Monday, February 27, 2006

Mehlman calls swiftboaters heroes...

The Drudge Report has an article where RNC chairman Ken Mehlman defends the swiftboating of John Kerry in the 2004 election:
For the first time, Mehlman is now defending the Swift Boat veterans,


“No one’s taking away his service,” he emphasized. “The question was his judgment when he came back.”


He contrasted Kerry unfavorably with former Sen. Bob Dole, Kansas Republican, who was severely wounded in World War II, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Here we have the leader of the Republican party just out and out supporting a group who told lie upon lie about John Kerry's service in Vietnam. And please do not buy the line that this was not about Kerry's wartime service but rather the anti-war movement he supported when he got back. Check out this article on that destroys the swiftboaters accusations:
A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.
But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.
The swiftboat campaign was demonstrated time and again to be promulgating flat out lies. Yet now Mehlman thinks they should be defended, and has the unmitigated gall to invoke the names of Bob Dole and John McCain in doing so. These examples are indeed very instructive.

You see, when Bob Dole opposed Bill Clinton in the 96 election, there was nary a whisper of nefarious activity on the part of candidate Dole to get his hand mangled. No commercials by WWII figures decrying his medals. Quite simply Democrats are not interested in smearing war heroes, and Bob Doles record was treated with the honor that it was and is due.

What is really quite odd is Mehlman invoking senator McCain in this context. Because the Rove campaign machine saw to it that candidate McCain was swiftboated (before that term even had any meaning) in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary. Bartcop has an excellent article which offers the details of this smear campaign.
“Some of George W. Bush's supporters have questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain's fitness for the White House, suggesting that his five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam drove him insane at the time.”


In 2000, McCain operatives in SC accused Rove of spreading rumors against McCain, such as “suggestions that McCain had committed treason while a prisoner of war, and had fathered a child by a black prostitute,” according to the New Yorker.


Bush Used Fringe Veterans Group to Attack McCain as “Manchurian Candidate.”
“In the case of Ted Sampley, the same guy who did Bush's dirty work in going after Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries is doing the job against Kerry this year. Sampley dared compare McCain, who spent five years as a Vietnam POW, with ‘the Manchurian Candidate.’”

Sampley Called McCain a “Coward” and a Traitor.
“Sampley… accused McCain of being a weak-minded coward who had escaped death by collaborating with the enemy. Sampley claimed that McCain had first been compromised by the Vietnamese, then recruited by the Soviets.”
How absolutely appropriate it is for Mehlman to bring up McCain in this context, but how Orwellian of him to make it sound like McCains service is beyond reproach in this context.

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