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Friday, August 13, 2004

WaPo has the scent, but can't or won't find the meat yet in the SwiftVets vs. Kerry controversy

Washingtonpost.com, the online version of WaPo, tonight posted a lengthy article by staff writer Terry M. Neal entitled "When is a Campaign Ad Not a Campaign Ad?" Because it's currently listed as an "online extra," I don't know whether it will or won't also appear in tomorrow's hardcopy WaPo, but I hope it does. Ostensibly it's an article about the so-called 527 organizations that have sprung up in the wake of recent campaign reform legislation, and it does indeed include some general discussion of issues common to those organizations. But almost the entire article is a discussion of the SwiftVets vs. Kerry controversy:
[T]his week it's another group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, that's getting all of the ink with ads accusing Kerry of being a liar and war coward.
Here's Mr. Neal's framing of the issues behind the controversy:
O'Neill and the group make the argument that Kerry lied or exaggerated facts to receive his three purple hearts, Bronze Star and Silver Star. O'Neill said he talked to more than 60 eyewitnesses, including former swift boat crewmen who served in the same division with Kerry during Vietnam and who take issue with his interpretation of events. It would take another book, or at least a long investigative report, to truth-squad every point made in the O'Neill book or the SBVT ads. And we won't attempt to do that here. We will, however, give you links to the organization's site, www.swiftvets.com, where, if you're really interested, you can get their side of the story — and view the anti-Kerry rhetoric — in detail. For the sake of fairness, we'll also provide you the link for David Brock's Media Matters website, which has done a comprehensive deconstruction of the SBVT's arguments. Media Matters also exposed anti-Catholic, anti-Islamic and otherwise outrageous statements made by Corsi over the years on the conservative FreeRepublic.com website. Instead, this column is meant to examine the larger issue of whether this group can rightly call itself non-partisan while suggesting that its goals are educational, rather than political.
Mr. Neal is absolutely right that it would take "another book, or at least a long investigative report, to truth-squad every point made in the O'Neill book or the SBVT ads." Among the rather major points that he neglects to mention at all, however, is the "Christmas in Cambodia" discrepancy — something that, compared to many of the other factual conflicts now being argued outside the mainstream media, is dirt simple. This omission is odd, especially given that the most recent example of Sen. Kerry claiming to have served in Cambodia was published by this very same Washington Post on June 1, 2003 — Kerry's "lucky CIA-guy hat" story that is now absolutely infamous outside the mainstream media, but as yet unmentioned within it. From a personal standpoint, I'm modestly proud to note that as of this moment, a Google search on the terms "Kerry lucky hat" or "Kerry hat Cambodia" turns up BeldarBlog as the number one or two search result. And yet, isn't that incredibly pathetic? Shouldn't the results of entering those search terms — which Google and similar search engines rank in order of relevance, which includes a heavy weighting for source credibility (as determined by super-secret algorithms which consider how often the source has been linked elsewhere on the net) — be giving off links to WaPo and the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune and CNN and ... well, you get my point, I hope. If George W. Bush were to claim that Chuck Yeager had given him a lucky rabbit's foot just before they flew a secret joint mission together over Cuba, do you honestly think the mainstream media would ignore that story?
Moreover, his protestations to the contrary about being unable to "truth-squad" the factual disputes between the SwiftVets and Sen. Kerry, Mr. Neal proceeds to regurgitate, albeit in toned-down vitriol, virtually all of the Kerry-Edwards 2004 and DNC talking points that have been trotted out over the last week to attempt to discredit the SwiftVets, collectively and (in the case of their principle spokesmen like John O'Neill) individually. In reading them here, as elsewhere, I'm continually struck by one thing: Only one side's spokesmen ever use the terms "smear" or "sleazy." John O'Neill, for example, has been called a partisan thug, a Colson protege, a career-long Kerry-hater, a Republican tool, and much worse. He'll defend himself from those charges, when asked about them, with polite and calm factual rebuttals. But he keeps his cool, and he never plays the victim card, no matter how tempting that must be. Compare, for example, this, from O'Neill's interview with the WaPo's Neal:
O'Neill acknowledged that only one of the SBVT members actually served in Kerry's boat. But he said that misses the point — the other former crewmen worked in close proximity to Kerry and have eyewitness accounts that contradict the senator's version of events. While he said he respected the opinions of those like McCain who have criticized the group for distorting Kerry's record, he said SBVT's members have a duty and have earned the right to speak out "against a man who came back home and falsely accused us of being war criminals and lied about his own record."
