Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Off the Table?

Drudge alludes to the idea that Kerry's campaign wants to get Vietnam off the table. Can't imagine why, personally. I always thought ANY publicity was (ultimately) good publicity for a public figure.

Still, it has been widely discussed elseblog that Kerry brought it on himself by loudly trumpeting his Vietnam service as one of his primary qualifications to be President and Commander in Chief. Patently ludicrous, then, is the idea that once having done so, he can now indignantly demand to put it all back in the bag and make it go away.

This is where the fantasy worlds that politicians create for themselves collapse into a black hole. They all suffer from it: Even Bush naively assumed that signing the campaign finance rules into law would somehow make 527s go away. Or so he says.

Let's assume, for a moment, that Kerry is successful and actually gets Bush to come right out and tell the Swifties to "cease and desist." He can even say it with a scowl on his face, for effect. He can even throw his hands up and say, "Gee, and it looks like some of my biggest financial backers are also backing the Swifties! Waddayaknow 'bout that!"

Would it make any difference?

No, it wouldn't. The Swifties are driven not by money (at least, not primarily), but rather by a sincere desire to keep Kerry from taking control of the greatest military force on the planet and reducing it to a mumbling shadow of itself. Better still, the Swifties aren't alone.

This is the largest piece of the puzzle that Kerry has yet to comprehend. Or, more likely, yet to acknowledge publicly.

The fact is that now that the story is out, and the facts have been laid bare by so many bloggers, columnists, and pundits on both sides of the debate, there is no possible way that closing your eyes and asking it to go away will be effective. It would be like whacking a hive full of africanized bees with a stick and then pleading with them not to sting you. It won't really do anything for you, and would only make the bees madder. Bottom line: You'll get stung.

So it is with Kerry. No matter what spin he may choose to put on the issue, the issue is out, and will remain out through the election and (probably) beyond. Ask Clinton if anyone still remembers the phrase "I did not have sexual relations with..."

Thanks to the blogosphere, Kerry's missteps will be passed right along; quoted, requoted, linked and relinked, right up to election day. At least. So, unless Kerry really wants to take on the entire conservative portion of the internet, there is no realistic way he can possibly expect this issue to die.

Maybe he can get Bush to drop it officially. I doubt it, but it's possible. But there's no way he can get the rest of us to drop it, except at his feet.

Where it belongs.

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