Heavy Medal Thunder

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Color me mystified by Medalgate. Yes, John Kerry looked like a dope trying to explain exactly what he did during a 1971 act of political theater. And the universe of voters concerned about this and not already in the Bush camp is…? Whole numbers only, please.

Absent a connection to some larger theme like, oh, how Kerry spent 20 years in the Senate and did not do a damn thing, Medalgate looks to have all the legs of Slick Willie's equally hysterical I-did-not-inhale gambit. Crippling blow, that.

Let's have more stories on Kerry's wacky, loaded French-speaking wife and as a two-fer, let's get to the bottom of this Skull and Bones business. Exactly which homoerotic hazing ritual did our present and future president endure. Soggy biscuit? Baby-elephant walk? What?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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  1. BCCI and Iran-Contra hearings are a bit more than not a damn thing.

    First time I’ve seen the equation of the medal story with “I didn’t inhale.” Very insightful.

  2. I don’t think MedalGate or TranscriptGate are that relevant. However, his wife sure is. Do we really want THK as First Lady?

    Skull & Bones is of deep interest not for their wacky rituals but for the wacky fact that so many people with a great deal of power are members. Why, it’s almost as if we’re ruled by a hereditary elite.

    Other things of interest about Kerry include (here comes the plug) his support for Hyphenated-Americans.

  3. Why mystified? When most people have put Vietnam aside so as to move on, Kerry seems obsessed with the thing. The medals? Well, no matter how you cut it, this guy is a phony.

    I guess you can’t say you’ve arrived in the writing business unless you can force in the word “homoerotic” somewhere.

  4. Eat more catsup

  5. In Kerry’s defense, it would show uncommon foresight to pretend to toss his own medals while actually husbanding them for future use 10 years or so down the road. In the zeitgeist of the times, it was unlikely that Kerry would have thought them politically valuable.

    I think events most likely transpired exactly as Kerry has related but that he found himself with a much more powerful media event than he anticipated, Everybody assumed that Kerry had thrown his own medals and he saw no advantage at the time of disabusing them of that notion.

    This is a mess of his own making.

  6. The only reason all this past-history Vietnam stuff is relevant is because John Kerry insists on bringing it up all the time.

    If you want to base your fitness for being president on your Vietnam record, then it is totally fair and appropriate for that entire record to receive intense scrutiny. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of your record get used in your evaluation.

    If Kerry’s anti-war extremism can be written off as the ‘folly of youth’, why can’t we write his combat valor off as the ‘agressiveness of youth’? Why does one imply something about the character of a 61 year old man, but the other doesn’t?

    Kerry made the choice of putting his Vietnam era record on the stand. Now he has to deal with the results.

  7. Looking at Dan’s post through democratic vision:

    The only reason all this past-history Vietnam stuff is relevant is because Republicans accuse democrats of being weak on protecting the country and fighting terrorism when their guy has a less than stellar vietnam record himself.

    If you want to base your fitness for being president on your war time president status, then it is totally fair and appropriate for your military service records to receive intense scrutiny. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of your record get used in your evaluation.

    If Bush’s coke snorting extremism can be written off as the ‘folly of youth’, why can’t we write his lack of combat valor off as the ‘timidity of youth’? Why does one imply something about the character of a 58 year old man, but the other doesn’t?

    Bush made the choice of putting his Vietnam era record on the stand. Now he has to deal with the results.

  8. And the universe of voters concerned about this and not already in the Bush camp is…?

    People who become increasingly convinced that Kerry is a two-faced weasel are increasingly unlikely to bother showing up to vote for him.

    In addition, if the left wing of the Democratic Party becomes convinced that Kerry will sell them out the minute it’s to his advantage to do so — which he will — they’ll be increasingly likely to vote for Nader instead.

    As for painting Kerry as Clintonian — that’s not a bad tactic, really. Clinton never managed to win over 50% of the voters; he won because a third-party candidate gobbled up a lot of presumptively Republican votes. Had the 1992 field consisted of Bush, Clinton, and Nader, Bush would have won with a landslide. So, in a field consisting of Bush Jr, Kerry, and Nader, making Kerry out to be “Clinton, only worse at it” isn’t a bad play.

  9. Kerry was in the Senate for 20 years and didn’t do anything?

    As in there aren’t any big pieces of legislation named after him?

    Now there’s a candidate I can vote for!

  10. Terri Kerry’s post reminded me to wonder if A Prairie Home Companion will have to refuse sponsorship by The Ketchup Advisory Board until November?

  11. It took me all morning to realize that Kerry was essentially saying: sometimes I said I threw medals, and sometimes I said I threw ribbons. This is because I literally threw my ribbons, and ribbons and medals are exactly interchangeable.