— to this, from Salon's Martin Lewis (registration or annoying ad req'd to view):
In 1971, John O'Neill was Richard Nixon's personal choice to attack Veterans Against the War leader John Kerry. Thirty-three years later, O'Neill is still on the attack. And as his recent lie on CNN shows, he has no more credibility now than he did then.... Respected historian Douglas Brinkley, author of "Tour of Duty," has studied Kerry's Vietnam record exhaustively. "These are malicious fabrications in the heat of the election," Brinkley says. He adds that O'Neill; Adm. Roy Hoffman, his main source; and the other Swift Boat Veterans "are simply malcontents who have never forgiven Kerry for his actions in speaking out against the war. They seek retribution by fabricating stories to destroy him. Hoffman, in particular, lacks credibility. His claims against Kerry have changed frequently. And John O'Neill has zero credibility. He was — and still is — Richard Nixon's patsy."
At its most virulent — as practiced by James Carville and Lanny Davis in what can only be described as a gang-rape on national television — the Kerry supporters' tactics consist of continuous shouting to block O'Neill from speaking. They literally will not allow O'Neill to get in a word edgewise. O'Neill neither ramps up to argue that John Kerry was "Ho Chi Minh's patsy" nor complains about the personal attacks that have been made on himself. Rather, O'Neill has the calm poise of an experienced courtroom lawyer who's fought hard cases in tough venues before. He knows from experience that eventually, if only one side is shotgun-blasting the loaded rhetoric while the other side is rifle-shooting the objective facts, the jury will eventually notice. Some of them will be swayed and inflamed by the rhetoric, but as the voice tones and the body language and the sputtering and the ugliness begin to penetrate into their collective unconsciousness, the jury will draw the appropriate inferences.
WaPo's Mr. Neal eventually gets back to the ostensible subject of his piece, the 527s. After characterizing the SwiftVets' arguments as thinly veiled attempts to promote Bush's re-election rather than educate the public about Sen. Kerry, he offers a nice and rather important factual counterpoint:
However much Kerry supporters may gripe about SBVT, the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity — which has filed its own complaints against SBVT — has found that almost 95 percent of contributions to 527 groups this year have gone to Democratic-leaning organizations. Democrats can complain about SBVT, but it may be a can of worms they opened themselves with their aggressive efforts to navigate around the spirit of the very campaign finance law they championed.
In plain terms, if the campaign finance laws are being broken — a subject on which I have no firm opinion, because I can't make sense of the new laws and strongly suspect that they make no sense and are incapable of meaningful enforcement — the (not-so-secretly) pro-Kerry team has been breaking the law ninety-five times for every five times the (not-so-secretly) pro-Bush team has done so. (In fact, given the polarization of current politics, it may actually be more accurate to describe the opposing 527 organizations as genuinely anti-Bush or anti-Kerry, rather than pro-anybody.)
One of the things I tell my clients is that lawsuits aren't like soccer games or hockey games, where one or two big plays decide the outcome and the final score is 2-1 or 3-0. They're more like pro basketball games, in the old ABA days, when the final score may be 148-144 after three overtimes. I'm not sure how far either sports or courtroom metaphors can be extended to politics, but that won't stop me from trying. My sense is that the refs still aren't calling any but the most obvious of one team's fouls, and they're whistling dead some shots from the other team that would have overwise counted because they clearly caught nothing but net. They're still ignoring altogether about half, or maybe two-thirds, of the playing court. They know who they would like to see win, or maybe who they think ought not to win. But O'Neill and the SwiftVets are scoring some points. The fans are beginning to heckle some of the more egregious fouls and the refs for refusing to call them. The team that was heavily favored coming into the game has thrown some bricks and some clangers and some airballs; they're not winning by the forfeit they expected, and they're starting to sweat; and that team's star player has got to be worried that he's close to being in foul trouble. The game's a long way from being over. Just speaking for myself, I like the trends. BeldarBlog may yet lose its place in the Google rankings — and on the day when WaPo links top BeldarBlog links for "Kerry lucky hat," I'll be lifting a glass to the SwiftVets. Update (Sat Aug 14 @ 9:15am): Just ran a Technorati search on the URL for this story — precisely one match, that being, of course, this post. Why do I get the feeling that poor Mr. Neal's mother and I are the only two people in the world who've read his story? I tried to find Neal's email address, but it's not in the list of WaPo staff writer emails — perhaps because he's only staff for the online edition? I did note that since I first posted it, however, they've changed the title of Mr. Neal's article to "'Nonpartisan' Swift Boat Ad?" Still no MSM mentions of Christmas in Cambodia, though.

