Nearly as quickly as the news broke that self-proclaimed war hero and failed presidential aspirant John Kerry was endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, my phone rang and a veteran friend was on the other end laughing uncontrollably.
"Did you hear? Nail the coffin shut on Obama! Hillary must be dancing in the streets!"
My sentiments exactly.
Not only was it a horrible political blunder overall, by attaching all the baggage that Kerry carried into the 2004 election to his own, but Obama announced Kerry's endorsement as he campaigned in South Carolina - a state that has a huge veteran population! Didn't anyone in Obama's camp pick up on the vets turning their back on Kerry at the VFW convention in 2004?
Didn't anyone remember Kerry's despicable statement before a college audience when he equated a lack of education with a one-way ticket to the military and Iraq? Didn't anyone in Obama's circle of advisers pay attention to the eruption of disdain for Kerry, even from Democrats?
Well, start paying attention now, because your bread has been buttered, your bed is made, and all you can do is try to spin it.
Simply put, next to Hanoi-Jane Fonda, John Kerry is the single most reviled icon of the Vietnam anti-war generation. He fabricated his own war record, he lied about American troops, he sided with and met with the communists we were fighting and he is complicit in the deaths of millions of Southeast Asians who were slaughtered when the US Congress stood idly by and allowed the communists to take over South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
To accept an endorsement from Kerry is political suicide. To do it in a state with both a large active duty military and veteran population is to spit in the face of everyone who is serving or has served.
It is one thing to say you oppose the war in Iraq. It is entirely another to side with an America-hating, pseudo-elitist collaborator.
It is true that Hillary Clinton has a reputation for also showing complete disdain for the military. But in this case, since Kerry obviously has spit in her face too, she can make hay out of this if so inclined.
We could argue and speculate forever on whether Kerry's endorsement is a set up, orchestrated by the Clinton camp to undermine Obama's campaign. Could be, who knows? What we do know is that Obama publicly accepted Kerry's endorsement at a rally in South Carolina, where the spin machine is going to have to work non-stop to find a way to put a good face on this debacle.
Meanwhile there couldn't possibly be a better time for the Republican field to display its pro-military position. Not every candidate has served, but it is not necessary to have served in the military to be elected president. It is necessary to support the military and our nation's veterans, as well as to truly understand the vicious nature of the enemy we are fighting.
The Democrats have separated themselves from the military community and national defense with such fervor that I doubt it is possible to undo the damage they have inflicted on their own party over the past five years.
Democrats have disparaged our troops - remember Murtha and the Haditha Marines - have tried to stop funding the armed forces, have called for retreat and surrender in a war we are winning - remember Vietnam - and called the commander of the incredibly successful offensive dubbed The Surge, a traitor.
If I was a Republican presidential candidate and I had a veteran-related issue on my agenda I would use this focus on the military to bring it out for discussion. America keeps winning the wars while manipulators and collaborators like Kerry work to weaken our country and disparage those who served.
There couldn't be a better time to show the difference between the two positions and elaborate on support for the vets.
And don't give me that Swift Boat crapola either. Texas businessman T. Boone Pickens offered last year to give Kerry's favorite charity $1 million if Kerry could prove that the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth lied about him at any time in the 2004 campaign. Kerry claimed he would do so, in a response he immediately made available to the media, but the deadline quietly slipped by with no evidence of alleged Swift Boat "lies" forthcoming.
The media missed that little milestone, but the veteran community didn't.
The Swift Boat vets were right in their statements and their positions. In the period following his defeat in the 2004 presidential race, Kerry has shown that they were right in deciding to expose his real intents and beliefs.
Some news outlets were using the term "major endorsement" early Wednesday to describe Kerry's support for Obama.
Major may be accurate, but it should be followed by "blunder."
Thursday, January 10, 2008