May 08, 2004


A letter to the Illinois Leader notes:

One would think that after the media feeding frenzy over President Bush’s National Guard service, John Kerry being called unfit to be commander-in-chief by the retired rear admiral who commanded the Swift Boat force during Kerry’ s brief tour of duty in Vietnam would receive some attention.

It’s certainly received some attention, much of it from people talking the group down. Like Vaughn Ververs in the Washington Post:

There is some skepticism about this group in the press. One of the main organizers is John O'Neill who's been debating Vietnam with Kerry since the two appeared on the Dick Cavett show together in 1971.

That blabbermouth O’Neill! Why won’t he just shut up? Actually, he did, for more than 30 years:

From 1972 onward, whenever people ran against Kerry, they asked O'Neill to spill some more beans, but he always declined.

And here’s O’Neill himself:

Since 1971, I have refused many offers from John Kerry's political opponents to speak out against him. My reluctance to become involved once again in politics is outweighed now by my profound conviction that John Kerry is simply not fit to be America's commander in chief. Nobody has recruited me to come forward. My decision is the inevitable result of my own personal beliefs and life experience.

Anyways, here’s a video link to the Band of anti-Kerry Brothers’ press conference. Watch it and the mystery of Kerry’s limp polling begins to fall away a little.

UPDATE. Cicada points out Kerry’s inability to process good news.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 8, 2004 02:48 AM

Kerry is done - someone please tell me anything going right for him at this point. The dems will run Hillary in '08.

Posted by: JEM at May 8, 2004 at 04:20 AM

6 months to go, let's not count our chickens just yet...

Remember, Kerry has most of the media and "world opinion" on his side, so expect to see lots of bad publicity foreign and domestic for Bush. No telling what will stick, but something probably will...

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at May 8, 2004 at 05:18 AM

Correct, Carl. Unfortunately. Now is not the time to relax. The polls are OK (virtually neck and neck), but you can expect the Democrats to go all out very soon. And, of course, the Republicans.

Like I and others said a while ago, this is going to be a llloooooonnnnnnnnggggggg election year. Sigh.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 05:32 AM

Foreign policy for Kerry will deteriorate to condemning the troops in Iraq, in a crass attempt to smuge the President.

Stay tuned for Winter soldier part two. Expect to see much more Paul O"Neil as Kerry's media shills attack the character of 500+ officers who served in theater with Kerry.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 8, 2004 at 05:51 AM

Oh, won't that be a sight to behold. I can already hear the Democrats strategy: "John Kerry is worth any 500 Vietnam vets because he went to Vietnam."

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 07:22 AM

Maybe you should go to It looks like Kerry is desperately trying to get the Dem (or is that "dim") Senators to hold off on the prisoner abuse thing for fear of reopening his claims of committing atrocities. Also, I listened to Rumsfeld's committee hearing this morning/afternoon. Boy, are most of those Senators lame. They're lucky nobody much was listening. Maybe the media can cherrypick some lines that don't sound too bad, but Rumsfeld and the others mostly mopped up the floor with them. Maybe some of them are bright enough to realize Rumsfeld's smarter than they are.

Lame. Lame, lame, lame.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at May 8, 2004 at 08:10 AM

They probably don't get much press because, well, they can't even get their facts straight.

Never let reality get in the way of a good fantasy, eh?

Posted by: liberal avenger at May 8, 2004 at 08:51 AM

Never let reality get in the way of a good fantasy, eh?

Did you learn that from Sen. Kerry?

Posted by: Quentin George at May 8, 2004 at 09:15 AM

I agree, liberal avenger, people in politics need to keep their facts straight.

Hint: Each word is a separate link.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 09:22 AM


Too late for that. A certain talk radio host who's name seems to run afoul of the questionable content filter (Sean H.) was all over it on nis show today, and it's clear that he'll probably never let go of it at this point.

Posted by: Vexorg at May 8, 2004 at 11:31 AM

Exactly, The Real JeffS!

Posted by: bleh at May 8, 2004 at 04:14 PM

That bloody liberal media is at it again (flip-flops anyone?):

FOX News Channel pushed harder on the credibility of some of the group's members. On several shows throughout the afternoon and evening, including Special Report with Brit Hume, FOX News Channel chief political correspondent Carl Cameron provided substantial background on some key Kerry critics. Cameron reported that the veterans held a news conference "essentially to trash [Kerry]" and that much of their criticism "dramatically conflicts with the public record." Cameron stated, "Senator Kerry has released most of his military records and for the most part, they are a glowing detail of his military service." Not only does their criticism conflict with what The New York Times described in an April 22 article as Kerry's "uniformly positive" evaluations included in his military records, but, as Cameron also reported, their criticism is inconsistent with statements previously made by many of the Swift Boat Vets themselves. Cameron reported that in 1968, Kerry critic Grant W. Hibbard,[1] a lieutenant commander in Vietnam during Kerry's tour:

... described Kerry in various favorable ways, as quote, "One of the top few in his willingness to seek and accept responsibility." Captain George Elliot, who served in Vietnam at the same time Kerry did, condemns Kerry now for touting his service in a war that Kerry later protested. ... But in '96, Elliot and other critics of today, praised him for going after the enemy.

