by Gary North
The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
Kerry: hero or fake? Which Swifties are we supposed to believe?
Each side has its favorite Swifties. The only one I trust is Tom. ("Vietnam was a quagmire," said Tom, sinkingly.)
The big winners will be TV stations in the swing states.
BRUNO'S MY MAN!
The only character on The West Wing with whom I can identify in any way is Bruno Gianelli. He has been on a few segments. He is the high-powered ad man that the Bartlett campaign brought in for the second election. He stands on the streets of Washington and yells, "I can sell anything to anyone!" He then sells Bartlett, a multiple sclerosis victim who concealed the fact and who got caught, and whose physician wife illegally treated him in secret.
On August 23, the lead story on the Drudge Report was President Bush's denunciation of the Swift Boat protestors' TV ads. Bush said, "I think Senator Kerry served admirably and he ought to be proud of his record." Unless the Kerry campaign is staffed by droolers, by the end of the day, some minion was splicing together this quotation and a voice-over by Kerry: "I'm John Kerry, and I approve of this ad."
Americans root for the underdog. They love dirt, too. So, when there is a scent of scandal, their instinct is to inhale. But then they suffer guilt pangs. "Why did I do that?" They try to atone.
They can atone in November by voting for Kerry. Anyway, a few hundred thousand of them will think they can.
The Kerry campaign can now nail the Swifties. They can allege a vast right-wing conspiracy. "The Swift Boat campaign that you see on TV is selling hundreds of thousands of copies of a last-minute book published by one of America's most notorious right-wing publishing houses." Actually, this is true. Regnery did publish it, and Regnery is the oldest conservative publisher, going back 60 years. It publishes good books, but it is vulnerable to a TV ad campaign. Subtleties are rarely prime considerations in TV ads.
If Kerry pulls anti-Bush ads that focus on Bush's AWOL status, and if he denounces any independently funded ads that promote this story, he will be perceived as having been sinned against. He will have to persuade www.democrats.com to pull certain articles, such as this one. Maybe he can't. But if he uses Bush's words against the Swift Boat ads, and if he abandons the "Bush went AWOL" stories, he can use the public's feelings of guilt to gain votes in November.
Guilt is a powerful emotion. Ayn Rand was correct in Atlas Shrugged. The government passes so many laws that everyone breaks some of them. Then the government can use these feelings of guilt to manipulate now guilt-ridden people. Modern political liberalism is built on this foundation, as R. J. Rushdoony detailed in his 1970 book, Politics of Guilt and Pity.
There is enough conflicting testimony on both sides of the "Kerry the non-hero" story to muddy the waters. Conflicting testimony tends to confuse people. The confusion over how Bush differs from Kerry on the Iraq war is already gumming up the works. With Howard Dean, it would have been clear: pro vs. con.
Kerry bet too much on his war record. He should have known he was vulnerable. But, on the whole, people are going to believe the official record, and the official record says that Kerry won the medals.
What nobody is talking about on TV is Kerry's record as a trigger-happy man with a machine gun. Everyone is talking about what he did under fire, or non-fire. Nobody is on TV talking about Kerry's readiness to shoot on sight. Nobody has gone to anyone associated with Zumwalt's office to see why it was that Kerry was allowed to get out of command so fast.
So, I did. The story I got was that Zumwalt was only too happy to get him out of there. Rumors are cheap, of course, although I trust my source. In any case, nobody is going to score points with the voters with a story that Kerry shot first and asked no questions afterward. After all, this is the tactical basis of our campaign in Iraq. Democrats don't want to hear the story, and Republicans are going to vote for the Commander-in-Chief, whose readiness to bomb civilians is not a matter of rumor.
Poll numbers will rise and fall as November draws near. The fact is, the public is divided. The public has been divided since 2000. I think the Swifty story will have played out by November, unless there is an ace in the hole by the anti-Bush Swifties — one that they can get funded and run as a 100% independent ad, thereby not breaking the outrageous law that prohibits campaign-funded attack ads in the last 60 days of the campaign. Sixty days without the First Amendment is only the beginning.
August 24, 2004
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