May 05, 2004


"I was on Mr. Kerry's boat in Vietnam," writes John O’Neill. "He doesn't deserve to be commander in chief."

Other 'Nam vets are similarly critical. Meanwhile David Brooks thinks Kerry is on the correct path:

John Kerry is doing exactly what he should be doing right now. He is in a post-primary molting season. He's emerging from the shadow of Howard Dean and becoming more like the policy twin of Joe Lieberman: a pro-trade, fiscally conservative centrist Democrat who is willing to pour more troops into Iraq to win the war.

Even liberals know liberalism doesn't win general elections; that's why they decided not to nominate Dean in the first place. So Kerry is absolutely correct to take some time off, retool the message and play the quadrennial game that smart nominees play: Shaft the Left.

Problem is, unlike most previous campaigns, the Internet will endlessly remind voters of Kerry’s opportunistic pre-nomination Shafted by the Left messages. And every time Kerry re-tools, it’ll just play to Republican designs that cast him as the King of Flip.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 5, 2004 02:39 AM

ah, but the truth is now out in the open: he's just a tool.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at May 5, 2004 at 02:51 AM

This strategy could generate several thousand votes for Nader once again.

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at May 5, 2004 at 03:12 AM

Absolutely right, Tim! The internet, and most especially the web, has made a huge difference over the past two or three years. When Paul Krugman fabricates a fact in the New York Times, it's all over the web by the time I'm at work here in California. When John Kerry claims that he never said that he threw his medals over the fence, somebody finds footage where he said exactly that, and millions of us know within a day. Thanks to the web, and a few dozen bloggers like you, the stranglehold of publications like The New York Times, Time, etc., has been broken.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at May 5, 2004 at 03:52 AM

"I was on Mr. Kerry's boat in Vietnam"

John Kerry, Vietnam? Who knew?

Posted by: Ross at May 5, 2004 at 04:50 AM

The key element in Kerry's campaign for the political center has been to emphasize War Hero Kerry and his medals. Conservatives respond by focusing on Anti-War Activist Kerry and his claims of atrocities.

Kerry's rebuttal has been: How-Dare-You-Question-My-Patriotism.

Therein lies the problem. War Hero and Anti-War Activist almost cancel each other, and the patriotism dodge does not work well for Kerry. Coming from anyone else, it's arrogant and evasive. But from the mouth of the ever-arrogant and ever-evasive Kerry, it tends to confirm the very thing it denies.

Posted by: lyle at May 5, 2004 at 05:09 AM

Wait- Ross- is that right? Kerry served in Vietnam?


I hear the earth orbits around the SUN too....instead of the other way around...amazing...

Posted by: Tman at May 5, 2004 at 05:31 AM

"I've got a hunch this whole thing might be a case of mistaken identity," Bush said here. "Just because somebody has an accent or a nice suit or a good table in New York City doesn't make them a foreign leader."
go george!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at May 5, 2004 at 07:40 AM

Actually, shouldn't John Kerry be the King of Flop, not Flip?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 5, 2004 at 10:11 AM

Dean came across as more of a one of the people kind of guys. He could get excited. Yeaaaargghhh. Being one of the people I think I'd prefer someone more in touch with average Americans.

Something about both Bush and Kerry strikes me. Maybe it's the attendance in skull and bones. Maybe the wealth they speak of so glibbly as if every American has that much, or even a chance to ever need to hire an accountant.

Don't know about Australia, but the average American will usually agree across partisan lines. "They're all crooks. But....."

Posted by: IXLNXS at May 5, 2004 at 10:17 AM

"One of the people" -- if the people are crazy. Hence IXMBFKSDJXNLX's attraction to Dean. (With a little bit of "at least he looks like he's got some meat on his bones" -- well, this is our resident comment cannibal, right?)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 5, 2004 at 11:16 AM

Dean came across as more of a one of the people kind of guys.

Are you nuts?

Oh... wait. My bad. I forgot.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 11:46 AM

Did anyone see the press conference held by John O'Neill and the other swift boat vets at the national press club today? If these guy get the publicity they deserve, Kerry is finished. There testimony against him is that powerful.

My father served from 66-68 on a river patrol boat. He passed away about ten years ago. He was a lifelong Democrat and he had his own doubts about the war, but there were two names I couldn't mention in my house growing up. One was Jane Fonda and the other was John Kerry. I could never get my father to talk about his experience in Vietnam but now at least I know why he hated John Kerry.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at May 5, 2004 at 12:40 PM

good opening. pity it's a load of crap:

It's obviously designed to catch the attention of readers who don't actually read the article and fool them into thinking that O'Neill served alongside John Kerry. Saw him in action. Knew him personally back in the day.

