Slash & Burn

“There’s what Kerry says, and there’s what Kerry does.”

That’s the tagline for a new negative ad (approved by the President, natch) slamming Kerry for–what else?–flip-flopping on several issues.

I could go on about what Bush has said, and then what he’s gone on to do–or not do, if you will. But others have gone down that road.

What I want to do, rather, is follow up on something Matt Stoller over at BOPNews said: we need to dismiss the right with contempt. You really need to read the whole piece, but it really struck a nerve with me, especially after the latest Swift Vets mudbath.

The more time goes by, on a gut-level, the more I’m just beginning to be viscerally repelled by the current GOP establishment, especially by partisans of this administration.

Before you begin to think that this is a knee-jerk anti-Bush screed, you should know two things:

1. I was, for a couple of years (1994-96), a committed Republican. I volunteered for then-Gov. George Voinovich’s re-election campaign in 1994, and Lamar Alexander’s Presidential bid in ’96–going so far as to canvass a bit for him in the Iowa caucuses.

2. There are Republicans I would vote for.

But not in this current incarnation of the GOP. The Republican Party, as it stands now, is an embarrassment to politics and political parties, and the fact that it trafficks in lies, character assassination and moral hypocrisy (among other things) should disqualify it from consideration for power or responsibility by American voters.

There is room–indeed, there is a necessity–for a genuinely conservative party in America. Democracy cannot properly flourish if either side is overwhelmingly powerful for long.

But the Republicans are not that party. Not while it spends my great-grandchildren’s inheritance, so as to limn the pockets of an elite few. Not while it fails to denounce, from morning to night, the vile spewing of the co-author of a book claiming that the other Presidential contender is “unfit for command”. Not while it drags the good name of a war veteran through the filth of deceit, while claiming to stand for veterans–and all the while, making it harder for veterans of this war to get a decent roof over their heads, or even the most basic medical care for the wounds they sustained in the service of a nation they love.

You want slash and burn? You do? Really?

It goes without mentioning that while John Kerry was patrolling the Mekong, George W. Bush was sunning himself by a Houston pool. But it bears repeating, over and over, that Kerry chose to go to Vietnam, and Bush, when given the choice, chose not to.

Fine. Lots of people, including my dad, didn’t. They had the courage of their convictions, and marched against the war, seeking to bring to an end the senseless slaughter on both sides.

Not Bush, who as Josh Marshall said, spent the first two decades of his adult life reciting the alphabet under legal compulsion, in a quest for the endless keg of beer promised to all Deke members. Not Cheney, who had “other priorities”, and skipped out on service fit for others, but not himself, five times.

For that matter, let’s add that fatuous fool Denny Hastert, for whom sacrifice means passing up the all-you-can eat lunch buffet at Ponderosa for the seven-course lunch at the Speaker’s table on Capitol Hill, and that sanctimonious killjoy Tom Delay, who said there were so many minorities wanting to serve in Vietnam that there was no place for him.

Nope, none of these guys had an iota–a micron–a scintilla of courage. They’re all cowards, the kind with a bright, electric yellow stripe racing down their cowering backs. They had a chance to show what they were made of, and boy, did they ever. When the crucible of Vietnam came calling, they went running home to Mommy, screaming like sheep, “Send him! Send him! Not me!”.

And that’s why you see the mud flying now. Because they’re scared. They look at John Kerry, and in him they see a mirror image of themselves. They see just how utterly pathetic they are–not men, not now, not ever, but little boys, playing at being men, yet gambling with all-too-tragic results.

Cowards. That’s all they are, the whole lot of them. And every American who claims to back this sorry crew of two-cent playground bullies is saying that cowardice, bluster, and incompetence matter far more than courage, conviction and competence when it comes to running a country.

Come now–don’t give me palaver about how “Godly” Bush, et al, are, or how they claim to love America. For all his Godliness, it bears mentioning that, in citing Jesus as his favorite philosopher, Bush somehow forgot the Beatitudes–probably Christ’s most fundamental statement of principles. And when it comes to loving America, when America came calling, this whole crew said, “Who, me? Hell, no–send him!”

If that’s the kind of America you want, then, with all due respect, you don’t know what America’s all about.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall nails it even better in talking about the new Kerry ad:

“I say this is exactly where the Kerry campaign needs to go because it very powerfully captures a truth about President Bush — namely, that he’s a coward who truly lacks shame.

I don’t say he’s a coward because he kept himself out of Vietnam three decades ago. I know no end of men of that age who in one fashion or another made sure they didn’t end up in Indochina in those days. (I quickly ran through both hands counting guys I talk to on a regular basis.) And they include many of the most admirable people I know.

He’s a coward because he has other people smear good men without taking any responsibility, without owning up to it or standing behind it. And when someone takes it to him and puts him on the spot to defend his actions — as McCain does in this spot — he’s literally speechless. Like I say, a coward.”

Right on.


6 responses to “Slash & Burn

  1. eee-Yep!

  2. It’s nice to read an opinion that conincides with my feelings, only written much, much better. This Republican Party is not the party of my grandfather, father, and I (until recently). I have changed to another “I”; Independent.

    Thank you

  3. This is the kind of story that seems to smear everyone it touches. I’m a Democrat, and the first time I voted was in 1996, for President Clinton over Bob Dole. But I’ve liked and admired Bob Dole because of his heroic service in both World War II and in the Senate (and his wicked sense of humor). I was surprised to learn that he was on the Sunday talk shows yesterday trashing Kerry’s record; I would have thought he was above that sort of thing, and I’m disappointed in him.

  4. Thanks for the venting. I don’t know why I am still a registered Republican after the last 3 years of this crap. Like you I’m a veteran, though I never served in a war zone. But the plain hypocrisy of these people who very conveniently skipped out of their obligations during their turn absolutly repel me. Kerry has his faults, but the sheer chutzpah of Bush and Cheney to compare their record to his is astounding. It makes my blood boil to listen to them trash Kerry’s service and I’m saddened to see Bob Dole join them. In my opinion, Kerry’s service earned his right to criticize the conduct of the war.

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