August 20, 2004

PATTERICO WRITES on the New York Times SwiftVets piece mentioned below:

I don't think I have ever seen such a partisan hit piece in my life. . . .

The article then spends an incredible amount of space detailing this "web of connections," which boils down to this: John O'Neill, a successful lawyer in Houston, knows some influential Republicans in Texas. He even knows people, including current and former law partners, who know George Bush and Karl Rove. Wow.

Full disclosure time: I feel an ethical obligation to reveal my "web of connections" to Democrats. I share an office with someone whose friend is married to Democrat California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. No kidding. The grandmother of one of my best friends is an ardent Democrat who knows Hillary Clinton. I have good friends, colleagues, and former employers who have contributed thousands to John Kerry. I am married to a Democrat, and her entire family is 100% Democrats. At least one of her family members thinks George W. Bush is one of the most evil men alive.

This is all absolutely true. And I could go on. Why, if I were any good at Photoshopping, I could make you a pretty cool chart with these facts.

Anyway. Apparently, some of the Republicans that O'Neill knows don't like Kerry. Go figure.

Tellingly, he notes that the Cambodia story is buried at the end:

What is both amazing and utterly predictable is that the "Christmas in Cambodia" story is saved for the very end. This is the one accusation made by the Vets where the facts are clear -- and the facts show that Kerry was not truthful, as even the Kerry campaign has had to admit. How does the New York Times characterize the "Christmas in Cambodia" story? Take a deep breath. It says that the story is "the one allegation in the book that Mr. Kerry's campaign has not been able to put to rest."

Not "the allegation that has forced Mr. Kerry's campaign to explain that Mr. Kerry has not been telling the truth." Just the one allegation that they haven't yet "put to rest." . . . If you think that the New York Times would downplay a clear story of Bush unmistakably lying about an event he claimed was a turning point in his life, raise your hand.

They're spinning furiously. Ed Morrissey has much more on this:

Curiously, the story that the Times has yet to cover for its readers is put last on the list: the Cambodian Christmas myth. After impugning the credibility of the Swiftvets for four full sections, the Times finally acknowledges that the Swiftvets were right about the story that Kerry once said was "seared -- seared" into his memory and has used for at least 25 years to explain his political activism.

The Cambodia story is straightforward, and easy to understand, and the Kerry campaign has already admitted that it wasn't true. It makes Kerry look terrible. So naturally it's minimized in favor of complex eye-glazing stuff. Did I call it, or what? On the other hand, here's someone who gets it right:

Not one of Kerry's Swift boat crewmates, even the ones backing his candidacy, recalls being in Cambodia in Christmas 1968 and anti-Kerry Swift boat veterans cite a host of evidence that he was 50 miles away in Vietnam.

Why does it matter? Because Kerry has said the Cambodia incident of being sent on a covert mission to "a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops" was "seared" in his mind and changed his view of America.

Team Kerry's excuse is that maybe he accidentally crossed the border or his time frame was fuzzy, but that just won't square with his passionate 1986 claim, on the Senate floor, that the Christmas memory was "seared seared in me."

Unlike the conflicts over Kerry's medals, this isn't a he said/he said dispute Kerry either was or wasn't in Cambodia. Eventually a reporter will ask him point-blank if he still claims he was in Cambodia that Christmas yes or no. . . .

The other fascinating part of this story is the key role that bloggers on the Internet have played in pointing out the holes in Kerry's story even as much of the press tries to ignore them.

For instance, when Team Kerry held a press conference featuring his crewmates this week, one was conspicuously missing David Alston after the Internet-fueled revelation that he may have only served on Kerry's boat for one week.

It's nice that someone's noticing.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Bender emails: "With all the fuss and charges about coordination between 527 organizations and campaigns, I wondered, given today's article in the New York Times, if they are coordinating with the Kerry Campaign?"