to war. It's a great read and the points made are important to bear in mind. I hope there is some way the Bush campaign can get these ideas circulated, perhaps through some op-ed pieces written by major foreign policy figures like George Schultz.

Michael Barone on "Christmas in Cambodia"

The Kerry Christmas in Cambodia story is surfacing among more and more mainstream (albeit conservative) commentators. Michael Barone writes about it here. Read the whole thing, but here are his concluding paragraphs:

Kerry’s Christmas-in-Cambodia statements, made over many years, seem to be
the kind of resume padding that routinely disqualifies political appointees and
damages political candidates. His repeated tellings of this story seem more than
a little weird, and usually we don’t want people who do weird things to be
president. Perhaps by the time you’re reading this appears, the Times, the Post
or the broadcast networks will have addressed this issue.

If they don’t, it’s reasonable to ask why not.

Bush on The Stump: This Is Looking Good for The Home Team

Bush campaigning in Iowa. (No word on whether or not he kissed the baby.)

Those of you who, like me, have been up late at night watching GWB's stump speeches on C-SPAN will agree with me that he's becoming very effective in that setting. Here's a Washington Post article on that subject that is shockingly favorable to the president. The article, entitled "Shirtsleeves Style Is a Strong Suit for Bush," represents some helpful recognition of how formidable a campaigner GWB can be. It'll lift your spirits.

Christmas in Cambodia Hits the Wall Street Journal

Well, it was only a matter of time. Here's the first treatment by a major American newspaper of Sen. Kerry's embroidery of the truth. Can you imagine the news media firestorm that would result if President Bush had been running for years on a dramatic story from his Texas National Guard days that never really happened?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Somehow this photo inspires a bit more confidence.

Did you know that John Kerry was an All-American tight end at Yale? He was the favorite target of legendary Eli quarterback Walt Mitty.

Care to Compare News Media Treatment of The Kerry Swift Boat Issues with Treatment of The Bush National Guard Question?

Warning: New England Republican posts something here that is bound to upset any fair-minded person. Read it anyway!

By the way, I'd like to congratulate New England Republican on his excellent choice of background art for his blog! ;)

UPDATE: More on the Alston Wrinkle to The Swift Boat Story

Here's what Hindrocket, at Power Line, says about the fast-breaking developments in the story below:

[I]t seems an almost inescapable conclusion that Alston never served under
Kerry. This is consistent with the statement, reported in this
about Alston's mother, that after being shot in the head and
shoulder he "lived and came home."

Hard as it is to believe, it appears that David Alston's speech at the
Democratic Convention was a lie from beginning to end.

The issue could be conclusively resolved, of course, if Alston allowed
his military records to be released. My guess is they would show he never
returned to combat, and certainly never served on PFC-94 after January 29, 1969.
But, just as the press has let John Kerry get away with refusing to authorize
the release of all of his military records, no pressure will be brought to bear
on Alston to show that the story he told at the convention, and in a Kerry
television commercial, was anything other than a fantasy. Like so much of what
Kerry says about his service in Vietnam.

New Bush Television Ad: Kerry on Intelligence

Here you can find the Bush campaign's latest TV advertisement. This one attacks John Kerry on intelligence issues. I hate to be a party pooper, but this one did not knock my socks off. In fact, although I really wish I did not feel like saying this, the ad looks pretty much like a garden variety attack ad, the kind you'd see in your local congressional race.

In summary, the ad notes that Kerry missed 76% of the public Senate Intelligence Committee meetings that he should have attended as a committee member, that he attended none of the public meetings in the year after 9/11, and that he voted to cut $6 billion from the intelligence budget.


  • Why 76%? Why not round it to 75%, or even "three-quarters?" Saying 76% seems wonkish.
  • The word "public" is in the text on the screen, but is left out of the voice over. Kerry did not attend 76% of the public meetings of his committee. To me, this omission jumped out. I know most people may not view the ad quite so critically, but I wonder what the difference is between public and non-public meetings? Are the non-public meetings the really important ones, and is Kerry going to be able to come back and show that he attended those more important meetings and that this parsing of words is unfair?
  • As for budget cuts, no one understands the federal budget, so it's hard to know what to make of such claims. It seems everyone in Congress or the Senate has a mind-numbing explanation for his or her budget votes.
I apologize to my fellow Republicans, but I think GWB has a great story to tell, and he needs to tell it in his ads. this one doesn't much for me, I'm afraid. And if I, an ardent Bush booster and Republican, see these weaknesses, what must the Kerry campaign see? Or, for that matter, what will the news media see when they run their "truth checks" on all ads? It will be interesting to see what they say about this one.