Beyond pointing out the inconsistent statements by some of Kerry's critics, Cameron also reported that Democrats say that "many of them ... have become Republicans ... who have supported the Bush campaigns in Texas, have been close friends of the Bush family both in politics and business." Cameron stated on Special Report with Brit Hume, "The GOP says it's not involved with the veterans criticizing Kerry, but many of them are Republicans who have contributed to and backed various Bush campaigns and causes over the decades."

Read the rest here, if you dare... ;)

Posted by: bleh at May 8, 2004 at 04:16 PM

A good write up, bleh. I couldn't find anything about this posted on the Fox website, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, and I don't watch a lot of TV.

So I want to read what Fox has to say before coming to a conclusion. That's mostly because I did find something else on your linked web site ( This statement:

In the column below, Media Matters for America will document and correct conservative misinformation in each news cycle. Media Matters for America will monitor cable and broadcast news channels, print media and talk radio, as well as marginal, right-wing websites that often serve as original sources of misinformation for well-known conservative and mainstream media outlets.

The emphasis is mine.

You'll understand if I apply a grain or two of salt to a write up from an obviously biased "news" source. Especially since the article works from the basic assumption was that the swift boat veterans are clearly Republican dupes sent in to bash Kerry, and there appears to be quoting out of context.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 04:41 PM

bleh, by virtue of the fact that you trotted this asinine crap out once before in the past, you are obviously nothing more than a partisan hack and an O'Neill chasing attack dog. *eyeroll* ... *a sarcastic, melodramatic eyeroll* .... *an obviously sarcastic, patronizing eyeroll to convey the fact that the preceeding statement was meant to be absurd on its face in order to show bleh, again, how absolutely silly he sounds by using his own arguments*

I can't believe that you're continuing to question these guys based on their percieved party affiliation, and not only that, you're citing biased spin doctors in support of it. WTF. Seriously. W.T.F. Your irony sensor needs servicing.

Besides, they aren't much more than character witnesses anyway. They wouldn't sway my vote on Kerry one way or another. Nah, I take that back... They might confuse people who are stupid enough to think it matters at all that Kerry served in Vietnam, which is basically Kerry's entire freaking campaign, so I guess they are trouble.

Who's behind the Kerry campaign and the constant Vietnam references? Karl Rove? There's a hilarious conspiracy theory.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 8, 2004 at 06:12 PM

Here's a Republican with something to say on the issue of Kerry and his military service:

One person who is outraged by the attacks on Kerry is McCain. When I reached the Arizona Republican, I found him deeply troubled over the reopening of wounds from the Vietnam era, "the most divisive time since our civil war." He called Sampley "one of the most despicable characters I've ever met." McCain said he hoped that in the midst of a war in Iraq, politicians "will confront the challenges facing us now, including the conflict we're presently engaged in, rather than refighting the one we were engaged in more than 30 years ago."

McCain recalled that he had worked with Kerry on "POW/MIA issues and the normalization of relations with Vietnam" and wanted to stand up for his war comrade because "you have to do what's right." Speaking of Kerry, McCain said: "He's my friend. He'll continue to be my friend. I know his service was honorable. If that hurts me politically or with my party, that's a very small price to pay."

from "Unfair attacks on Kerry's service record" at the Indianapolis Star

Posted by: bleh at May 8, 2004 at 07:27 PM

One of the top few in his willingness to seek and accept responsibility - sounds better then bossy wreckless hotdog who regularly hazards his boat

but it means the samething doesn't it?

Posted by: papertiger at May 8, 2004 at 07:37 PM

Sorry, bleh, obviously McCain can't be trusted because of his ties to the Republican party.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 8, 2004 at 08:04 PM

Sortelli, I would defend myself, but I don't need the tit for tat point scoring exercise, which I'm sure would ensue with you.

Posted by: bleh at May 8, 2004 at 09:08 PM

But bleh, you're the one who's started on the "people with ties to the [insert party name] can't have an honest opinion of [insert subject]" line of thought. Seeing as the subject is the same, why are these veterans disqualified from your considerations, but McCain isn't? Oh right, because McCain's opinion supports your pov and the veterans' doesn't. Good argumentative structure there, not transparent or anything at all.

Posted by: PW at May 8, 2004 at 11:47 PM

Besides, bleh, in case you haven't noticed it, we don't bloody care about Kerry's service in Vietnam. We mock Kerry for bringing it up so much. Or at least I do.

