August 13, 2004

"I'm John Kerry, and I Have No Platform"

This whole swift boat thing is getting ridiculous. I'll be perfectly honest: I don't really care how well Kerry served in Vietnam. I don't care whether he was in Cambodia. I don't care how he got his Purple Hearts. I'm not interested in the story behind the hat he carries with him. I'm more concerned with his actions after he returned, many of which involved blatant lies and slander, but even that pales in comparison to what should be important: ISSUES.

Kerry will not explain what he believes. I think I've been able to figure out that he supports universal socialized health care, and he did outline a few of his ideas in his acceptance speech, but that's about it. He still hasn't decided whether he agrees with the war in Iraq, and after he said he would've voted to give Bush the authority to use force, despite the fact that we haven't found "stockpiles" of WMD yet, he immediately qualified it by saying that he didn't expect him to actually, you know, ATTACK Saddam. It was just supposed to scare him into submission. What a joke. In any case, I still don't know if he'll keep the troops in Iraq or cut and run, because he seems to be hinting at both.

It's a similar situation with same-sex marriage. As far as I know, he doesn't support actual marriage for same-sex couples, but he might be in favor of civil unions. However, how is he going to handle situations like the one in California? Will he step up and condemn judicial activism, or will he just adopt a laissez-faire attitude to the whole thing? We don't know.

I'm sure you're all familiar with the flip-flopping, so I won't go any deeper into it, but I'm trying to make a point: Kerry is using his Vietnam service to cover up the fact that he has no core beliefs. Think about it. Almost every time someone brings up his defense record, his campaign claims that his patriotism is being questioned. They're also fond of saying that since he defended the country on a swift boat, he can do the same in the White House. I'm sorry, but that's a steaming pile of bullsh*t. It doesn't even make sense when you break it down.

But they don't care. The "Anybody But Bush" crowd will just parrot the talking points, and the "unbiased" media will give them as much support as they need by pointing out Kerry's military service in every single story involving the election. Even stories that are about Bush.

This brings me to the main point of the post: Kerry has backed himself into a corner by basing his entire campaign on Vietnam. Like I said before, he uses his service to dodge any criticism of his voting record, and his fan club is still clinging to the "AWOL/Chickenhawk" slur against President Bush. Yeah, let's ignore the fact that Bush crushed the Taliban, decimated Al Qaeda, and deposed Saddam Hussein. Until he can explain why he didn't want to fight in Vietnam, we can't trust him to defend our freedoms!

Unfortunately for Senator F**k Up, a few members of his little "Band of Brothers" are now coming forward and claiming that Kerry wasn't the hero he claims to be. They say that he lied about much of his service, and he may have put his shipmates in more danger.

"But wait," you say, "The important thing is that he served, and that's not an easy thing to do, so nobody should question his record!"

You know, I'd normally agree with that. In fact, I still believe that we should let Vietnam go so we can worry about the war that we're fighting at this very moment. But Kerry brought this on himself. He chose to run as a war hero rather than a senator, and he couldn't resist his little "reporting for duty" moment at the convention, so as wrong as it seems, I say he should face his critics. I think Charles Krauthammer says it best:

The Democrats next charge that the very idea of attacking the military service of a heroic American is disgraceful. On this there are two points. The "heroic" part is precisely what is at issue here, and the Swift boat veterans who themselves served honorably have some questions about it.

More important, who brought up Kerry's military record in the first place? If Kerry had not made his Vietnam service the very centerpiece of his campaign -- "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty" -- this attack on his record could more justly be deemed scurrilous mudslinging. But if you run as a war hero, your claims of heroism are fair game.

Exactly. As I said earlier, I honestly don't care what Kerry did while he was in Vietnam, and I respect him for his decision to volunteer, but since he's chosen to make it the centerpiece of his entire campaign, he should be willing to address the concerns of the Swift Boat Vets. Fair is fair, you know. Go ahead and talk about Viet F**kin' Nam all you want, but don't smear anyone who questions your service as a right-wing wacko on Karl Rove's payroll. You had a chance to run on the issues, but you chose to be the 'Nam candidate, so deal with it.

