Thursday, November 15, 2012

No More Swiftboats: Keep Kerry in the Senate

Over the past few days there's been a raft of speculation floated by the media that John Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, will be offered a cabinet position, either Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

Here's why that is a very bad idea.

First of all, if he gives up his seat in the senate, what are the chances that it will be picked off by the opportunistic Republican hack and recent loser Scott Brown? Given the closeness of this year's race, I'd say his chances are pretty good. We need to keep the senate in as many Democratic hands as possible, and work to increase that number. Sorry Senator Kerry, I know that you have ambitions beyond the senate, but you need to take one for the team.

Second, we don't need a redux of 2004's  Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Swiftboat Liars for Bush. I was a member of the Washington State Veterans for Kerry Steering Committee in 2004, with a front row seat to the show, and I don't want to go through that again.

The Swift Boat group, you may recall, was an astroturf organization which had at its head a guy named John O'Neill, who had apparently been carrying a hardon against Kerry since that time years ago that Kerry made him look like a fool on national television (Dick Cavett Show in 1971).

The fact that the video of Kerry testifying to Congress seemed to show that he had been involved in war crimes -- not so, he was speaking for veterans who had claimed that they had, reading from their testimony at the infamous Winter Soldier Investigation, and while it later appeared that some of them had not been truthful, Kerry had no way of knowing that in 1970, but act contributed to the perceived need to "get" Kerry with O'Neill and with some of the brass who had been above Kerry.

Combine that personal vendetta with a virtually unlimited amount of money to create a controversy where there wasn't one, and Kerry's apparently inability or unwillingness to fight that. I've personally met Kerry several times and one time I asked him about the whole Swiftboating episode; he said that it was one of the big regrets of the 2004 campaign that he didn't fight back immediately against the them, but he said that he didn't think that the voters would give any credence to their -- what seemed to reasonable people -- outrageous lies. Turns out he wasn't right about that...

When you drill down deep enough into the whole Swift Boat thing, you find that, although they were able to get a bunch of Navy Vietnam vets on board with their slander, the closer to Kerry you got, the fewer people you could find who were willing to join the Swifties. The men on Kerry's boat, who presumably knew him the best, almost to a man joined with Kerry and worked on the campaign. I also met several of these guys and they were effusive in their praise of their former commander. They were certainly under no compulsion to do that, and to a veteran like me, it means a lot that the men under his command were so supportive of him.

A Very Big Deal was made about Kerry's medals as well, but it must be kept in mind that a soldier can't just give himself a medal, and especially not one as prestigious as a Silver Star. There is a process of  nomination and approval that includes several layers above the rank of the recipient, and those people are career military who can't be "bought". With a Silver Star, it goes all the way to the Pentagon. In the Navy that was especially true, as verified by one of my closest friends who is a retired Navy Captain (the equivalent of a bird colonel in the Army) and is also a Vietnam vet.

So no, I don't want to refight that whole Swiftboat thing again. I lost a couple of "friends" last time around when they loudly proclaimed that Kerry didn't deserve his medals. Neither of them had been in the military service, of course, and I may have been a little too ... insistent ... in telling them that they were full of shit.


Grung_e_Gene said...

Oh, the Repukilcans have no qualms about smearing Veterans. After all so few modern Republicons have ever served.

Dick Cheney 5 deferments

Dick Armey - most inappropriately named congressman ever, voted Aye for the 2002 Authorization of Force, voted Nay on the Oath of Enlistment.

John Ashcroft - 6 Vietnam Deferments, that even surpasses Dick Cheney!

John Bolton - "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy"

Liz Cheney - shouldn't she be anti-war? It's the whole reason she even exists as Liz managed to keep her father out of Vietnam.

Jim DeMint - he's a Republican of course he didn't serve.

Newt Gingrich - Three Divorces = Three Purple Hearts in Conservative Wisdom.

Tim Pawlenty - a typical Republican Kleptocrat, Pawlenty has been in Government since 1988, 22 years without a real job. Hey Tim! The Government doesn't create jobs!

Mike Pence - even though nothing was going on in the late 1970's when he turned 18, still declined to serve.

Mitt Romney - I hear that during the Vietnam war the french peppered Mormon missionaries with baguettes daily. It was hairy. His 5 Sons inherited his Cowardice and never served either.

Marco Rubio - could've served in the Gulf War, choose to go into politics as soon as he was done with law school. Isn't the lack of military service and being a DC Lawyer what the Right claims is wrong with Democrats?

Rick Santorum - must have been adopted because his Father worked as a Doctor in the VA hospital system in the 70's, tough work with so many wounded vets. Rick didn't inherit any of his father's desire to have a real job.

I could continue with Paul Ryan, Tom Delay and so forth but what's the point?

the yellow fringe said...

I agree, I wish the Prez would keep his hands off the Senators, as it is there are only a couple extra when it comes to voting, he's going to need every one, due to age you could lose one any time, why take one out yourself? The GOP already is sending out a video email for mid-term election fund raising. They want to raise money and fund 20 teams to follow all 20 dems up for election then. Follow them to every event to every town hall, to the restaurants, to their kids schools, to holler and boo and ask insane questions and try to appear there is a groundswell against them.

Sarge said...

I agree with the Fringe - why risk a Senate seat? My pick - H Norman Swartzkoph.


charliebickle69 said...

Good points and analysis. I would not choose Kerry or any currently elected individual. Colin and Norman both know how to open a big can of "woop ass" and manage it correctly, however they are retired generals. This could take away from the concept of civilian control of military. President Obama needs a good manager in that job, not a warrior or politician.

Anonymous said...

He's choosing the wrong Kerry. Leave John Kerry in the Senate or out on the porch, wherever is convenient. BOB Kerry is a good choice for just about any office, in my opinion.

Jay in N.C.