The "politics of personal destruction" is shifting into high gear. The Swift Boat veterans who appeared in the anti-Kerry ad and in the forth-coming book Unfit For Command were branded "liars" and "sleazy" characters by an angry Al Hunt on Saturday evening's edition of Capitol Gang.
Hunt specifically called John O'Neill, the author of Unfit For Command, a liar but offered no support for the allegation. It's hard to say how he could support it, actually, since he hasn't seen the book yet, but then evidence doesn't matter in the world of post-modern liberalism. All that's necessary for a man to be a liar in our current cultural environment is for him to say something you don't like or that you wish weren't true.
Hunt claimed that since Kerry's accusers didn't actually serve on Kerry's vessel they're not qualified to say whether Kerry actually did the things he is credited for doing. This is like saying that because some kid in your high school was a year behind you, you can't really know anything about him.
Hunt followed this bizarre claim with one even weirder. Veins almost popping in his neck, he vigorously insisted that John McCain has more authority on the matter than anyone at the table, and John Mccain has called these men "dishonest and dishonorable". Never mind that these men knew Kerry and served with him whereas McCain never did until both men were in the Senate together. As long as truth is whatever you want it to be this sort of logic will make perfect sense to you, I suppose.
Some critics have argued that these Viet Nam veterans are reprehensible because they're making an issue out of something that happened thirty-five years ago and should not be relevant today.
There are several things to be said about this objection, however. First, those who make it were themselves mute while Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats were raking through George Bush's National Guard service. I don't recall any liberal reporters, least of all Al Hunt, telling the Democrats to stop acting like political dumpster divers. According to the Democrats and the pundits the people should know whether Bush did what he claimed to do when he was in the National Guard. It was okay to call him a draft dodger and a deserter because, heck, for all any of them knew maybe he was. But it's not okay to subject John Kerry to the same kind of scrutiny. That's sleazy politics.
Second, the allegations against Bush were made by high representatives of the Democrat party. McAuliffe is the party chairman. The Republicans have nothing to do with the ad or the book, at least not that we know. These have been produced by men who are private citizens, and if they're telling the truth what they're doing is far more noble than what Michael Moore did in Fahrenheit 9/11.
Third, John Kerry and the Democrats are the ones responsible for making his war time service an issue. In his acceptance speech he spent more time talking about his four month tour of duty in Viet Nam than he did his nineteen years in the Senate. John Edwards says "if you want to know what kind of man John Kerry is, ask the men who served with him," but when we take Edwards up on his suggestion the men who served with him are slandered and vilified by the liberals because they refuse to follow the script.
Al Hunt and his Democrat allies allege that these men, upwards of two hundred of them, are simply lying or are the manipulated pawns of rich backers who are putting up the money for these ads. It is somehow sordid for rich Republicans to finance ads critical of Kerry, but when George Soros says he would spend his entire fortune to defeat George Bush the liberals revel in the prospect.
They snickered at the obvious mendacity of rich film- maker Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and rejoiced that so many people were going to see it, but when it's their guy being subject to charges which, for all they know, may be true they're outraged at such "dishonest and dishonorable" tactics.
On Capitol Gang Margaret Carlson shrugged off the claims of these war veterans, many of them decorated heroes themselves, by making the astonishing assertion that they will all soon be discredited. This is journalism? Without having read their allegations, without having seen their evidence she knows that Kerry is innocent and these men are simply fabricating this whole thing? Where is journalistic objectivity? Where's the noble journalistic pursuit of the truth wherever it may be found? In the world of the contemporary liberal, evidently, there's no need to look at evidence when you already know the truth.
Viewpoint is looking forward to the Sunday morning talk shows. They should be feisty.