Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bob Dole's Devastating Impact On the Kerrry Campaign

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have had a significant impact on the Kerry Campaign. The impact is beginning to show in the polls. However, perhaps the most devastating statement to the Kerry Campaign has come not from the Swift Boat Veterans but from one of the most liked, respected, level-headed, soft-spoken, least partisan partisans to ever walk the halls of the Senate. Bob Dole. Bob Dole is all of those things plus a severely wounded WWII veteran to boot. His wounds are so severe that he has little to no use of his right arm. Bob Dole made his views on the Swift Boat Controversy and more importantly, John Kerry's reaction to it, known on CNN's Late Edition Monday night. The appearance made headlines and has had an impact on the race. Bob Dole made another appearance, this time on MSNBC's “Scarborough Country".

He gave an interview and it is likely to have as much impact on the electorate as the ads run by the Swift Boat Veterans. Below are excerpts:

-So this time you’ve got a candidate named John Kerry who had a good record in Vietnam, came back from the service, denounced the war, in effect, trashed the Americans who were still fighting there. Went before a Senate committee in April of 1971, threw away his ribbons or his medals or whatever and now is standing before the American people and saying you’ve got to elect me because I’m this Vietnam hero.

And it’s kind of hard to reconcile all of these things. So it does sort of bring up focus that I don’t think we’ve had in the past.

-I think you can do it in a different way, John Kerry’s a friend of mine. I sent a signal about two or three months ago on television, “John, back off. You know, cool it. Don’t make the Vietnam War the centerpiece of your campaign.”

But he’s got a problem, because he spent 20 years in the Senate and doesn’t have much to show for it.

-I said, “Well, John, I’m disappointed, too, in all these undeserved attacks on President Bush. If you want to question Dick Cheney’s deferment, that’s fine. If you want to question the National Guard, that’s fine. But John, these other guys, these swift boat veterans are a lot of them that have a different view of what happened than you have, and they have a right to speak. We live in the United States of America. It’s a free country. You may not like what they say, but they have a right to say it.”

-He said, “I haven’t spent one dime in my campaign on a negative ad.”
Well, he doesn’t have to. He’s got George Soros, who put in $15 million. He’s got Harold Ickes up there cranking out millions of dollars of ads. He’s got his former campaign manager in Boston in another group called Bringing America Together.
President Bush to his credit, and I wish John Kerry would follow suit, said, “Let’s stop all these so-called 527 ads, all these soft money ads that have been so critical. Let’s talk about the issues.”

Why are the words of Bob Dole so devastating for the Kerry Campaign? Because they are true, and because they are delivered in a way that is not offensive to undecideds and independents. Only the most hardened, leftist, Bush Hating Kerry supporters will not admit that what Bob Dole has said in his two public appearances is true. They may not like the fact that it is being said, but they know that it is true.

The Swift Boat Ads have accomplished two things. They have allowed the American people, many for the first time, to see that there is another side to John Kerry's Vietnam Service. Many people were not aware of John Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate. They weren't aware that while we had POW's being tortured and men dying on the field that John Kerry was running around the country leading protests and meeting with the North Vietnamese. John Kerry never talks about those things when he is telling crowds about his medals.

The ads have also highlighted the fact that John Kerry has nothing to run on but his four months in Vietnam. The record he has tallied in the Senate in the past 20 years is almost unbelievable. He has been on the wrong side of every national security issue, he has voted to raise taxes every chance he has had, and he has supported the most extreme abortion legislation with every vote. If he is forced to run on his record, the election is over. His only chance for victory was to convince the American people that he could be a strong leader because he served in Vietnam. Now people are realizing that he cannot reconcile his campaigning as a war hero with what he did when he returned. Bob Dole has pointed that out in a way no one else had, and it has made an impact on the campaign.