Pot Calling Kettle Black

November 30, 2004

The Kerry camp and Democrats in general continue to be delusional about the campaign and the election. This piece in NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper reports that a Kerry campaign aide — Marco Trbovich, an United Steelworkers of America employee — said that Dubya “ran the most negative presidential campaign in history, and the media never covered the story. … If you can think of a few positive commercials that you saw, you saw all of them that were there.”

Oh? I see. The Kerryites are blaming Bush for not saying positive things about John Kerry.

Interestingly, President Bush did say positive things about Kerry, which frankly completely mystified me. Remember when he said that Kerry served his nation with honor in Vietnam? This, you will recall, was right when Kerry and his minions were dredging up the non-story for the fifth time about Dubya not completing his National Guard service when in fact he more than completed his requirements.

Trbovich singled out two things the media supposedly covered very poorly:

a Bush ad about Kerry’s health care plan that Trbovich called completely false, and the months-long smear campaign by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which claimed, among other things, that Kerry faked injuries in Vietnam.

According to Trbovich:

The Kerry campaign didn’t act fast enough because it wasn’t cynical enough about the media [to think] that controversy was more important than context.

To the contrary, Mr. Trbovich, the media — from the inception of the Swiftees’ charges, treated them with contempt, disdain and an abundance of skepticism. The New York Times and Washington Post fired up their investigative teams to discredit the Swiftees in any way they could. The conjured up bizarre, laughable connections between the Swiftees and GOP donors to show that Republicans were behind the Swiftee 527, when they were not. Instead of attempting to refute the substance of the Swiftees’ charges, they set out to demonize the Swiftees’ personally, and to throw up red herrings, such as that the Swiftees weren’t on the same boat with Kerry (ignoring that they were in adjacent boats and were eyewitnesses to that which they testified), thereby hoping to impeach their credibility in general so that the specific charges wouldn’t have to be dealt with. Another trick Kerry and the media used to sidestep the substance of the charges was to say that Kerry’s version of the events was corroborated by official Navy records. They didn’t bother to mention that the gravamen of certain of these allegations was precisely that Kerry had manufactured his own false records — records, by the way, that to this day he has still not agreed to release.

The media began chanting the mantra that many of the Swiftees’ charges had been proven to be false, when in fact none that I’m aware of were proven false, beyond some minor, relatively insignificant detail.

Many of John Kerry’s specific claims, on the other hand, were convincingly refuted by the Swiftees. Kerry’s First Purple Heart “injury” was shown to have been a result of a “self-inflicted” wound, which for Chris Matthews’ information does not mean that Kerry deliberately shot himself. If the wound was indeed not a result of enemy fire, then Kerry was not legally eligible for the Purple Heart, which means he should not, at the very least, have received one of his Purple Hearts. If this is the case, then he was not entitled to an early out for having received three of them.

Likewise, Kerry’s shameful claim to have been ordered into Cambodia illegally by the evil Richard Nixon was shown to be palpably false.

More significant than all these things is the fact that John Kerry never did specifically respond to any of the charges factually. While Trbovich claims that Kerry wasn’t cynical enough to respond quickly to the charges, the truth is that he was too cynical to respond to them. That is, he couldn’t respond to them because he had no response. Any further responses he would have given would have certainly resulted in further contradictions and lies.

The dirty secret of this entire campaign is that if the mainstream media had not shielded Kerry from scrutiny concerning the Swiftees’ charges, the Democratic Party would have had to remove him from the ticket. Kerry was so manifestly unfit that if the naked truth of his record had been widely reported by liberal media outlets, he couldn’t have survived as the candidate. And let’s not even get into his defamation of his fellow Vietnam troops with the grossest form of self-promoting, opportunistic lies.

But the biggest joke of this story is the notion that Bush was negative and Kerry, by comparison, wasn’t. As I have written earlier, I’ll never forget the Thursday night of GOP convention week, after President Bush had spoken and Chris Matthews was conducting a panel discussion.

NBC heavyweights Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw were there with Chris and Chris remarked that John Kerry was set to deliver a rebuttal later that night in which he would finally go nuclear against the Bush campaign. Matthews said that Kerry was planning to say that Bush lied to get us into Iraq and that this represented a dramatic shift in his heretofore tame campaign tone. Matthews asked Brokaw if he agreed and the Old Media giant said that the Kerry speech would represent a “seismic shift” in Kerry’s strategy.

I was aghast at what I was watching and hearing. In fact, as I pointed out at the time, Kerry had made these very accusations in his own convention speech way before Dubya, Zell Miller and the boys took Kerry to task. Kerry said that he would restore trust to the White House and that he would never mislead the nation into war again — the very allegations that NBC’s big three said represented a seismic shift in the campaign.

It was a true Twilight Zone experience for me and another reminder that the Old Media creates its own reality and sadly too many people still live in it. In fact, there are still way too many people out there — even some conservatives — who have bought into the repeated propaganda that the Swiftees were Republican hacks making up their charges. Tell that to Steve Gardner, who served on the boat with Kerry and who risked his financial well-being to tell the truth about Kerry’s unfitness and who has paid terrible price — as widely reported in the blogosphere.

The truth is that President Bush conducted a mild campaign. True, he called John Kerry a liberal. True, he and Dick Cheney suggested that America would be safer under their stewardship than Kerry’s. Both statements are true, fair, and completely relevant to the most important issues upon which voters had to decide. The Bush campaign was not only not being unfair to make these statements, but had an obligation to make them. If the president and his VP cannot toot their own horns about the most important issue in the campaign without being accused of going negative, then we’re an insane society and have forfeited any semblance of meaningful democracy. (And, by the way, Kerry and Edwards went around the whole time peddling their version of the same thing, i.e., “We will fight a better, more effective war on terror.”)

Sometimes you just have to wonder what liberals are smoking.