Kerry Defends Democrat From Attacks on Military Service

John Kerry may or may not ultimately decide to run for President in 2008, but if he does he is showing how he would do things differently next time. The Boston Globe contrasts Kerry’s response to the Swift Boat Liars (perhaps downplaying the responses which Kerry did make in 2004) with his response to Democrats currently being Swift Boated:

The military record of a Democratic House candidate was under attack. So, Senator John F. Kerry ventured to the Philadelphia suburbs last week to defend Patrick Murphy — and deliver the kind of speech the senator never quite gave when his own wartime service was called into question in 2004.

“Attacking Patrick Murphy for his service is a little bit like Jessica Simpson attacking Albert Einstein’s IQ,” the Massachusetts Democrat proclaimed Thursday at a chilly outdoor rally at Bucks County Community College.

“A lot of these people in the GOP, the Republican Party — they think somehow that they served because they played with GI dolls when they were little,” Kerry said. “The guys who really served understand what it means, and we’ve had enough of these lies.”

Many Democrats remain angry with Kerry over his failure to more aggressively combat Republican smears in 2004. Efforts to tar Kerry generated a new term for political hatchet-jobs — “swift-boating” — and Kerry’s slow response to the attacks ranks alongside his muddled position on the war in Iraq on Democrats’ list of complaints about the campaign.

Now, Kerry is making it a personal mission to defend veterans running as Democrats in this year’s congressional elections from Republican attacks. Should he run for president again in 2008, his efforts on behalf of veterans could leave him with a corps of fiercely loyal supporters in Congress, and could help erase memories of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” attacks that he acknowledges he let stand for too long.

Kerry has done an excellent job of demonstrating that he has learned from the 2004 campaign and would make an excellent candidate in 2008.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    KerryDemocrat says:

    There is no doubt that some of the election day shenanigans in Ohio, along with Kerry’s slow reponse to being swiftboated cost him the Presidency in 2004.

    I understood why he chose not to respond quickly, but sadly too many American voters did not and made a very bad leap..”If Kerry won’t stand up to these swiftboating douchebags, then how is he going to stand up to Bin Laden, etc…”

    I am certain that everytime this Administration has put forth a failed policy, acted incorrectly or failed to act when needed, John Kerry must have been kicking himself quietly.

    However, it is very refreshing to see everything that John Kerry is doing for Democrats to get elected today. Sucking it up and moving forward is an incredible trait and what JK has brought to this Party is invaluable.

    Should he run for President again, he certainly will face an uphill battle, but he would also have my support.

  2. 2
    battlebob says:

    I was one of those who criticized Kerry in 2004 using the logic of…if you cannot defend yourself, how can you defend our country…
    I did not know there were good reasons why he could not as the campaign coffers were dry until after the Repub convention.
    Kerry admitted after the election that his response was wrong. He has assured all his response will be very strong when the military service of all veterans is attacked.
    He figured out that a gentlemanly and measured response to his attackers only makes the attacks worse. I used to think this was unfortunate as it turns campaigns into nothing more then WWF matches.
    However, if that is the way Repubs want to fight then bring it on.
    I live in Amwayville and there is a lot of anti-Devoss sentiment here. They understand what a shallow dog he is. The hope is DeVoss does worse elsewhere to counteract his votes here.
    I see more Granholm and Stabenow signs then DeVoss and Bouchard signs and we are just a few miles from the Alticore headquarters and live in the middle of the Midwest Bible belt.
    I know a lot of Repubs who are crossing over the Dems.
    I put my Granholm , Stabenow and deLand signs in the yard. As we live in a heavy Repub area, there were Repub signs everywhere. My neighbors complained but I ignored them until the homeowners association complained. All political signs were removed. Hildenbrand’s (Right wingnut House Repub incumbent running against deLand) cousin lives in the area along with the Repub precint chairman and they were really angry about having to take their signs down. I put it too them simply; if mine goes, yours go. They moved them up near their homes but they were still visible…too bad… our area is sign free.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    There were many reasons why the campaign thought in August that it was best to delay responding:

    Kerry was on his domestic policy tour and they didn’t want to distract from laying out Kerry’s domestic agenda. (Obviously this didn’t work).

    Funds were low due to the GOP convention being later and therefore receiving their matching funds to cover a shorter period. The campaign had hoped the 527’s would do more, but were legally prohibited from coordinating with them.

    The Swift Boat Liars came out with the exact same attacks it the spring, and in the spring they did no harm. The did not anticipate the harm they would cause when repeated in August.

    Often denying an attack leads to more coverage of the attack. People hearing a denial often remember the attack but not the rebuttal. This was especially significant here as the Swift Boat lies started out as a very small ad. The claims were then picked up by Fox News, and later by the mainstream media. At each point there was the question of whether responding would result in giving the lies greater coverage.

    Although it is clear in retrospect that Kerry should have responded earlier, there were valid reasons for them to take the course which they did. Kerry’s responses are often underestimated, as Kerry did speak out the following week. I’ve also seen claims that Kerry did not respond because he was on vacation wind surfing,when actually he was on his domestic policy tour.

  4. 4
    KerryDemocrat says:

    Yes, all very unfortunate, and I knew about the reasons that Kerry did not respond. There was one more, and that is that John Kerry felt that those who had served had earned the right to speak their minds, even if it was garbage. This was totally lost on the public, but during those days, everything was crazy and it is certainly easy to Monday morning quarterback.

    I am just happy to see that Kerry has taken this one by the balls.

  5. 5
    kj says:

    KD, agreed.

  6. 6
    Lou says:

    If there was one thing I learned about JK, it was that he learned from his experiences. In an active way, he constantly set out to learn and improve. Stark difference from the neo-con-artists.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Look who’s here today. Feels like the old Kerry ’04 blog.

  8. 8
    battlebob says:

    In retrospect, I was totally off-base about Kerry and his response to the smearvets. Where we were living, there was no response ever given. After the Dem party pulled out of Az, the Repubs soon followed and political news and ads disappeared.
    It was not until after the election that an explanation of JK’s response showed up in Newsweek.
    That is old news and irrelevant because Kerry is leaving no doubt about what his tactics are now. Everywhere Dems need a push, Kerry shows up. The more Bush plays the fear card, the more people he turns off. People have quit listening to Repubs. It is as if the mute button goes on whenever a Repub starts talking.

    My neighbors are 100% multi-generation Repubs. Their parents all voted for Ike and they never looked back. Their daughter married a Marine (they were married in our backyard) who is being deployed to Iraq for the second time (he was already in Afgan once). They are devout Catholic (anti-abortion, anti G&L, anti-immigrant) but the light went on about the Repub policies after the wedding. They finally understand what being a Repub Conservative really means. There is nothing like a reformed drunk and nothing like a reformed Repub. They are now helping me make calls urging votes for straight Dem tickets. We are a quite a bit older and it is almost as if we adopted them and are watching our kids flourish.

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