On the other hand, Bush's people have access to polling and focus group information that I don't, so maybe they're just doing the right thing politically. I hope so.

UPDATE: See my post above linking the Washington Post's article about Bush's effective stump style. I knew he could do it!

What Is Going On Here?

The Rev. Alston addressing the Democratic National Convention.

The respected Captain's Quarters blog tells us that the Rev. Alston, pictured above, did not actually serve on John Kerry's swift boat. Can this really be?

Here is a link to the transcript of the Rev. Alston's speech at the convention. Among other things, he states:

Manning the deck guns, most of us got wounded sooner or later, including Lieutenant Kerry. It would have been easiest, in an ambush, to simply rake the shore with return fire and roar on down the river to safety. But LieutenantKerry was known for taking the fight straight to the enemy. I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shoutingorders through the smoke and chaos.

Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle. In the toughest of situations, Lieutenant Kerry showed judgment, loyalty and courage. Even wounded, or confronting sights no man should ever have to see, he never lost his cool.

And when the shooting stopped, he was always there too, with a caring hand on my shoulder asking, "Gunner, are you OK?" I was only 21, running on fear and adrenaline. Lieutenant Kerry always took the time to calm us down, to bring us back to reality, to give us hope, to show us what we truly had within ourselves. I came to love and respect him as a man I could trust with life itself.

I am a man of faith, and I did not come here tonight to glorify what we did. I came here to share my personal knowledge of a young naval officer who rose to the
challenges and responsibilities of leadership, and who has always shown the
courage to speak truth to power.

And now, people who have investigated the matter carefully are making the astonishing claim that Alston was never on a swift boat with Kerry.

Can this really be? Frankly, I don't want this to be true. It's really quite a terrible thing to contemplate.

Maybe an investigation of this will be the lead story on "60 Minutes" this evening. Maybe Don Hewitt and Dan Rather and company will realize that after all the pounding they did on Bush (remember Richard Clarke and his star turns on the show?), it's time to pound on Kerry a little.

Yeah. And maybe pigs will start flying at about the same time.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Another of Many Grim Reminders

I believe it is important always to bear in mind the sacrifices soldiers and theirt families make, and especially the ultimate sacrifice that is too often necessary. We need not dwell on such things, but we must bear them in mind.

Toward that end, here are some recollections of a man who had the unenviable job of notifying Marine families of their sons' deaths during the Vietnam war. It contains some rough language in two places but is worth reading, I believe.

One Reason I Love The Olympic Games

The Iraqi Olympic team with Team USA members.

I enjoyed watching the opening ceremonies last night, which was, for a change, an international event free from tension. I especially enjoyed hearing the loud and friendly applause the U.S. team got when it entered the stadium. Above, the U.S . team and Iraqi team pose for photos. Feels good.

Bush Hatred Explained

Here's the latest from the formidable Victor Davis Hanson on why liberals viscerally loathe President Bush.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Hugh Hewitt's Interview with Dick Cheney

This is an absolute must-read. Find it here.

Totally Unrelated to Politics And War

This is from John Wooden's latest book, My Personal Best. I love college basketball above all other sports, and am always interested in what Coach Wooden has to say, which usually is applicable to life outside sports. I recommend the entire book, of course; here's an excerpt from pp. 103-104:

I was comfortable being a disciplinarian, but did not want to be an
ogre. Therefore, when discipline was required, I tried to dole it out in a
manner that was firm but fair, with no emotionalism or anger attached.
Anger prevents proper thinking and makes you vulnerable.

For example, Bill Walton would argue vehemently that he had a right to wear
long hair. I would remind Bill-- very firmly, but without anger-- that I
also had a right-- namely, the right to choose who was on the UCLA team.
Bill would think about it for a moment, then get on his bicycle and pedal down
to the Westwood barbershop for a trim. (People have asked me if I would
have suspended Bill for long hair. My answer: "Bill thought so.")