    Looking at it in that light, what Kerry is saying makes sense. It also makes me wonder what eventually happened to his medals. Are they under a bed somewhere, or in a safe deposit box? Are they framed and on his wall? Are they being held up as evidence that Kerry was a war hero? The answer doesn’t concern me in any case; I expect a certain amount of bullshit in a campaign.

    Personally I am far more troubled by reports that Kerry met privately with members of the NVA / VC delegation to the Paris talks in the early 1970s, while still a commissioned officer in the Naval Reserve. That really, really bothers me.

  12. I think standard hazing for S&B that Bush and Kerry went through include a Hot Karl, and maybe a Fish Eye.

  13. increasingly convinced that Kerry is a two-faced weasel

    In the original interview allegedly Kerry says, “Well, and above that, I gave my others.” (emphasis mine) in response to enumerating the awards that Kerry himself had gotten. The man was already elbowing his way up to the top of VVAW and “JFK” had already long stood for “Just for Kerry”; he was a longtime political creature by the time he hit that protest. The safe money’s on “bullshit”.

    However, can anyone honestly name a politician on this scale who is not? I’m no fan of Kerry; his positions were untenable before they became unpredictable. It’s naieve to think that any of these guys have the character and ability they warrant themselves as having. The presidency is a hard sell and we know full well what they’re drawing from to close that sale. Not that they’re scum of the earth necessarily, but they’re not the type to quibble over tiny ethical questions when they see a chance to get some extra Former Disenchanted War Hero Bonus Points on the sly, to pick up the relatively small Former Disenchanted War Hero vote. America gave that routine the green light for the most part when they elected Clinton. We thought we knew he was lying, and he knew we thought he was lying. But we didn’t care, and he knew it (I wasn’t old enough to vote at the time). The only question is whether Kerry has the Mojo to pull this off however many times he has to before November. I don’t think so.

    I do like Kerry’s primary response, which was essentially, “But moooooooom, he did it toooooo!”

  14. SUV-gate was “I didn’t inhale.” This is closer to Clinton’s “draft-dodging” at minimum.

  15. Terri Kerry: Please explain the difference between ‘catsup’ and ‘ketchup’. And claiming one is a vegetable is not acceptable.

  16. This stuff about it sliding off of Kerry’s back because Clinton escaped worse, I’m not buying at all. For all his faults, Clinton was a brilliant politician in many respects, with popular positions and a likable (to most people) personality. As far as I can tell Kerry doesn’t have any of that. I honestly don’t see anything particularly appealing about Kerry. Someone like that is going to have a harder time getting away with this sort of nonsense.

  17. Thank you, Larry! Rather than appropriating money for projects, increasing sentences for something, creating new entitlements, or leading the charge for a war, Kerry is best known for leading investigations of government abuses.

    Yet for some reason, the libertarians at Reason keep presenting this as a strike against him.

  18. The problem, joe, is that his best-known investigations happened under a Republican President. How can we possibly support that sort of thing?

  19. It was Kerry that made his biography the issue. So it is fair to ask questions about the veracity of his preferred biographical narrative. The issue isn’t really whether Kerry threw away his medals or merely his ribbons. Sheesh. Talk about splitting hairs.

    It is about 1) his judgment, and 2) his honesty. Instead of forthrightly accepting responsibility for his actions, and then either reinforcing them or repudiating them, he seeks to avoid responsibility and have it both ways. To anti-war activists, he wants to emphasize his anti-war credentials, but to veterans and others, he wants to emphasize his patriotic service.

    Well, which is it. Is he pro-war or anti-war. He has the right to be as “nuanced” in his personal views as he wants. But the American public demands that he take a position on the most important issue facing this country in this election – the War on Terror. If he cannot choose a side, he is destined to be destroyed in November – by Ralph Nader on the left, and George Bush on the right.

    Time to shit or get off the pot, Senator.

  20. Don’t worry, joe, if you like him so much, you guys up the in Mass. can always keep sending him back to the Senate after the rest of us have smashed his dreams of being Prez.

  21. “I watched Kerry throw his war decorations.”

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/04/27/i_watched_kerry_throw_his_war_decorations/

    My favorite quote: “I watched Kerry argue for the less dramatic action, and lose.” Man, I’ve been watching that for 20 years.

  22. Poor Oliphant… in desperate need of a clue.

  23. Malak: {Please explain the difference between ‘catsup’ and ‘ketchup’.}

    The ‘catsup’ in the tree but he didn’t ‘ketchup’ with the bird. <groan>

    Actually, (Webster’s) they are alternate spellings, along with ‘catchup.’

  24. Using the Germanic “ketchup” rather than the Anglo “catsup” is clear indication that you’re on the side of the terrorists, along with all miserable pacifist Germans. I mean, look at Ms. Heinz (hmmmm….) company’s bottles.

    Put that on your freedom fries.

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