Jewish World Review August 16, 2004 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5764
Proven Kerry lie takes page from Gore play book
When news broke in the New Hampshire Sunday News that John Kerry made up the story of Mary Ann Knowles having to work through her chemotherapy for fear of losing her health insurance, deja vu bells went off.
Knowles, the New Hampshire resident and campaign volunteer he cited in his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech and used as justification for his health care plan, didn't work through chemo because of an insurance problem. She kept working because her salary would have been reduced if she had gone on disability a weighty prospect, to be sure. But, her husband told the newspaper, "Her coverage is very good. . . It's not something that is a problem with her employer."
The newspaper asked Kerry campaign adviser Judy Reardon if she had confirmed the details of the Knowles' story, and she replied, "When a woman has a mastectomy and goes through therapy, I don't need to double-check on her." What a blow-off.
And what deja vu. Hadn't we been here before? The Democratic Presidential candidate calling the nation's attention to a particular American with health problems, twisting the facts, making up a few new ones, using this myth to propel his own policy proposals, and then blowing off the lie once it's discovered?
It's deja vu because John Kerry is slowly becoming the reincarnation of Al Gore.
In 2000, Al Gore pulled this very same stunt in Florida. With his well-established willful disregard for truth, Gore claimed that his mother-in-law was paying more for Lodine, a prescription arthritis drug, than he was for his dog's Lodine prescription. That fact, he claimed, justified his $253 billion drug plan.
But as The Boston Globe and Washington Times discovered, Gore fabricated the cost of the drug, had no idea whether his mother-in-law paid for it out of pocket or whether her insurance covered it, and made up the dosages so the comparative costs looked ridiculous.
When confronted with Gore's fictitious account, Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera responded, "The only one who's inventing facts here are the Bush campaign. The facts are that Miss Aitcheson is prescribed Lodine." What arrogance. Did Judy Reardon study at the feet of Jano Cabrera?
Health care reform is a very serious often life or death topic in American politics. You'd think Gore and Kerry would prefer not to cheapen the plights of real Americans facing health care dilemmas by inserting lies into real-life stories for dramatic effect, and moreover, for their own political gain.
Their campaigns' responses seem to be "the end justifies the means" if the "story" is powerful enough to effect change, then it's all for the good. Would they apply the same principle to President Bush's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?
Leaving the topic of health care aside, Gore's "so what" attitude contributed to the perception that he was a phony. That is another quality Kerry seems to be mimicking. The more we find out about Kerry's exaggerated claims of service in Vietnam, such as "spending Christmas in Cambodia," (an event his military colleagues deny happened, and an event he decided not to include in his recent autobiography), the more we're reminded of Al Gore's inflated sense of self-importance in Vietnam.
While most servicemen spent 12 months in Vietnam, Gore spent only five, posing for pictures in neatly-pressed fatigues with an M-16 even though he was a journalist for Stars and Stripes. Kerry, who saw real combat, nonetheless recreated scenes of himself to be recorded by an 8 mm camera and left Vietnam as soon as he got his medals.
He then returned home to testify against the war and publicly throw his "medals" away and the veracity of both those actions remains in question. An air of phoniness, self-serving arrogance and downright dishonesty pervades both this Democratic presidential campaign and the previous one.
And that is why we're having deja vu.
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© 2004, Bernadette Malone