As Sortelli put it, this issue doesn't sway my vote. I agree with McCain on one point -- the Vietnam War is in the past. I want to focus on Kerry's overall record, not just his war record. I feel the same way about Bush, by the way.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 9, 2004 at 01:13 AM

You won't hear this in the American press, which no longer has enough veterans in the newsrooms to get this right, but...

Kerry's Officer Evaluations suck.

ER(evaluation report) writing is as stylized as Mandarin Court Poetry. For all the folklore about evaluations such as the famous "I would not breed from this officer" or "I would follow this officer into battle out of sheer curiosity," in fact, it is very uncommon that anything directly unfavorable is written in them.

Interpreting ER's (Officer or Non-Commissioned) is an art in itself. For example, phrases such as "reliably carries out instructions" do not mean "reliable" but "he'll do what you tell him but don't take your eyes off him", while an officer commanding a destroyer in the China Sea or a patrol boat squadron who actually takes up space on an ER to praise an officer's French-language skills is 1) at a loss for anything else to say and 2) trying to offer any kind of excuse for another command to take the loser off his hands.

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 9, 2004 at 05:18 AM

As Sortelli put it, this issue doesn't sway my vote. I agree with McCain on one point -- the Vietnam War is in the past. I want to focus on Kerry's overall record, not just his war record. I feel the same way about Bush, by the way.

cool, I don't really give a shit either... I just think this group looks dodgey, just my opinion, riducule me if you like...

Posted by: bleh at May 9, 2004 at 06:02 AM

"riducule" me over my spelling even... *note to self* - don't post after a night on the turps =)

Posted by: bleh at May 9, 2004 at 06:11 AM

Richard McEnroe:

I went and read those evaluations, and I agree that they aren't shining. My own experience in the Art Of Evaluation Preparation is well after this period, so I don't know the ins and outs of the rating system back then. But the general tone of most of the write ups is generally bland, and I exclude those from his training schools in that. I especially like the way Kerry eagerly assumed the additional duty of "Public Affairs Officer", which dominate about half the reports.

(Note to Non-Military Types: All officers are assigned additional duties, mostly supervision of extra tasks [of which there are always more than people], but the work still had to be done. These additional duties range from important [arms room officer] to necessary [pay officer] to mundane [publications officer]. The PAO assignment can be important to morale, but is usually a way to advertise your unit to the senior commander. Not always, but it could be a plush assignment for a brown noser. But I'm Army, this is Navy. Squids, feel free to correct me.)

To be fair, it is possible that some of his commanding officers didn't have a lot of time to prepare these reports, and delegated the actual work to some junior officer or yeoman. But one would think that they took the time to confirm the reports before signing them, as evaluations were critical to promotions and choice assignments (and still are, for that matter).

So....for someone who won a Silver Star, the evaluations are pretty bland.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 9, 2004 at 09:47 AM

Sortelli, I would defend myself, but I don't need the tit for tat point scoring exercise, which I'm sure would ensue with you.

Then stop being such a tit! *drumbeat*

I keeed, I keeed! Sorry to be an ass, bleh, but it's a concious effort to show you how trite your accusations are. If you think O'Neill's a windbag that's your own judgement, and I don't personally know the guy from Adam. But all the stuff you've dredged up to label him as some eeeeevil Nixon-stooge is really watery and sad-looking, and I'm sorry that it doesn't look that way to you. If your point is nothing more than the start of a boring tit-for-tat scoring exercise then maaaaybe it's not worth the bandwidth, ya think?

The only reason the opinions of Vietnam vets have become newsworthy in this campaign is because of Kerry himself, and the smear tactics he's using to deflect any question or criticsm of his service record would be funny people weren't being taken in by the kind of stuff you're posting.

Unless... ABC really is doing the bidding of the RNC. :O

Posted by: Sortelli at May 9, 2004 at 11:48 AM

There is some skepticism about this group in the press. One of the main organizers is John O'Neill who's been debating Vietnam with Kerry since the two appeared on the Dick Cavett show together in 1971.

That is the stupidest fucking thing I've heard in a while, for reasons completely aside from it being factually incorrect.

This is a pathetic attmept to make O'Neill look like the "9/11 Families" (long-time Dem activists) that the press was fawning over a few weeks ago. The difference between those people and O'Neill is that they were dishonestly portraying themselves as the non-partisan voice of the 9/11 victims, whereas they were longtime stumpers for the Democratic party. O'Neill's public persona has always been about countering Kerry on his behavior after the war. He said it then. He's saying it now.

Such desperate, manufactured bullshit.... leave it to the moronic press to portray open consistency as somehow underhanded.

Posted by: Russell at May 9, 2004 at 12:34 PM

I don't think the problem was lack of training so much as their previous experience in public prison.

Posted by: aaron at May 9, 2004 at 01:22 PM