Nope. "On Mr. Kerry's boat" turns out to mean that after Kerry left Vietnam O'Neill happened to get assigned to the boat that Kerry had previously commanded. See? "On Mr. Kerry's boat." Cute, isn't it?

Posted by: snuh at May 5, 2004 at 03:12 PM

Kerry is decay’s pure product & wants to be President out of sheer insecure Kennedy-wannabe skyhigh-maintenance gigolo snobbery.

Posted by: ForNow at May 5, 2004 at 04:06 PM

Yes thats very powerful. Nothing says leadership material like the faith and confidence of your fellow officers.

Ouch. I am actually looking forward to the next press conference with Senator Kerry.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 5, 2004 at 04:07 PM

Papertiger, read Snuh's comment, a couple of posts back, then think again. You're onto a real winner this time:

"...O'Neill's ties to the Republican Party extend far beyond party affiliation. During the CNN interview, Blitzer reported that former President Richard Nixon had urged O'Neill to publicly counter Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show, but there is more to the story. O'Neill was a creation of the Nixon administration, as Joe Klein detailed in the January 5 issue of The New Yorker. Former Nixon special counsel Chuck Colson told Klein that Kerry was an "articulate" and "credible leader" of those veterans calling for an end to the Vietnam War and therefore "an immediate target of the Nixon Administration." As such, the Nixon administration found it necessary to "create a counterfoil" to Kerry. Colson recounted, "We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group." Articles from the April 21 Houston Chronicle and the June 17, 2003, Boston Globe confirm close ties between O'Neill and the Nixon administration.

Beyond his role in the Nixon administration's strategy to undermine Kerry in the 1970s, O'Neill is also connected to Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist (a Nixon appointee) and to former President George H.W. Bush, according to Houston Chronicle articles from March 31 and April 21. In the late 1970s, O'Neill clerked for Rehnquist; in 1990, according to an October 7, 1991, report by Texas Lawyer, the former President Bush considered O'Neill for a federal judgeship vacancy."

"O'Neill's own p.r. adviser has described O'Neill as sounding like "a crazed extremist."

Media Matters for America.

Posted by: bleh at May 5, 2004 at 04:26 PM

*gasp* Are you questioning his patriotism?

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 04:31 PM

Are you a... Republican Attack Dog????

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 04:32 PM

All the same, they didn’t create O’Neill. He’s obviously a moderate-to-conservative Democrat. They’re not uncommon in the South, & they occur elsewhere too. O’Neill’s current group includes the still-living military chain of command above Kerry.

Kerry mass-accused fellow American troops still under fire of war crimes. Many of his fellow testifiers gave fraudulent testimony since they were never even in Vietnam. And he did what he did in order to make a splash & launch his political career. Many vets Republian & Dem alike will be speaking out against Kerry. This cannot be spun away as mere spin.

Posted by: ForNow at May 5, 2004 at 04:47 PM

Indeed, Kerry’s record is almost shockingly bad. It’s interesting to consider that he evidently considers his Senate record less easy to defend than his earlier record. He voted against one defense system after another. And not only that, but in 1994 he launched a bill including a surprise attack on US intel capabilities.

“Kerry's '94 budget plan irked fellow Dems”
AP via March 19, 2004

When John Kerry offered a surprise plan to trim $43 billion in spending a decade ago, he encountered some harsh resistance: The cuts would threaten national security. U.S. fighter pilots would be endangered. And the battle against terrorism would be hampered, opponents charged.

And that's just what Kerry's fellow Democrats had to say.

"We are putting blindfolds over our pilots' eyes," Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, a decorated World War II veteran, said of the impact of Kerry's proposed intelligence cuts. Senators rejected Kerry's plan on a vote of 75-20.

Then there is Kerry’s lobbyist money yet his rhetoric agaisnst lobbyist money.

“Kerry Leads in Lobby Money: Anti-Special-Interest Campaign Contrasts With Funding”
By Jim VandeHei, Washington Post, January 31, 2004; Page A01

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.

His zero leadership in twenty years in the Senate—trying to stay politically viable & to control his tendency to excess, such that he has been a flip-flopping leftist executively hapless empty suit. His political campaigns have a long reputation for being badly run because of him. There really is no reason to think that he would be any good at running anything. He is a road-side blueblood gigolo who has hitchhiked his way to wealth, the Senate, & the presumptive Dem Presidential nomination. He won’t sail in too cheap & small a boat. He won’t settle for anything that isn’t fabulously expensive or wealthy. As I said, he is an insecure wannabe-Kennedy skyhigh-maintenance gigolo snob. Exactly that snobbery is his motive for running for President. “Don’t you know who I am?”

