The response of the Kerry campaign to the accusations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has not been to respond to the charges themselves but rather to threaten television stations who run their ads with a lawsuit for libel. Henry and Erika Holzer have an excellent piece at FrontPage magazine.com which dissects Kerry's initial strategy for dealing with the SBVT and shows how the claim that the SBVT members are not telling the truth collapses under the weight of common sense. They also explain how the threat of libel is as hollow as their candidate's resume. The Holzers close their essay with this:
Indeed. Of course all of this controversy over his military service might be stopped dead in its tracks if Kerry would do what the Democrats insisted that George Bush do, which is to release his service records. Kerry, however, refuses to do this. One particularly clever explanation for his refusal to release the records is that he anticipated long ago that his VietNam service would be an issue and has decided to sit on his records while his political opponents dig themselves into a deep pit. Then, at the climactic moment, he will release the records which will vindicate Kerry and bury his enemies under an avalanche of public scorn and ridicule.
It's possible, in the same sense that Martians are possible, but there are two things working against the strategy. First, the Republicans aren't cooperating. No one in that party has embraced the SBVT ads or the vets themselves. On the contrary, they've somewhat distanced themselves from them.
Second, the records must vindicate Kerry in order for the strategy to work, and it's hard to believe that Kerry wouldn't have released them years ago if they truly did confirm his claims. It's also hard to believe that over two hundred men would be lying about this, would be subjecting themselves to the Democrat slime machine, when they have no real motive for doing so other than to defend their own honor and to set the record straight.
The Fox News Sunday panel all agreed that this would be a non-issue by Labor Day. Viewpoint is not so sure. It's a story, as journalists like to say, that has legs, and the legs are going to get stronger when Unfit For Command is released next week.