Monday, August 30, 2004

Kerry's Credentials

What do I know about John Kerry? The two things that immediately spring to mind are 1) he’s a United States Senator and 2) he’s a Vietnam combat veteran.
Now if someone were to ask me which of the two is more important, I would have no hesitation in choosing the former. Like most people, I have the greatest admiration for veterans; but there are, after all, millions of them. On the other hand, there aren’t many people who have served three full terms in the U.S. Senate.
John Kerry, his campaign and his party disagree.
Last month, during the days leading up to the Democrat National Convention in Boston, we were told by Kerry’s campaign that the convention provided an opportunity for John Kerry to “introduce himself to the American people.”
On the big day, Kerry arrived at the Fleet Center, Boston by boat, with his “Band of Brothers” also on board. Unfortunately, the campaign couldn’t get hold of a Swift Boat, but at least there were no Viet Cong snipers in the vicinity.
After treating us to his Vietnam home movies, John Kerry gave his acceptance speech. Here was his chance to lay out his qualifications to be the 44th President of the United States. Kerry began his 55 minute speech with a salute and the now famous words: “I’m John Kerry ­-- reporting for duty!”
In this long rambling speech, Kerry devoted a whopping 26 seconds to his almost 20 years – one third of his life – in the U.S. Senate. The remaining 99% of the speech consisted of attacks against George W. Bush (fair enough) and constant references to his 132 days in Vietnam, 35 years ago.
Leading up to Kerry’s grand finale, the 15,000 delegates spent four days either bashing Bush or hailing Kerry, the war hero. His 19 years in the Senate were hardly mentioned, and his years as Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts (under Michael Dukakis) weren’t mentioned at all.
What are we to make of all this? Kerry’s qualifications for the office of U.S. President appear to be 1) He’s not George Bush and 2) his four months in Vietnam. His years in the Senate are considered irrelevant. Given that nearly 300 million Americans aren’t George Bush either, that leaves us with Kerry’s sole qualification for being president: his Vietnam service.
Doesn’t that mean that everyone who served FIVE months or more in Vietnam are more qualified than Kerry? That’s about 2 million people; the population of Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city. And let’s not forget the millions who fought in World War II, Korea and the two Iraq wars.
I don’t understand why Kerry – normally not known for his modesty – is so reluctant to discuss his years in the Senate. You don’t think (dare I say it) that he may be embarrassed, even ashamed of his Senate record, do you? Surely not!
Of course, I’m being sarcastic. It is often said that “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.” That may be true, but I like it.
John Kerry and his campaign have done everything in their power to avoid discussing Kerry’s abysmal Senate voting record on matters relating to national security.
His brief sojourn in south-east Asia has been used as a shield to deflect criticisms of that record. His answer to each criticism is always the same: “How dare you question my patriotism! Why, I served in Vietnam! You didn’t! I’ve got three Purple Hearts! Yadda-yadda-yadda…”
This from a candidate and party that spent eight years defending the lying, cheating draft-dodging Bill Clinton. You couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s hilarious.
Now that the The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth have demolished Kerry’s Vietnam shield, what else remains? How ironic that a man who has based his entire political career on the Vietnam War is now being consumed by it. For John Kerry, the chickens have come home to roost.

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