It never got personal, because the purpose of criticism or discipline is
not to punish, embarrass, or ridicule, but to correct and improve. It is
very difficult to antagonize and teach at the same time. For this reason I
avoided criticizing a player or the team at the end of practice, because the
effect lingers and is magnified. I violated this only on occasion when a
serious jolt was called for: "A team must have leadership and I am the leader of
this team. You needn't follow me blindly, but I do require that you follow
me." Sometimes the youngsters needed to think about that message

I began concluding each practice on a fun note by running a drill that
players liked. For example, I might designate a yong man to make five free
throws in a row at different baskets before the team was dismissed to the
showers. The whole group would gather around to hoot and holler depending
on the shooter's results. Of course, it also allowed that player to
practice free throws under pressure, and I always picked someone who needed
practice. . . .

All of this was an upbeat finish to our two-hour practices, which were so
exhausting that occasionally players would tell me the next day, "Coach, I was
too tired to change clothes before I went to bed last night." I was hoping
this also meant they were too tired to cause any mischief.

The Associated Press

Power Line notes that the AP is

the most important source of media bias in America. . . .
The AP is not as far left as, say, the New York or Los Angeles Times, but its
influence is far more pervasive as its stories are picked up by hundreds or even
thousands of newspapers.

Then we are shown this striking example of such bias, written by some unnamed reporter who, ah, seems to have a view of his/her own about the matter in question:

President Bush vows in his latest campaign ad to "bring an enemy to justice
before they hurt us again" although Osama bin Laden remains at large and only
one U.S. defendant, Zacarias Moussaoui, has been charged with crimes related to
the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Read Power Line's commentary here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

If You're Not Person Who Believes in Prayer . . .

This piece from the New York Times may cause you to consider developing that habit-- and to plead either that the possible catastrophe described will not occur, or that we as a nation will have the strength to survive if it does. I recommend both pleas.

(Hint: The op-ed piece discusses the likelihood of a terrorist nuclear attack on a great American city.)

The Swift Boat Story Gets Closer and Closer to Elite Media Notice

Tony Blankley, writing in the Washington Times, puts into words my own silent musings:

One of these groups of men are lying through their teeth. This is not a
case of failed memories. In a few instances, it could be a case of honest
differences of perception of events. But considering all the testimony and
evidence, John Kerry is either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. As of this moment there
is about a 50-50 chance that we will elect, in the person of John Kerry, either
a very fine man or a truly despicable man president of the United States.

Swimming (Walking?) to Cambodia

Here's a link to Hugh Hewitt's transcript of his interview with Steve Gardner, who served on John Kerry's swift boat for 2 and 1/2 months of the 4 months and 12 days that Kerry was in command of the boat. It will be interesting to see if the elite media pick up on this story.

Here's what Power Line thinks about that:

As for the burning question of the moment--will the major media cover this
story or bury it?--I think the answer is, neither. In a day or two we'll see
small, discreet stories that say there is a "controversy" about Kerry's
Cambodian adventure. The stories will be even-handed, giving equal time to
Kerry's irrelevant slanders of the Vietnam vets, and they will mention that
there was a similar "controversy" about President Bush's National Guard service.
That will be it. Kerry's excellent adventure will disappear from the news, never
to be mentioned again in the mainstream media.

More Evidence (As If Any Were Necessary) of Our Need to Stay on Our Toes

This story by Bill Gertz in the Washington Times reveals more details about al-Quaeda's plans to disrupt our fall national elections. Apparently they have made intricate plans to assassinate a U.S. leader, either in the USA or abroad.

I began reading the 9/11 Commission's report last evening. It reads like a novel in many ways and is downright riveting. Still, it is pretty grim reading. I had to switch to some other reading material for a few minutes just so I could get to sleep. It is good to be reminded of the ruthelssness, heartlessness, barbarity and determination of those who have chosen to be our enemies. Among other things, my determination is renewed, and the silly politicization of this grave national problem is all the more stark to me. After reading a few pages about al-Quaeda, the antics of people like Michael Moore and Joe Wilson seem both ridiculous and beneath contempt.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bush Myths

You'll want to bookmark these links for use in discussions with your liberal friends who "just know" that certain (negative) things about GWB are true. I'm drawing these myth-busters from Michael Novak's op-ed piece in National Review Online.

