Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bad August Part 5

Note for Future Politicians:Here's how to handle this issue. Imagine for a second that the record is on your side. Slam dunk this from day one. Kerry waited over a week because the story was on the net rather than on the networks. Mistake. There was a fevered pitch. The SBV book was number two on Amazon.com, Drudge is doing his WORLD EXCLUSIVE siren bit, conservatives are e-mailing the link to the ad to each other at a rate matched only by the silly Jib Jab thing. If you have the facts: go on TV, slam them as trash peddlers, and produce the evidence.The problem, of course, is that Kerry doesn't have all the facts on his side. In fact, one clever aspect of the first SBV ad is that it didn't give Kerry a clear target. The vague charge "kerry is not telling the truth" acted to freeze Kerry in place for a while. He knows he has been exaggerating his stories for years. It seems like exaggerator and stoic silence are the two modes most frequently seen in vets. He is the former. But he can't respond to the charge until he knows what they are calling him out on.Once the charges become clear they must be disposed of. If you don't have the facts, plan two is to deflect the charges terminally. Not: Bush lied. More like: as a young man I spent time in Vietnam including time spent near Cambodia. I believed at the time that we had ventured into Cambodian territory on at least one occasion. If so, it was done as the result of a direct order. It is possible my memory is incorrect. If so, I am sorry for the mistake. Or this one: I served in Vietnam and three times I was wounded and applied for a purple heart. The decision to grant purple hearts was made by others. If I was awarded them incorrectly, I would like to dedicate them to the memory of my fallen band of brothers. Just kill the issue, see.Kerry will kill the issue, I think, in the first debate. Whether by knockout or by subsequently saying: "this has been addressed let's move on" is for the future. But Kerry's actions in August represented the worst of both worlds: ignore an issue you'll have to kill eventually, letting it eat at you all the while.Bad August.

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