Friday, September 3, 2004

It tolls for thee...

John Kerry and several hundred of his most loyal friends stood midnight vigil at the side of his fading presidential hopes on Thursday night. As we conspire to feel his pain, let us make allowances for such incoherences as this:
The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I'm guess (sic) I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of combat duty.
Though the record clearly shows that Dick Cheney said no such thing, let us not deprive Mr. Kerry this quixotic umbrage, so that he may find sustenance as the darkest hour draws nigh. (Via The Corner)

Update: Well, I was content to note Kerry’s lie about Cheney calling him unfit for command and leave it at that. But now he’s quoted in the New York Times:

Let me tell you in no uncertain terms what makes someone unfit for office and unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead our country. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this country. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care for four years makes you unfit to lead this country.

Letting the Saudi royal family control the price of oil for Americans makes you unfit to lead this country. Handing out billions of dollars in government contracts without a bid to Halliburton while you're still on the payroll makes you unfit lead this country.

That, my friends, is the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney - and that only begins to scratch the surface.
And that, my friends, is the height of hypocrisy. Throughout the campaign Team Kerry has been whining about attacks on their patriotism, but as Mort Kondrake reports, “the only accusations of lacking patriotism have come from Democrats.”
Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.), when he was a candidate, said that Bush's Iraq policy was "anti-patriotic at the core." Last September, Kerry said that Bush "lives out a creed of greed for he and his friends" and that it was "unpatriotic" for Bush's "friends" (i.e., corporate executives) to move jobs offshore. It was a regular staple of retired Gen. Wesley Clark's campaign to say that Bush's policies were "not patriotic."

Howard Dean, when he was a candidate, charged that Ashcroft "is no patriot. He's a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy."
These attacks take Kerry's, and the Democrat's, hypocrisy to a new level, and he needs to be called on it.

With regard to the rest of Kerry's initial charge, Man without Qualities has done some digging into Dick Cheney’s five deferments. It turns out that most of them were nothing more than changes of address.
In sum: Mr. Cheney requested two substantively separate deferments from the draft - both were granted. Senator Kerry also requested two separate deferments from the draft - one of which was granted and one was denied. He then enlisted in the Navy to avoid being drafted.

None of this will interest the media, but that doesn’t matter. The real story is that Kerry is wading in this level of minutiae—directed at the vice president, no less—at this stage of the game. Kerry needs a big issue to turn these numbers around. Deferments and allegations of unfitness aren't that issue. That sound you hear is the frantic scratching of nails on the inside of the coffin as it’s slipped into the grave.

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