  • First, Bush is dumb. This is my favorite Bush myth. Liberals love to use this one on Republican presidents-- Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, and now GWB have all been derided as just not all that sharp. This is a totally unsupported canard. Thanks to Novak, here is an analysis of that claim as far as Bush is concerned, which is not altogether flattering about the president and comes from UPI, hardly a Bush apologist. Apparently GWB's IQ score places him in about the 95th percentile. (Also, being math-challenged myself, I'd be happy to have had his SAT math score of 640.)
  • Novak's article also addresses these myths:
  1. Bush "lied" when he said Iraq was an "imminent" danger to the U.S. Bush expressly denied that the danger was then imminent, and said when it was actually "imminent" it would be too late to counter.
  2. Bush "lied" when he said Iraq had the "potential" to develop weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam must be assumed to possess weapons of mass destruction. Saddam's potential to develop weapons of mass destruction has been demonstrated from what was found after May 2003. And any reasonable leader, hearing the best estimates of all major intelligence services and observing Saddam's behavior, had to assume that he possessed them. Even the anti-war movement employed the same assumption. It used as one of its arguments the claim that war would occasion Saddam's use of WMDs.
  3. Bush "lied" when he said in his 2003 State of the Union address that the British had information about the attempt of Iraq to purchase "yellow cake" in Nigeria, as charged by Joseph Wilson. (The famous 16 words.) The British Butler Inquiry said Bush's words were "well-founded." The Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that it was Wilson who had lied.
  4. Bush "lied" when he landed on the aircraft carrier under a banner that said "mission accomplished." General Tommy Franks has said he suggested the symbol as a strategic move, to dramatize to reluctant allies that the offensive operations were now over. A new (but still difficult) phase of ending disorder and bringing stable political and economic institutions had begun. On this task, some Europeans had hinted they would help. Franks wanted a dramatic signal sent to them. It was also meant as a "closure" for the main Coalition offensive.
  5. A big reason for the deficits are the Bush tax cuts. As even the New York Times has noted, the main cause by far was the great drop of income for the wealthy in the two-year stock-market drop, with a consequent dramatic drop in tax revenues. This was before the Bush tax cuts came into effect. Since then, tax revenues have dramatically increased, especially from the rich. The top 10 percent pay 65 percent of all income taxes.
The whole piece is worth reading.

The Very Heart of The Presidential Campaign

In this Los Angeles Times editorial (registration required), well-known defense and foreign affairs writer Joshua Muravchik gets to the heart of the presidential campaign and why Kerry must emphasize his military record. Key excerpts:

All in all, in his 20 years in the Senate, Kerry ranks as one of the five
most dovish or liberal members on foreign policy if you tally up the key votes
selected by the liberal advocacy group, Americans for Democratic Action. Is it
any wonder that Kerry is seeking to focus voters' attention on his courage as a
Navy officer rather than his judgment as a political leader?

Since 1972, when McGovern jettisoned the tradition of Harry Truman, John
Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and made the Democrats the party of dovishness, only two Democrats have won the White House. Both of them, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, presented themselves as more hawkish than their Republican opponents.

In 1976, Carter targeted the detente policies of Gerald Ford. In 1992, Clinton
lambasted George H.W. Bush's refusal to defend Bosnia or criticize Beijing. Once
in office, each pursued softer foreign policies than the Republican he had

That Kerry comes from Massachusetts — the only state that opted for
McGovern in 1972 — makes his projection of hawkishness a harder sell. The
military veterans with whom he surrounded himself at the convention, and the
reminders of the honor with which he himself served, make the claim more
plausible. Until you look at the political record.

I would rather see more attention focused on Kerry's Senate record than on disputed stories about what he did in Vietnam 30+ years ago. By focusing on whether or not he was a real hero, whether he is exaggerating his wartime exploits, etc., his opponents (of which I am one) may be playing into his hand. Kerry's record as a senator tells us much more about what he would do as president, and the picture that record paints is deeply disturbing. That is the message Bush must get out to the electorate. Let's hope he does that; as Muravchik's piece shows, there's an awful lot of material to work with here.

