August 21, 2004

THIS PAT OLIPHANT CARTOON is pretty awful, considering that one of the guys it's aimed at spent nearly 7 years as a North Vietnamese P.O.W.

UPDATE: Reader James V. Somers thinks that Kerry's defenders are losing it:

Things like the revolting Oliphant cartoon you link to, as well as Maureen Dowd's hysterical screed this morning attacking the Swift Vets as, inter alia, "sleazoids", suggest that Kerry's Big Media allies may overplay a mediocre hand in defending him.

Though you sometimes wouldn't know it from listening to those who criticize the Swift Vets, they served in combat too, just like John Kerry, and in many cases for longer periods of time and under even more difficult circumstances (like being a POW for seven years). Flamethrower attacks like Oliphant's will go over well with liberal-leaning journalists and diehard Blue-Staters, because those people take it as received wisdom that the Vietnam War was an immoral excess of American Imperialism, and thus the only soldiers from it who should be admired are those who later opposed it. Such people, as Oliphant's cartoon suggests, view the other Vietnam vets as just a bunch of illiterate drunks - probably from Red States - who spent the war either cleaning latrines or committing war crimes. But such an attitude could backfire badly with average people in battleground states. The Democrats and their allies need to remember that just because George Bush didn't fight in Vietnam, it doesn't mean that Kerry's critics didn't.