Nick Gillespie from Reason’s Hit and Run blog has an interesting post about the hullaballoo surrounding John Kerry’s military service and he finishes with this statement:
You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats. They enter a presidential race against a guy who clearly worked to evade active service in Vietnam and manage to nominate a multiply decorated vet whose service record somehow becomes the focus of attention. Yes, there is an orchestrated attempt by the GOP to throw questions onto Kerry (a process he’s abetted with his changing Cambodian story, among other things). But if anybody is wondering why the Dems are on the threshold of becoming a permananent minority party, this latest screwup is one indication of incompetence that used to be a Republican hallmark.
Talk about nails and heads. Bush is the most vulnerable incumbent president since Jimmy Carter. His track record is pretty much abysmal on every count. But Kerry and the Democrats can’t seem to gain any sort of advantage over him at all. Why? Because they’re absolutely horrible at playing the political game, while the Republicans are masters at it. How on earth does a transparently ridiculous campaign trick like this Swift Boat Vets nonsense actually work? Well, primarily because Kerry has handed it to them on a silver platter and because the Democrats have rolled over and played dead for the shallow quasi-patriotic song and dance of the Republicans.
So successful have the Republicans been in the last 25 years at defining the public debate, in painting themselves as the sole and exclusive vessel of true patriotism in America, that the Democrats can’t even take over occupation of that turf with a Silver Star winner running against a spoiled rich kid whose dad pulled strings to get his butt out of a war he supported. This is somewhat akin to not being able to beat Gary Coleman one on one in basketball, or not being able to beat Keanu Reeves in chess – if you can’t win this one, it’s time to slink away in shame and possibly commit ritual self-disembowlment.