A New T-Shirt, Just in Time for The Fall Campaign

Sometimes words almost fail me.

For $15 this shirt can be yours, courtesy of Planned Parenthood. Presumably these will be visible in great numbers at Kedwards campaign rallies. Of course, Sen. Kerry is personally opposed to abortion on demand and believes life begins at conception. But he'll be sure to appoint judges who won't disturb Roe v. Wade. Not that we are talking about litmus tests or anything like that. Wink, wink.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

A Must-Read: The Jessica Clements Story

Read this. You'll be glad you did.

More on Kerry The Swift Boat Captain

After reading this summary in Power Line, all I can do is sit back in my chair and wonder where all this is going to lead us.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters has the letter that the SwiftVets' lawyer apparently is sending to television stations with questions about their ad. I continue to be unenthusiastic about this ad and fearful that it will do nothing but harm. But I must admit to watching this story unfold with some fascination. If what these men allege is true, then Kerry is a truly an odd piece of work who should not be allowed near the Oval Office.

Will Anyone Ask John Kerry to Explain His Position on Same-Sex Marriage?

Hugh Hewitt explores this issue well, and I cannot do it any better than he did; read Hugh's entire post here.


In 1996 Kerry voted against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which allowed the states to define marriage.

In 2002 Kerry was on the record opposing a same-sex marriage amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution. Here's the letter he signed, along with other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

In 2004, now running for president, he did not sign a letter opposing a similar measure in Massachusetts, as USA Today reported. He even announced his support for the measure.
Also in 2004, just after Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a statewide referendum doing just what the Massachusetts amendment would have done: defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, Kerry told the Kansas City Star he would have voted for that referendum. And, Hewitt notes:

Kerry did say that he would have voted for Amendment 2, the constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage that passed overwhelmingly Tuesday. He said
that Massachusetts passed the same type of amendment a few years ago and that he supported it." (I am unaware of what Kerry is talking about here, but it
seems as though he was intent on lying to the Star reporters, who ought to have
been informed by the candidate of his February 2002 letter opposing a
Massachusetts amendment on the subject.)

Hugh notes that Kerry seems to have a deal with his liberal supporters: They wink at this sort of thing, and he'll deliver the judges they want after he is elected. The judges will do the dirty work and enshrine same-sex marriage in the Constitution. It's really quite a plausible and very cunning strategy.

It does seem that someone ought to ask Kerry about the changes in his views on this subject. The interviewer will have to be someone who's willing to ask follow-up questions; otherwise, Kerry will simply say he's personally opposed to gay marriage but thinks it ought to be left up to the states, or some such thing. He needs to be asked:

  • Why did you oppose DOMA? Do you still oppose it?
  • Why did you oppose the Massachusetts amendment on 2002?
  • What made you change your mind and support the same type of amendment in 2004 and the Missouri referendum in 2004?
  • Would you be opposed to the federal courts deciding either that DOMA or state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional?
  • You are an attorney; if you were a federal judge would you be inclined so to decide?
  • Would you appoint judges who would be inclined so to decide?

I don't know if he'll ever see his feet held to the fire this way but it would be nice to see someone try. Maybe in the presidential debates.

UPDATE: Thanks to RealClearPolitics for August 8, 2004, here is a Weekly Standard piece appearing today that addresses this issue even more directly. As the authors, Jeffrey Bell and Frank Cannon, note:

Asked in St. Louis about the previous day's vote, Kerry said he had no
problem with it. He, after all, unlike George W. Bush, is the candidate who
favors letting each state make its own decision. He didn't add that he was one
of 14 senators, all liberal Democrats, who voted against the Defense of Marriage
Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The purpose of DOMA was to
let each state prohibit same-sex marriage even if a gay couple, married under
some other state's law, demanded recognition of their union by invoking the Full
Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. In his 1996 statement opposing
DOMA, Kerry said he believed the law to be unconstitutional.

John Edwards was not yet in the Senate when DOMA passed. But during the primaries he stated that he, too, would have voted against it. So on this, as on
so many other issues, Edwards is in complete agreement with his running mate: He is in favor of the right of states to define marriage, but opposed to the
federal legislation that sought to guarantee each state the right to keep its
own definition.

