Sunday, August 22, 2004

Big Lies for Bush

From the Boston Globe:

Imagine if supporters of Bill Clinton had tried in 1996 to besmirch the military record of his opponent, Bob Dole. After all, Dole was given a Purple Heart for a leg scratch probably caused, according to one biographer, when a hand grenade thrown by one of his own men bounced off a tree. And while the serious injuries Dole sustained later surely came from German fire, did the episode demonstrate heroism on Dole’s part or a reckless move that ended up killing his radioman and endangering the sergeant who dragged Dole off the field?

The truth, according to many accounts, is that Dole fought with exceptional bravery and deserves the nation’s gratitude. No one in 1996 questioned that record. Any such attack on behalf of Clinton, an admitted Vietnam draft dodger, would have been preposterous.

Yet amazingly, something quite similar is happening today as supporters of President Bush attack the Vietnam record of Senator John Kerry.


While a few details and dates of Kerry’s Vietnam record are open to question, most of the accusations are laughable. Kerry’s record of service in Vietnam is clear and, one would think, unassailable. Given the contrast in their Vietnam-era records — Bush even let his pilot’s license lapse while still in the Guard — Bush might be expected to change the subject.

Yet the Kerry opponents, working with funders and political operatives closely linked to Bush personally, are attempting what is known in politics as the big lie — an effort simply to contradict the truth repeatedly.

There’s a good news/bad news aspect to this saga. The good news is that the SBVT story has been blown out of the water, so to speak, and it was exposed long enough before the election that it will – I hope – be completely discredited by November. The bad news is that this gives Karl Rove two more months to come up with something even worse. And don’t think he hasn’t planned for this contingency.