"Kerry may have been nicked some at the margins by all this..." -Boston Globe
Oliphant's column in Sunday's Boston Globe is entitled “Smear by Veterans May Hurt Bush”. Even a Kerriphile would crack up at that idea. After the media disgraced themselves with the attempted burial of the story of Kerry’s Cambodian Christmas, we learn from the ever-sanctimonious Oliphant that our betters in the 4th estate have actually been protecting us from becoming confused by spurious rumors. Discerning voters will either snicker or toss at this dose of pure manure:
Discerning voters will notice that the more reputable organs of the national press have not cast doubt on Kerry's Vietnam service. That is because political attacks on it don't pass the smell test. We are influenced by eyewitnesses, not by people whose stories keep changing or are contradicted by official records. We are used to arguments over things like war records, but the burden of proof is with the accuser and Kerry's accusers cannot shoulder it with the credible evidence required of credible stories.[Jayson Blair and Patricia Smith, please call your office!]
But there's another way in now. Raise some Bush buddy Texas money, create a TV ad, hire a right-wing loony to put together a smear book, and cable TV producers desperate for shouting matches are happy to oblige. The result then gets recycled into the serious press because "questions" have been raised about Kerry's record that couldn't survive a minute under traditional standards.Well, Kerry "may have been nicked some at the margins", but Oli is as accurate as the Black Night in reporting that this is "but a flesh wound".
Kerry may have been nicked some at the margins by all this while he was responding via surrogates the last few weeks. Raising the profile of the smear, as well as confronting it directly and putting it at Bush's door, is overdue in the view of some Democratic Party operatives, a risk in the view of others. My own guess is that the higher the profile of this mess the more it looks like the smear it is, and the more it risks boomeranging on the president.
As happened to O'Neill in 1971, the best counter to him today is the serious press attention that his group fears most.