So: I hope someone asks both candidates: Do you still believe DOMA is unconstitutional? If so, what is your position on what either the states or the federal government should do about same-sex marriage?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Celebs and Kerry: Confusing Fame And Significance

Two boys from Boston, John Kerry and Ben Affleck, yukking it up.

In a rather breathless L.A. Times article on August 6, I first read that a group of pop musicians have decided that they have had enough - enough, mind you! - of this Bush barbarian and are now going to get serious about throwing him out of office. If you did not see the loving treatment the Times gave this startling news, you can read it here.

I guess I always thought these folks were automatically behind every liberal candidate. Movie stars and singers were there for Al Gore and Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis and Fritz Mondale and . . . well, you get the picture. The difference this time is that they are being organized by "527" organizations, meaning that under the McCain-Feingold law the sponsoring organizaton is not officially connected to any candidate. (But we all know darn well who they support and where their money is coming from.) Their stated goal is to defeat Bush.

If you want to read some fun fulmination about all this, Power Line does it here. For my part, I think these people are all incredibly narcissistic and clueless. They think that because they are famous (or, in some cases, talented) they are significant-- and that their opinion on issues unrelated to their fields of expertise (music and movie making) really matters.

It doesn't. And I don't think the electorate is going to care what these people think about politics.

Alan Keyes for U.S. Senate?

I agree with many of my fellow conservatives that Alan Keyes makes the conservative case forcefully, but I am less interested in hearing music to my ears than I am in seeing conservative ideas actually implemented as policy.  For that to happen, Keyes has to get elected.  I'd like to see that happen but I don't think the good citizens of Illinois will elect a black conservative firebrand from Maryland.  (I hope I am proven wrong.)

To be sure, Keyes will give Barack Obama a rigorous debate and will force Obama to respond to some serious conservative arguments.  That's good, but the problem with Keyes remains that his style makes it easy to caricature him, which the elite media will do with relish.  I don't like it when good conservative arguments are presented in such an over-the-top way that the audience doesn't really hear them.

Back from Vacation! Jobs And Economic News: Should We Be Depressed? Over-The-Top Crowd Responses To Kerry; And Even Some Movie Reviews

Jobs And Economic News: Should We Be Depressed?

The guys at Power Line note here that although the latest jobs number report seems bad (and what fanfare the news media gave that report!), consumer confidence is rising-- to its highest level since January. The news report Power Line links to is here. As the story notes:

Consumer confidence surged during the past month to its highest level since
the beginning of the year, with Americans feeling better about their own
finances and more optimistic about the future despite renewed terror threats and
rising oil prices.

Consumer confidence has been rising for the past four months as the
economy has been on a solid path to recovery.

I suppose that if people are feeling better about the economy, maybe they won't be in a mood to throw out the incumbent president. I am clinging tightly to my optimism, but Bush has bet his presidency on the Iraq war. I hope he can hang on. We'll know a lot more about how people feel after Labor Day.

The Heckling Becomes The Story

I do not like hearing about events like this one reported in the Boston Globe. Apparently Kerry's whistle-stop train tour was subjected to heavy and boorish heckling in a Missouri town. I hope that generally, opposition to the Kedwards ticket will focus more on the soundness of the ideas that drive Bush and his supporters and the weakness of Kerry's case, not dislike of Kerry. (Although there is surely plenty to dislike.)

Movie Reviews

Well, I couldn't lie on the beach the whole two weeks. We took some breaks to get out of the sun and recover from sunscreen overdoses.

The Manchurian Candidate is a waste of time, unless you like movies with extremely implausible conspiracy plot lines and cartoonish characters. Plot summary: A Hallburton-type corporation tries to install a president it can control through an implant it has placed in his brain. The left-wing politicians are heroic and godlike. The perpetrators of the plot are very conservative, the embodiment of cynicism, and eeeevilllll. Frankly, I would not have minded all that if the story were just a little plausible. Alas, it is not.

A Cinderella Story is great fun if you are lucky enough to have a little girl to take to see it, like I do.