Then there are his family’s SUVs yet his talk against SUVs. His family’s outsourced factories & his talk of “Benedict Arnold” corporations that outsource. This talk is particularly demagogic not only because Heinz does it massively but because corporations doing it are taking advantage of tax breaks granted in US law. Kerry’s solution recognizes this but his rhetoric is that there is something treasonous in responding to financial incentives put into the law by Congress & the President.

Andrew Sullivan, Thursday June 19, 2003, “KERRY'S HUGE GAMBLE”:

The one thing that knowledgeable people have told me about John Kerry is that he doesn't know when to stop. He has no controlling mechanism when he goes on the attack. To accuse this president of deliberately lying to get this country into war is therefore a typical piece of Kerry excess. I think Kerry will pay dearly for it in the long run...

Kerry was said to “need constant supervision” in Vietnam. It is not difficult to suspect that he may have committed a few of the war crimes of which he accused his fellow servicemen. In any case, in combination with the above, his indecisiveness & flip flops suggest a man who is not only opportunistic but has tried to practice compensating for his own tendency to excess. Result: a hapless administrator & an empty suit. If Hillary actually does end up as his VP & they win, she is likely to have stronger & better coordinated sets of loyalists in his Administration than he is. His Administration would either be paralyzed because nobody in it would understand his overnuanced policies & unpredictable responses, or he would be so out of it, e.g. continually tired as he sometimes is, that loose-cannon leftists would run riot like soaked gremlins through the White House.

Posted by: ForNow at May 5, 2004 at 05:33 PM

Tim, if a real journalist (or blogger for that matter) published something you didn't agree with that was as deceitful as your entry here (as debunked well in a few of the posts above), you would be throwing a major league hissy fit for weeks.

You have either been conned or are trying to con your readers. The presence or absence of a retraction on this site tomorrow will determine which of the above is the case.

Posted by: felixrayman at May 5, 2004 at 07:25 PM

Well felixrayman, since Tim linked to the article and everyone can read it and figure out that O'Neill says (I quote):

Ironically, John Kerry and I served much of our time, a full 12 months in my case and a controversial four months in his, commanding the exact same six-man boat, PCF-94, which I took over after he requested early departure.

they can see for themselves that O'Neill wasn't claiming to have served along with or under Kerry, as the "pull quote" implies. The fact that some editor at the WSJ decided to tart up the article with a provocative statement does not mean the actual article is lying, as Kevin Drum claims. But I guess you are concerned that your fellow trolls, who never follow links but instead accept whatever they read verbatim, will be turned. Not to worry.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 5, 2004 at 08:48 PM

Andrea, got a response to my post about O'Neill's political ties? Doesn't do much for the credibility of his little movement, in my view.

Posted by: bleh at May 5, 2004 at 09:08 PM

Gosh, bleh, maybe it's because your entire post was irrelevant.

Politicians putting forward public speakers and advancing their ideas and challenging their opposition? WACKY

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 09:33 PM

Is that what you call it, "challenging" the opposition? You're right, that is WACKY.

Posted by: bleh at May 5, 2004 at 09:40 PM

Yes, bleh, lets set the scene:

A play in one act

NIXON: (leans forward in his giant intimidating chair, shadows falling across his face as he stubs his cigar out furiously) There's this guy spouting a bunch of crap, I want him taken care of.

HENCHMAN: (cowering in fear) Oh, yes sir Mr. Nixon. We'll... we'll find someone to debate him!

NIXON: Hmm. Yes, I like this. We'll form our own group to show that this chump doesn't speak for everyone. What else can we do?

GOON: We... we can have him debate the guy on television!

curtain falls

DEEP OMINOUS NARRATOR: Later, O'Neill would continue to be associated with Republicans, even GEORGE H W BUSH. When Kerry became the Democratic nominee, O'Neill came forward once again to challenge Kerry's past claims and to speak out against his capability to serve as the nation's commander in chief.

If only it were illegal to associate with known Republicans or speak out against Democrats, we would never have to tolerate these public displays of discourse.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 10:06 PM

Oh wait, I just remembered that time that O'Neill was at this pro-war meeting where they discussed assassinating anti-war government officials.

