August 11, 2004


Cheney Says Kerry Lacks Deep Convictions (LAURA MECKLER, 8/11/04, Associated Press)

Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that Democratic Sen. John Kerry lacks "deeply held convictions about right and wrong" as he argued that voters would make a grave mistake if they replaced the current commander in chief.

Campaigning for the Bush-Cheney ticket in this swing state, the vice president opened the session with some of his harshest criticism of Kerry, saying he wouldn't trust the four-term lawmaker to make decisions about going to war.

"We don't want to turn that responsibility over to somebody who doesn't have deeply held convictions about right and wrong," Cheney said. "And I must say, I look at the record of our opponents. There is a lot of hesitation and uncertainty."

In fairness to the Senator, several crewmates say he had his convictions shot off in Cambodia.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 11, 2004 6:22 PM

"his convictions shot off "

OH, so that was what the "searing" was about..

Poor guy, but you know we need a guy with two "convictions".

Posted by: h-man at August 11, 2004 7:57 PM

Kerry's Significant Conviction

It is repeatedly said that John Kerry CHOSE to go to Vietnam(re his "right and wrong.") His choice needs reflection.

Michael Kranish wrote a seven-part biographical series in the Boston Globe in June, 2003. It claims that John Kerry mentioned, on multiple occasions, that he aspired to running for president someday; this occurred prior to his graduation from Yale. In addition, he had personally met John Fitzgerald Kennedy at least twice while JFK was President. Kerry was quite familiar with the PT-109 story.

It's reported that Kerry was among an especially close group of four Skull & Bones members who went to Vietnam.

One can speculate that John Kerry saw the need to have a war record as part of a strong future in politics, and medals are special elements of such a war record. Probably one reason that John Forbes Kerry CHOSE to go to Vietnam was to develop this significant resumé. Kerry CHOSE to serve his country, and he CHOSE to serve his career aspirations. Kerry probably had deeply held convictions about becoming President. One can correspondingly speculate that his cautionary Senatorial career may have been as deliberately delevoped as was his combat career. Such may be central elements in his framework of right and wrong.

Posted by: LarryH at August 11, 2004 9:30 PM

"It's hugely funny to watch Kerry's allies try to smear John O'Neill as a "career Kerry hater" for speaking out in opposition to his antiwar spiel in 1972, while simultaneously faulting other SwiftVets for waiting until Kerry is on the cusp of the Presidency for doing so."

Look, this is not a legal proceeding, its politics. There is no statute of limitations. Its not a wedding ceremony, there is no speak now or forever hold your peace.

Kerry made his 4 months in Vietnam the centerpiece of the convention, glossed over his participation in VVAW and ignored 20 years in the US Senate. This was done deliberately so he could run to the middle. I saw an ad tonight clipping his acceptance speech with guff about a strong military and strong alliances with France. The real issue is what is the real John Kerry? Was the convention John Kerry, the real John Kerry?

My own take on the convention is that the whole thing was phony as a three dollar bill. If the convention had reflected what was really on the delegates minds, they would have demanded immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, termination of American aid to Israel, war crimes trials for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and reparations.

But what about Kerry? what is the real Kerry? did the convention reflect the real John Kerry? or is the real John Kerry the guy who was the VVAW mouthpiece, who threw somebody's medals or ribbons over the fence and who in a twenty year Senate career has earned highest marks from the ADA while accomplishing almost nothing?

I think most republicans would like to run against the hard core leftist. But I don't think it's that simple.

I think the real John Kerry is nothing. He is hollow on the inside. He has no core. He has only ambition. He marries for money and social status. He adopts politics for temporary advantage. The accident of his initials gave shape to his military career (thus the choice of the Navy, volunteer for the swift boat, buy the movie camera) and his route to the senate. When he got back from Viet Nam the wind was blowing out of the other quarter. Easy, join VVAW, throw medals (not your own they might come in handy later) go back to Massachusetts and do what ever Teddy Kennedy does.

Look at the way he handled the primaries. Dean picks momentum as the "anti-war candidate." Kerry, who had said it would be wildly irresponsible to vote against the Iraq funding bill, votes against it to cut Dean off. This leads to mocking commercials by the Republicans.

Why are the Swift Boat guys after Kerry. You may if you wish impugn their motives or you can pull Karl Rove out of the magician's hat, or you can claim Bush put them up to it (on those days when you don't think he is too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time). My guess, and I don't know any of them, is that they are angry, they are angry at John Kerry because they believe that he is a user who used them, they are angry at the media who defamed then in the 1970's, they are angry at the liberals who have indicted them as war criminals and baby killers (based in part on John Kerry's testimony) and convicted them without ever giving them a chance to defend themselves; and this anger has festered with compound interest for a generation. They see their fathers lionized as the greatest generation, their children sent to Iraq with respect and the first member of their generation to be lauded is the one who betrayed them. Lord that must hurt.

If I were in their shoes, I would write a book if I had to do it longhand, and I would make sure the word got out if had to stand on street corners and shout. If I went to Rove and he sent me to some guy in Texas with money and a publishing house in NYC so much the better. But my guess is that the CREP has had minimal contact with this.

Even worse from Kerry's viewpoint, ad hominum attacks will be seen as confession and avoidance. They will only increase the rpm on his personal drill bit. The one that will auger him in. He is already doing it. Check his response on what would you have done in Iraq. He might have invaded. He would have asked for the resolution authorizing force but he might not have used it.

Kerry's problem with the Swift Boat book is not that it will make him out to be a liar or a coward. But that it will make him out to be what he is, a hollow man.

Last spring I sent the following into a contest for a Kerry motto:

> Its worse than I thought. I quit reading MoDo a couple of years ago after Bush Derangement Syndrome crippled her. But (Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan) Sunday's column contains a gem of a quote:
> It's not often that you get a presidential candidate to recite poetry to you, especially in a year when W. and J.F.K. are going macho a macho.
> But there was Mr. Kerry flying from Boston to New Orleans on Friday, sipping tea for his hoarse throat and reeling off T. S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
> "There are so many great lines in it," he said. " `Do I dare to eat a peach?' `Should I wear my trousers rolled?' `Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets/The muttering retreats/Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels/And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells."
> Then he started on "Gunga Din" and " 'talk o' gin and beer.'"
> I am prediciting mass suicides by Kerry campaign staffers and press embeds.
> Do I dare
> Disturb the universe?
> In a minute there is time
> For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
> For I have known them all already, known them all:—
> Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
> I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
> I know the voices dying with a dying fall
> Beneath the music from a farther room.
> So how should I presume?

One of my friend's suggested that another Elliot poem would be more appropriate:

The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz -- he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Of course the literary connection runs deeper than that. the rubric of the poem is from Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which Coppola filmed as Apocalypse Now, which Kerry has worked into his narrative as his secret mission up the Mekong.

The Swift Boat vets are laying him bare, not as a liar, not as a coward but as a hollow man.

Mistah Kerry - - he dead.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 12, 2004 1:48 AM

Charging that O'Neill was sent by Nixon is just another way to say that O'Neill has been consistent for 30 years.

Whereas, Kerry's been all over the map--literally.

Posted by: Noel at August 12, 2004 3:29 AM