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Jewish World Review
June 1, 2006
/ 5 Sivan, 5766
Swiftboating becomes a hate term
As we watch the left of the Democratic Party
pressing its case to return to the top of the heap in American politics, or
at least evade the fate of the dodo, we have ever more evidence validating
an insight on which I stake my reputation as a political seer. To wit:
Partisan politics more often falls under the professional expertise of the
psychiatrist than that of the political scientist. A learned shrink can
often tell us more about a political issue than any other professional, not
excluding a swami or a voodoo priest.
Consider the ongoing controversy over Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry's
military service in the faraway Vietnam War. You doubt that the controversy
is ongoing? Just last Sunday, a front-page story in The New York Times
reported that some of Kerry's supporters during his ill-fated 2004
presidential campaign are endeavoring to prove him a war hero with an
unblemished record of heroism. Their targets are the Swift Boat Veterans for
These Swifties, as they are called, are the Vietnam vets who
claimed that when they served with Kerry they found him to be a
self-aggrandizing, self-indulgent showoff. All insist he exaggerated his
feats of heroism, and some testify that he lied about his wounds and
heroics. Many American voters were persuaded.
Now why is this debate being launched? Any innocent observer who
watched the showboating senator from Massachusetts bungle his 2004
presidential campaign must know that he is today a self-aggrandizing,
self-indulgent showoff. Why would he not have been one as a youth, back in
the late 1960s, when he brought camera equipment into the jungles to film
himself at war?
After an early exit from military service, he proceeded to
follow the fashion of the times and oppose the war, appearing before a
Senate committee in 1971 to accuse the American military of systematically
committing war crimes. Then, just over three decades later, this strange man
chose to make his Vietnam experience a major theme of his presidential
candidacy. This is a matter for a seasoned psychiatrist to explain. To the
rest of us, it appears as egotism at the outer reaches of sanity.
Yet this attack on the Swift Boat Veterans is not contained to
Kerry's supporters. The senator himself has been obsessive about the
Swifties since their ads against him did his campaign so much damage. As
David Holman reported in the May issue of The American Spectator: "A year
and a half after he lost the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry can't
get enough of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. No matter the occasion, he
(Kerry) doesn't miss an opportunity to parade his campaign wounds however
incoherently and obsessively."
Kerry has complained of the "Swift Boat-style Republican attack
ads" in fund-raising appeals on behalf of other candidates. He invoked the
Swifties in opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito.
When asked if he had received contributions from the disgraced Washington
lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Kerry snapped, "That's another of their Swift
Boat-style tactics where they throw up the mud and stick it."
Holman reports that Kerry has resorted to these slurs on the
Swifties in eight other fund-raising appeals. Moreover, in the asylum that
is the Democratic Party's Angry Left, "Swift Boat" has become a verb and an
adjective. The left-wing magazine Mother Jones writes of the Bush
administration "Swiftboating their enemies." Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
admonishes against the dread Republicans' employment of "Swift Boat
tactics." In the Kultursmog's parlance of hate terms, "Swiftboat" is about
to join such terms as McCarthyism and McCarthyite.
Now we read that the campaign against the Swifties is going to
gain momentum. The sorehead Kerry supporters have joined together in a group
called the Patriot Project. It will seek out the Swifties and scrutinize
their complaints against Kerry. It will also support opponents of the war in
Iraq and visit editorial offices to make the case for such veterans as Rep.
John P. Murtha, a Vietnam War vet who now opposes the Iraq War.
All of this sounds like political harassment to me. But as the
shrinks are wont to say, "If it is true for you, it is true for you." For a
certitude, the left wing of the Democratic Party believes that whatever it
believes is true. Kerry believes he would be president today if he had not
been Swiftboated. He has hired a researcher to prove from naval archives
that he was in Cambodia three decades ago for a few hours when the Nixon
administration said he was not supposed to be there.
What does this prove? I think it proves that beyond being a
self-aggrandizing, self-indulgent showoff, this guy is a nut. Yet I leave
all this to the professionals.
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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, Creators Syndicate
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K