Friday, August 13, 2004

Desperate Men

Matt Drudge has a report that Senator Kerry is going to change his Cambodia adventure story from having occured on Christmas eve in 1968 to actually having taken place in January of 1969. Evidently, almost everything about this episode, which was "seared into his memory", was misremembered. PowerLine directs us to the Captain's Quarters for an excellent analysis of the impending revision. Look for further clarifications in the weeks ahead.

Viewpoint wonders how many stories the good senator from Massachussetts is going to have to revise and recant before his candidacy simply collapses under the weight of accumulated incoherence.

We also wonder how long this story can be ignored by the major media which has been playing a good game of "don't ask, don't tell" with it for almost a week now. They apparently think it would seriously damage Kerry so they don't want to come out with it until Kerry can cobble together some sort of semi-plausible response. Then the media will run the two together and hope that they can make it look as if Kerry's reply refuted the charges. Thus they'll make the whole matter look like a one day flash-in-the-pan story with no real substance to it. It's dishonest, but it might work.

A good example of the liberal media's adamant aversion to the the pursuit of truth in favor of the pursuit of political victory was Chris Matthews' Hardball show Thursday night. John O'Neill, the author of Unfit For Command was Matthews' guest and Matthews simply wouldn't let O'Neill present the evidence that Kerry's war record is not as distinguished as the senator and the Democrats would have us believe.

Each time O'Neill would try to explain why Kerry's highly touted medals and heroics were something less than meets the eye, Matthews would ask why, then, the Navy awarded them, and why nine or ten of his boatmates supported him. For Matthews, if two groups support you and only one opposes you then that settles the matter. The majority decides what's true.

Matthews' argument was silly. It boiled down to the conviction that the Navy wouldn't have awarded the medals if Kerry didn't deserve them. When O'Neill tried to explain why the Navy did award undeserved medals, Matthews simply replied that Kerry's boatmates support him. When O'Neill tried to show that his supporters are in a small minority, Matthews reverted back to the Navy's citations.

He obfuscated the issue by reciting the awards and what they were for and questioned how O'Neill could claim that these events, such as saving a man's life, didn't happen. He refused to acknowledge that it wasn't the events themselves which O'Neill was challenging but rather the circumstances surrounding the events. To Matthews it was all the same.

The Hardball host also trotted out the canard that the sailors who oppose Kerry weren't on his boat and therefore aren't as qualified to judge him as those who served in closer proximity. This, however, is like arguing that an outfielder is too far removed from the pitcher to be able to judge the pitcher's performance and character. The men who testify against Kerry are men who lived, ate, slept, and worked with him every day. They were eyewitnesses to the events for which Kerry received medals. The fact that they didn't serve on his boat is not significant.

Finally, Matthews took refuge in the absurd claim that whatever the facts of Kerry's service might be, he served in a combat zone and Bush didn't so that makes Kerry a better man than Bush. This sort of reasoning, of course, would also lead us to conclude that Lt. Calley is a better man than virtually anyone who never saw combat.

These kinds of arguments reveal more about the desperation of the Democrats than the weakness of their opponents' testimony. The Democrats can't answer the charges of Unfit For Command other than to employ ad hominem attacks against the motives and character of the witnesses and so their hope is to suppress the information to keep the larger public from finding out that their candidate is not the man he purports to be.