|Man Without Qualities|
Monday, May 03, 2004
Pathetic ... And Bound To Lose XXXVII: "My Life," By John Kerry
From the New York Times on John Kerry's $27 Million advertising buy to "introduce himself" to American voters:
In one advertisement, Mr. Kerry explains that he joined the Navy after college in 1966 because "I thought it was important, if you had a lot of privileges as I had, to go to a great university like Yale, to give something back to your country."
Some Democratic strategists said they were intrigued to see both advertisements emphasize Yale, which would call attention to Mr. Kerry's image as an intellectual. One senior Kerry strategist said that because Mr. Kerry saw his elite education as impelling him to serve in the military, "the baggage you might think would come with it doesn't exist."
Those Democratic strategists might better spend their time being intrigued that Mr. Kerry explains that he joined the Navy after college in 1966 because "I thought it was important, if you had a lot of privileges as I had, to go to a great university like Yale, to give something back to your country," where he actually had no choice but to go into the military (or seek consciencious objector status, flee the country or the like) since his draft board had just turned down his request for an extension of his deferment to allow him to study in Paris.
Don't those Democratic strategists see any risk in Senator Kerry blatantly misrepresenting his reasons for joining the Navy - and making a big $27 Million deal out of it on television?
UPDATE: An astute reader e-mails:
Kerry never, repeat never, volunteered for combat. As most college age men knew at thet time, enlisting in the Navy was a safe alternative to being drafted into the Army. When he volunteered for Swift Boat duty, it was blockade duty, not heavy combat. He got into combat because only because the rules of engagement were changed by Admiral Zumwalt when he began operation Sealords. Once Kerry was in combat, he gamed the system to get out of it as quickly as possible.
Isn't this a job for some 527 committee ads? What would be wrong with an ad just laying out the facts. Something like this:
After Yale, Mr. Kerry sought more time in Paris but was faced with the draft. Instead of being drafted into the Army he chose the Navy. He sought Swift-boat service, which, at the time, did not involve much combat risk. But he was surprised when Admiral Zumwalt changed the Swift boat's mission, and ended up in combat. He sought early removal from combat, was successful in obtaining his transfer because his three purple hearts technically allowed that - although the wounds for which he won those medals were minor - and served less time than many. He showed courage in action. He has misrepresented much of his history in his advertisements and public statements.
Wouldn't that make a nice, independently produced 527 ad? Maybe by a veterans group? Maybe with some interview footage of other Vietnam veterans? Here's a nice voice-over, to be read by the author himself: "John Kerry and I served much of our time, a full 12 months in my case and a controversial four months in his, commanding the exact same six-man boat, PCF-94, which I took over after he requested early departure. Despite our shared experience, I still believe what I believed 33 years ago--that John Kerry slandered America's military by inventing or repeating grossly exaggerated claims of atrocities and war crimes in order to advance his own political career as an antiwar activist."
Of course, such an ad would have more effect if more voters first heard the Kerry version of his history. That sequencing would maximize the sense that Senator Kerry can't be trusted. Which may explain why we haven't seen such an ad ---- just yet.
Maybe in October?
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