Thursday, August 19, 2004

"The swift boat ads are bad, m'kay"

It's been almost a week, and oh what almost-a-week it has been. The first week of classes is just about over. Now that I have ten minutes, I can finally get to a story that has been breaking news every day. This story just dies for commentary. Here's today's version of the story:

Kerry blasts Bush over veterans' ad
Says president allows others to do 'dirty work'

The Associated Press
Updated: 12:57 p.m. ET Aug. 19, 2004

BOSTON - Sen. John Kerry accused President Bush on Thursday of relying on front groups to challenge his record of valor in Vietnam, asserting, “He wants them to do his dirty work.”
Defending his record, the Democratic presidential candidate said, “Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.”
“Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.”
Kerry received five medals for his service in Vietnam a generation ago, but his record has come under campaign challenge in television commercials aired by “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” funded by supporters of the president.
Bush and the White House have refused to condemn the ads, despite calls to do so — from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former Vietnam prisoner of war, as well as from Democrats.
Senior Democrats, including some inside the presidential campaign, have urged Kerry to respond forcefully to the criticism, fearing that if left unanswered, it could hamper his quest for the White House.
In addition to Kerry's speech before an audience of firefighters, his campaign released a new 30-second campaign commercial that features a former Green Beret saying the young Navy lieutenant saved his life under fire.
Recalling when his boat came under attack more than 30 years ago, Jim Rassmann says, "It blew me off the boat. All those Viet Cong were shooting at me. I expected I'd be shot. When he pulled me out of the river, he risked his life to save mine."
Aides said the commercial would air in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, three battleground states. 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.
In his speech, Kerry employed a wartime metaphor.
"More than 30 years ago I learned an important lesson. When you're under attack the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack. That's what I intend to do today."
Speaking of the organization airing the ads that challenge his war record, Kerry said, "Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth and they're not telling the truth. ...
"But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know. He wants them to do his dirty work."
Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said, 'That charge leveled by Senator Kerry is absolutely and completely false.'
Kerry's 'noble service' "The Bush campaign has never and will never question John Kerry's service in Vietnam. The president has referred to John Kerry's service as noble service," the Bush spokesman said.
Kerry said, "Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: "Bring it on."
Kerry's comments drew boisterous cheers from members of the union that had endorsed him last year at a time his candidacy was struggling.
Rassmann, too, played a pivotal role in Kerry's campaign turnaround last winter. With the kickoff Iowa caucuses days away, the former Green Beret contacted the campaign and volunteered to appear with the Massachusetts senator and talk about his action in Vietnam.
Rassmann has since become the best known member of a group of veterans that Kerry calls his 'band of brothers' a stress on military service designed to erode the traditional Republican campaign advantage on national security issues.
Here's my take:
Ok, so let me just get this straight...a group separate from the Bush Administration is combating Kerry's "war hero" campaign. This group, which consists of Kerry's former shipmates, is telling its side of just what happened in Vietnam. This group consists of well over the majority of people who served with Kerry. They are telling the truth as they saw it. They are telling the story as they feel appropriate.
Firstly, let us ask these questions: Why is it George W. Bush's responsibility to censor what comes through the news? Why must he denounce the ads? Why is this? Why does he need to say that he doesn't approve of the ads? These questions, to me, are very important. If, for instance, a group came out saying that George Bush was a fraud. If they said that he hadn't done something that he was using as the major pedestals for his campaign, George Bush would be strung up on a limb for limiting free speech if he said one bad thing about them. We all know this.
This is point is really unimportant, though, because the question that Kerry wants addressed isn't "why should he" but instead, "why hasn't he." To this, I can only offer counter questions. If Bush should be countering these ads with his disapproval, should Kerry not be countering everything the screaming left has said about George Bush? When does Kerry denounce Ted Kennedy's screaming face which so rudely called George Bush a liar? When do we hear the Kerry campaign tell Al Gore that George Bush did NOT "play on our fears," and that he is not a "traitor." Why haven't we hard Kerry tell Howard Dean to shut his mouth about Bush's use of the terrorism level for political gain?
I guess the true point is one that I have never understood, and that I doubt I ever will. I cannot fathom this double standard the media holds for politicians. Shame on the Conservative Right for using any sort of harsh language or damaging truth. Right on to any Liberal Leftist who chooses to slam the Right with harsh language and damaging (half) truth.
Whatever happend to fair and balanced?


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