It simultaneously astonishes me and pleases me that liberal elements of the Democrat Party continue “not to get it.” As they wail, gnash teeth, pout, point fingers and fight internally, the basic truths remain well beyond their reach. Last week, Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry’s campaign manager, summed up their failures as a matter of underestimating the impact of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Speaking at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on Wednesday, Cahill offered the following analysis:
- This is the best $40,000 investment made by any political group but it was only because of the news coverage that it got where it did??¢â???¬ ¦In hindsight, maybe we should have put Senator Kerry out earlier, perhaps we could have cut it off earlier??¢â???¬ ¦For me, this was a very big change. The fact that it was disproved and it was still shown every day as part of the (campaign) coverage??¢â???¬ ¦ (We were) frustrated the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked.
Ah, ahem, Ms. Cahill, the American people chose their president based not on your campaigns shortfalls but on what matters most, basic values. Seems awfully presumptuous to believe it was your organization’s strategic failures and not an educated, engaged electorate considering the candidates and making an informed decision.
When it came down to it, we just didn’t believe your guy. We watched the DNC Convention and saw a platform based solely on four months thirty-five years ago. Then we watched young Johnny’s anti-American activities replayed from 1971. We searched high and low for Kerry’s radical anti-war book, The New Soldier, and found it. We couldn’t imagine turning over our young men and women in uniform to Commander-in-Chief Kerry, a man who served his country and then turned his back on fellow veterans and prisoners-of-war being held in Hanoi. We looked at his 20 years in the senate and found nothing of substance.
Moreover, in regard to the Swift Boat claims, what’s been debunked other than Kerry’s own accounts of his activities? He continues to refuse to sign DD Form 180, the official release form required by the Defense Department to release one’s military records. His campaign web site cherry picked his records and pretended the rest didn’t exist.
To date, Kerry has not challenged a single claim made by the Swifties in their ads or in John O’Neill’s and Jerry Corsi’s blockbuster, Unfit for Command. He never addressed the media about the allegations nor attempted, personally, to shed any light other than what was released in his “official biography” — though, his campaign did change their account of “Christmas in Cambodia.” Seems Johnny wasn’t on a Top Secret mission across the border, ordered by President Nixon, as he claimed. Oops. Turns out, Kerry was in bed writing a letter to his parents with “visions of sugar plums dancing in his head,” there was no secret mission, and Nixon wasn’t the president, Johnson was.
And, contrary to Cahill’s statements, their campaign did react immediately to the Swifties; no, not by taking on the allegations, but by suing the television stations planning to air the adds. They demanded Regnery Publishing stop distribution of the book and recall it from the shelves. I’m proud to say that Regnery, my publisher, not only said “nope” to that ridiculous request but also offered to publish Kerry’s extremist The New Soldier for free.
They initiated an attack on the characters of O’Neill and Corsi. They blamed the Bush Administration for condoning the ads. While I traveled with John O’Neill this past summer on our joint book tour, I came to know a man of impeccable character and witnessed him being protested, heckled, called vile names, and personally hijacked multiple times on television. Chris Matthews comes to mind.
The Kerry campaign did everything but address the truth. John O’Neill, Jerry Corsi, the Swift Boat vets did nothing but tell the truth. Armed with the truth, O’Neill was invincible.
The Kerry campaign didn’t take on the message, they took on the messenger. And the American people understood.
Liberals continue to “not get it.” They have failed the lessons of the Clinton era — character matters, truth counts, we won’t be fooled again. We revere our military. We don’t think Michael Moore tells the truth, and we certainly wouldn’t ask him to sit in the presidential box at a convention. You’re missing the point. We’re tired of style over substance.
It’s not up to you and your campaign strategies, Ms. Cahill, it’s up to us. And we have spoken.