The Village was just great, but I like M. Night Shyamalan. Not everyone does. The movie was beautiful to look at, had the usual M. Night twists, and has something interesting to say, even if it did so somewhat imperfectly. At bottom, of course, it's just a yarn, pretty well-told. M. Night has not yet duplicated his success in The Sixth Sense, but he keeps making good efforts and I intend to keep seeing his movies. He's a talented guy.

Man, I missed this high-speed connection!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Roger Simon on Kerry and Vietnam

Still away from my beloved high-speed connection, I post only this item tonight from Roger L. Simon. It gives useful detail about the scrutiny of Kerry's Vietnam stories.

Two Pieces of Interest: One on The War And The Other on The Campaign


Heather McDonald on "Privocrats"

If you fly a lot, like I do, this opinion piece by Heather McDonald will have you thinking (and perhaps a little enraged).

Here's her concluding paragraph:

There is no way to keep a terrorist from flying without first trying to
determine who he is. Yet the most innocuous identity verification system prior
to a flight is now seen as tantamount to illegal surveillance. With the rights
advocates back in the saddle of national security, al Qaeda can blithely get on
with its business.

Peggy Noonan's Take

As Ms. Noonan writes here, she has made an interesting decision: To take a leave of absence from her employer, the Wall Street Journal, and campaign full time-- presumably for President Bush. I admire her decision and hope the Bush campaign uses her. She wrote many of Ronald Reagan's best speeches and also wrote the one that the senior president Bush gave in 1988, which erased a double-digit Michael Dukakis lead.

I have heard GWB's stump speech and like it, but it does need some tweaking. His Republican convention speech will need to be a good one, and he can use a wordsmith and idea-spinner of Noonan's caliber.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Kerry The Swift Boat Captain

Go to this link at Power Line for all kinds of information about a pretty devastating campaign ad prepared with the cooperation of Senator Kerry's Viet Nam comrades. I really don't know what to make of this, or whether or not the ad (or its underlying story) is going to sprout any "legs." I am generally uncomfortable with attacks on a man's acts of 30 years ago, and these are nasty attacks indeed. But I also am told that the men bringing the charges are credible, responsible people. We shall see.

A Fascinating And Sobering Read on The Terror Web

Hugh Hewitt linked this piece from the New Yorker. Take some time and read the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

One Comment about Democracy In Iraq

A commenter named Anonymous (see post below) seems to think the idea of democracy in Iraq is ludicrous.


Maybe it will not happen. I myself am skeptical that democracy can take hold in Iraq. But to hope that it may take hold, to believe that it just might take hold, is not a ridiculous approach to the matter.

I suggest Anonymous visit this web site and the many other Iraqi sites it links to, and then ask himself whether he feels any sympathy with these Iraqis, who certainly hope and pray for democracy. Is he willing to post on the Iraq the Model site that he thinks they're all fools to think they can have democracy? We're talking about the hopes and aspirations of real people here, you know; this is not a parlor game about what dopes George W. Bush and his cohorts are.

So Just How Serious Are We about The War?

With my painfully slow internet connection I cannot post much. I'll simply make one statement and post the above link to an impressive blog entry at RealClearPolitics.com.

My statement: I have not seen a single shred of evidence that John Kerry is serious about the war against global islamofascism. The man may become president of the United States, so that worries me. This should worry even his supporters-- at least those who themselves are serious about the war.

The RealClearPolitics post expresses my point much for fully.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

August 1, 2004: The Meaning of Kerry's Foreign Policy Vision

The dissection and analysis of John Kerry's remarkable convention speech continues. Remember, he wrote the speech himself, in longhand. We must assume it sprang directly from his brain.

Robert Kagan does the latest review in today's Washington Post. You should read the whole thing. I wonder what the impact will be of all the pounding Kerry's speech is taking from very credible analysts?

Here's an excerpt from Kagan's piece:

If Kerry has revealed himself in an unusual moment of honesty, it's time
everyone took an equally honest look at where he would lead the country if
elected. Kerry's "doctrine of necessity," if seriously intended, would entail a
pacifism and an isolationism more thorough than any attempted by a U.S.
government since the 1930s. It would rule out all wars fought for humanitarian
ends, all interventions to prevent genocide, to defend democracy or even, as in
the case of the Persian Gulf War, to uphold international law against
aggression. For those are all wars of choice.