Column: Kerry doesn’t get it

John Kerry still doesn’t get it. After enduring a miserable, month-long meltdown at the hands of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Mr. Kerry answered President George W. Bush’s powerful, unforgettable address at the Republican Convention by – yet again – brazenly brandishing his Vietnam heroics. I know, what else is new?

Kerry is growing increasingly desperate and he is now in full “Michael Moore mode.” In fact, he is not only accusing President Bush and Vice President Cheney of being cowards, but also sadistic liars who would willingly sacrifice the lives of American servicemen for the realization of a Republican-concocted big business oil scheme. Talk about collaboration between outside parties and political campaigns. It’s now clear that John Kerry is taking his new, “hard-hitting” talking points directly from the “paradigm of documentaries,” Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Still, the most politically destructive element of Mr. Kerry’s unprecedented, midnight damage control session in Ohio is the fact that he again breathed new life into the menacing issue of his questionable record as a Naval officer in Vietnam and his undeniably deplorable actions as a completely over-the-top anti-war peacenik. He actually added fuel to the fire and surely inspired another round of the incredibly effective Swift Boat ads by boasting yet again, “I guess I’ll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.”

John O’Neill, call your office. Seriously, has Kerry learned anything over the past month? Has he not learned that the Swift Boat ads have raised serious and legitimate questions regarding his capability to be commander- in- chief and further solidified his image as an incorrigible opportunist who is unfit to make tough decisions of war and peace, life and death? I would think that Kerry’s revamped political team – with such Clinton “heavy-hitters” as Joe Lockhart – would be politically astute enough to realize the nearly irreparable damage the Swifties have already caused the campaign, but apparently not. The Kerryites are pushing his Vietnam record as if it is a proven, winning political strategy, hoping the media will do their dirty work and smear the Swift Boat Veterans as partisan liars.

But times have changed. Fox News and talk radio outlets have made it impossible for the “old,” liberal media to suppress and spin this story. And it is entirely appropriate that the American people demand the truth on this issue – seeing as how John Kerry has made his Vietnam War service the centerpiece of his campaign. How much more political damage will it take for Mr. Kerry to finally realize that self-aggrandized war credentials are no substitute for real ideas? They are no substitute for an inspiring, optimistic vision that is so critical in guiding this nation through the perilous, ongoing war on terrorism. For such steady and visionary leadership, Americans are now looking again at George W. Bush. Time and Newsweek polls now show him with a solid 10-12 point lead over John Kerry.

While Mr. Kerry continues to obsess over the past and bicker about his military record, President Bush, as he brilliantly demonstrated through his soaring rhetoric at the convention, is focused exclusively on America’s future. Like his memorable predecessors Wilson, Truman and Reagan, he has defined a profoundly new and innovative foreign policy that is without parallel in American history. Even more dramatically, he has positively changed the world’s conception of terrorism. Regardless of what happens in November, the president will be forever remembered as the architect of the Bush Doctrine; the bold and aggressive initiative that finally laid the groundwork for the defeat of international terrorism. President Bush does not have time to entertain Mr. Kerry’s petty, self-serving quibbles about military escapades thirty years old.

Whenever Kerry mentions his dubious military record, one cannot help but remember President Ronald Reagan’s famous words to another man with no vision for America: “There he goes again.” The Democrats never seem to learn the lessons of political history – John Kerry is no exception.

-The writer, a sophomore majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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