Oh. Wait. Got that backwards. That was Kerry.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 10:16 PM


"your fellow trolls, who never follow links but instead accept whatever they read verbatim"

In the thread about North Korea it was pretty clear that it wasn't just the trolls who didn't follow the link but instead accepted Tim's selection of it. Actually, it was the so-called trolls who pointed out that the article didn't support what the selection said - which to me would indicate that (at least some of) the trolls followed the link, and none of the 'non-trolls'.

Kudos to Tim Blair, though, for issuing a correction/explanation in an update on that thread.

Posted by: blacker64 at May 5, 2004 at 10:44 PM

And kudos to you for changing the subject to another thread, blacker!

So, bleh, do you have a response to your partisan silliness? You haven't spoken to any Democrats, have you? I mean, your credibility might be shot if, say, you had ties to a political party or something.

Seriously, can you explain how your point about O'Neill was the least bit valid?

Posted by: Sortelli at May 6, 2004 at 01:04 AM

Kerry's people better get busy to neutralize him and the other swift boat commanders who despise the guy. Of the men who have spoken out as a part of the swift vet group, O'Neill seems to be the only one who didn't know him personally in Vietnam. The ones who did are far more harsh in their condemnations. As for O'Neill, he claims he was a Hubert Humphrey Democrat and that he was drawn into a verbal war with Kerry when Kerry came back from Vietnam and made wild accusations about wide-spread atrocities, which O'Neill considered a slander on himself and other good men. The most interesting thing I heard O'Neill say was that swift boat commanders served an average of at least 12-month tours and that the only swift boat captain that he knew of who came home short of 12 months without a major injury was Kerry.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at May 6, 2004 at 01:49 AM

Look, I'm sure Kerry is a conniving bastard of the highest order, but I just find O'Neill's credibility is questionable, being the partisan hack he appears to be.

Posted by: bleh at May 6, 2004 at 02:02 AM

This wouldn't be much of an issue if John Kerry didn't drag out his Vietnam service constantly.

The quicker the baby-boomers reach an age where their memories begin to fail and they forget veitnam, the better off our country will be. Damn our health care system.

It's been 30 years already! Instead of refighting Vietnam, John Kerry and his supporters need to focus on the current war. You know, live in the here and now. They could come up with a plan of their OWN on how to far, it doesn't seem likely that will happen.

Lord, I hope in 30 years someone who fought in Iraq or Afghanastan doesn't drag it out as a political prop.."I was there, were you"??..Wait..that means my husband gets to run for President on his qualifications that...he was in Iraq! He'll be a shoe-in..especially if we lose, something democrats seem to admire...losing wars. Maybe he should take his bronze star and throw it away. I promise I won't forget you little people when I'm first lady and co-president.

Posted by: KellyW. at May 6, 2004 at 02:46 AM

Kerry needs to get the men who served under him out there in front of a camera to counter some of what these guys are saying, because I found most of it pretty damning. Did you see the C-Span news conference? There were some right-wing news org's there but there were also reporters (one from the NY Times) firing questions at these guys trying to ferret out any connection whatsoever to the Bush campaign. Now there might be one--and I'm sure most of these retired military officers are Republicans--but in my opinion these guys feel genuinely aggrieved by the statements Kerry made (after only a few months) when he returned home from Vietnam. They call him a liar, they feel "betrayed" (their word) by one of their brothers, and they want Kerry to sign a release of all of his military records.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at May 6, 2004 at 02:49 AM

bleh. I come from Illinios -- "Home of the World's Greatest Partisan Hacks" and evidently you wouldn't recognize a partisan hack if he crawled out from under his rock and stole your wallet. Unless you can show me a series of low-level appointive or elective offices O'Neill has held while serving in reality to work of (in this case, the Republican) a party, you're the one who needs to print a retraction. Partisan hacks by definition do not hold private jobs, which O'Neill has apparently done for most of his non-service life.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at May 6, 2004 at 07:43 AM

To bleh, only Republicans can be partisan hacks. What he is pushing is the idea that being a party member means one cannot have any opinions on anything political. This would effectively invalidate the opinions of everyone who belonged to a political party and did more than present their voters' registration card at their precinct. Hand out Bush/Cheney bumper stickers at a local Republican function? Be silent, party hack-dog! Idiot.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 10:36 AM

Damn, I thought that was the wrong usage. Still, his credibility is suspect for me - not due to his party links - but b/c of his history of being an attack dog to sick on Kerry. Don't mind me though, feel free to hold your own opinions (incl. "Idiot" above)... ;)

Posted by: bleh at May 7, 2004 at 12:10 AM