Double standard: Beat up on Bush, but Kerry is off-limts
The American public has been witnessing intriguing, even baffling, laments over “attack” ads and verbal comments against political candidates.
Interestingly, the concerns have reached a fevered pitch only in recent days.
For months, and especially during the Democratic National Convention, there have been daily and nightly vitriolic assaults on President George W. Bush and those around him.
The national media were obsessed with, among other things, the president’s National Guard service — despite the fact that he had released all his available records for public inspection.
Relentlessly, Bush was denigrated as a dunce, a liar, a man who looked the other way and allowed the 9/11 attacks and who deliberately misrepresented intelligence data to send American men and women to war for his own political advantage.
Never in the history of this
country — even in the days of Sen. Joe McCarthy — have there been more outrageous, unbridled and unfounded attacks on a national leader.
Yet, there were no complaints or real challenges from the national media or from national, state and local party leaders.
At the Democratic National Convention, Sen. John Kerry stepped forth “Reporting for Duty” with a salute. Much of the convention focus was on his military service, especially his less than four months in the Vietnam theater where he picked up three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and — for the first and only time in American military history — a Silver Star with a “Combat V” for valor.
(In fact, there are no provisions for a Combat V in the Silver Star criteria.)
Despite the attacks on President Bush, there were few responses from Republicans and none from the president.
But then some others — notably Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — fired back. Among them was an admiral who in a lifetime of service earned even a few more medals than John Kerry did in 3½ months.
They challenged justification of some of the medals, especially one for an “unintentional self-inflicted” wound Kerry’s camp subsequently admitted.
And the veterans’ group has been particularly critical of Kerry’s subsequent comments as a witness before Congress about rapes, mutilation and indiscriminate murder of Vietnamese civilians — women and children — by American servicemen in Vietnam while he was there.
In one of the “attack” commercials, a former POW said Kerry had made to Congress these false allegations he and fellow POWs had refused to make despite enduring years of torture at the hands of North Vietnamese interrogators.
All of a sudden, the Democratic leadership and many in the national media have gone into apoplexy over “attacks” on John Kerry.
Abruptly, they have demanded that the focus be on the economy, the loss of jobs, the president’s ineptitude. And they have begun insisting that the Swift Boat critics of Kerry be silenced.
Kerry earlier had challenged anyone who questioned his record in Vietnam to “bring it on.”
The American voters should do just that —including not only his active duty service, whichhe emphasized, but also his accusations against fellow Vietnam veterans, and his voting record as a member of the U.S. Senate — especially on the Senate Intelligence Committee and his abysmal record of attendance there when the nation was in grave peril.
Published in Editorials on September 7, 2004 11:57 AM