I've said it over and over: I really wish Kerry would tell us what he believes and what he plans to do if he wins the election. I don't know about the rest of you, but I haven't sampled the Dubya Kool-Aid. I disagree with a lot of Bush's domestic policies, I'm appalled at how far to the left he's brought the Republican Party, and frankly, the man embarrasses me pretty much every time he speaks. However, he's willing to say what he believes, and I'd prefer to know what I'm voting for, rather than taking a gamble on Kerry's super-secret plan for Iraq. Therefore, Bush is still getting my vote.

In a perfect world, the candidates would run only on the issues. The past would stay in the past unless it was somehow related to their political abilities. For example, senate votes would be fair game, but military service wouldn't. That way, the people could vote the way the founding fathers intended: By choosing the candidate who best represents their beliefs.

Unfortunately, this is the real world, and the real world kinda sucks. In this world, it's apparently fine to use your military service as an indicator of your leadership abilities, but if anyone brings up your voting record, they're questioning your patriotism.

Well, if that's the way it's going to be, bring it on. Let the Swift Boat Vets have their say, and then respond to their criticism with complete, honest answers rather than character assassination. If Vietnam is the most important issue of 2004, the least JFK can do is answer a few questions about what he did over those 4 months.

On the other hand, there's still time for Kerry to tell us what he would do as president. But I'm not getting my hopes up.

Posted by CD on August 13, 2004 06:55 PM
Semi-Intelligent Comments

Great post.

I stole the headline because it was too perfect for a caption contest at Captain's Quarters

I did give you credit though!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at August 13, 2004 09:29 PM

Hey, that's fine with me. Thanks!

Posted by: CD at August 13, 2004 09:33 PM

I'm linking to your post. Smack Down, Bro! You wrote the crap out of that piece. I think his lack of a platform is a strategic decision (I think they've calculated this risk carefully). In my opinion, the DEMS are so united in their disdain and utter hatred for the President that they're putting all their duckets on the potential "electibility" of Kerry. I'm just worried that if he's elected, the left wing of the Democratic party will "expect" him to make good and flush all those moderate whisperings aside. The truth is- his voting record is so far left that I can't believe he can even whisper a thought that's middle-of-the-road.

Posted by: Winston at August 13, 2004 09:48 PM

I was commenting on this problem on another blog a while back. I was hoping the whole Vietnam thing was about diverting attention from Berger-gate. Both Kerry and Bush have blurry stories about their service, and I think the media is partly to blame, but military service seems to be both candidates' weakness. Bush has his AWOL, Kerry has his Christmas in Cambodia. If anything, they should have both quit campaigning in the past a long time ago.

Then the salute and "reporting for duty." How can you report for duty when you haven't been elected yet? The DNC builds up the entire week to watch Kerry campaign on his weakness. Great.

Posted by: Alex at August 13, 2004 10:44 PM

Bush has his AWOL, Kerry has his Christmas in Cambodia. If anything, they should have both quit campaigning in the past a long time ago.

That's just it; Bush doesn't bring up his National Guard service every time he has the chance, but Kerry seems to think that "I was in Vietnam" will get him elected. I think Bush has made the right decision by avoiding Kerry's service entirely and letting him self-destruct.

I still can't figure out how we ended up with Bush and Kerry as the only possible choices, in any case. It's kind of depressing.

Posted by: CD at August 14, 2004 12:03 AM

CD, Help! I just put a new website up and already the liberals are invading! I haven't even submitted the site to any search engines yet so I have no clue how they found it.

Also, can I put a banner for your site up?

Posted by: Rick at August 17, 2004 03:11 PM

John Kerry has an obligation to drop out of the presidential race. Not only that, but he should resign from the US Senate as well. It has become clear now that he has lied for years about his Vietnam record. What is also clear is that his wounds in Vietnam were all self-inflicted. He did this to receive purple hearts which he knew would aid his political career. So, the very foundation of his public life has been one lie after another.

Goodbye Mr. Kerry.

Posted by: Rick at August 21, 2004 02:31 AM

The results are in. We Won!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at August 23, 2004 07:33 AM
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