Posted by Beldar at 12:05 AM in Law (2006 & earlier), Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to WaPo has the scent, but can't or won't find the meat yet in the SwiftVets vs. Kerry controversy and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Wealthy Liberals for Kerry from Random Observations

Tracked on Aug 13, 2004 12:51:35 PM

» So... are these Free Range "Journalists" we're discussing? from Who Tends the Fires

Tracked on Aug 15, 2004 3:42:58 AM

» Kerry, Cambodia and the SwiftVets - The Vets are not the story from Solomonia

Tracked on Aug 15, 2004 11:55:08 AM

» A Matter of Honor from dislogue

Tracked on Aug 16, 2004 10:34:48 AM


(1) 4moreyears made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 7:46:18 AM | Permalink

O'Neill rightously exposes kerry (small "K").
Justice and reconcilement of distorted history have been a long time in coming. Finally, thanks to John O'Neill those who served during Viet Nam will have their honor restored...the honor which kerry stole from them in his self centered opportunistic gambit to advance his own political aspirations. For kerry to be praised is to heap more insult on those who really served with courage, dignity and honor. I say to kerry's defenders, you are complicite in inflicting more tragedy on America in the name of partisan politics. Get a conscious.

(2) Robert Crawford made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 9:59:33 AM | Permalink

Brinkley calls O'Neill a "patsy"?! This from a guy who left all the "secret mission into Cambodia" stuff out of his "definitive" book, then rushes to get it into print when the campaign is feeling the heat?!


(3) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 10:10:40 AM | Permalink

Wow, views on Kerry's military service are split on party lines. Imagine that.

Well, that's not quite true. Everyone on the left PLUS a good chunk of those on the right are on Kerry's side, while only the most dedicated right-wingers continue to prop up SBVT.

News flash: when it's your word against theirs and you have a political agenda, you're generally considered to be making it up. And most of the time, you are. It's no media bias, it's just how it works when the shouts are many but the facts are few.

(4) Dan S made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 12:35:12 PM | Permalink

"News flash: when it's your word against theirs and you have a political agenda, you're generally considered to be making it up. And most of the time, you are. It's no media bias, it's just how it works when the shouts are many but the facts are few."

au contraire, Mssr Provocateur,

News flash: When there is documentary evidence in existence that could prove or disprove the accusations and the accused refuses to release that evidence, it is hardly unreasonable to expect that evidence will not support the position of the accused.

If the facts are few, it is because Kerry is hiding and obscuring them.

Pray tell, why would a noble hero of Vietnam who loves his country and wishes to lead the most powerful military in the world be concerned about informing the public as to the facts of his glorious acts?

It would be unreasonable to NOT wonder.

(5) J Murphy made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 12:55:49 PM | Permalink


I read what I can on the Swift Boat Vet issues, and I have never seen anything to indicate that views on Kerry's military service are split on party lines. Last night, to Chris Matthew's apparent surprise, John O' Neill had to correct him when Matthews called O'Neill a Republican. O'Neil said he voted for Al Gore, and twice for Ross Perot (the man who put Clinton in office, if you will remember)and he was actively supporting a Democratic candidate for Mayor in Houston. O'Neill said that the 200 plus witnesses quoted in the book come from diverse political backgrounds. Can you cite to something factual to support your claims, or is it just your opinion?

I agree you have to look at political agendas, and clearly Kerry has the most obvious agenda. In contrast, the SBVT have nothing to gain from speaking out. So based on your aphorism, SBVT are to believed and Kerry is not.

Another news flash: When a large group of respected individuals, who have nothing to gain from doing so, swear under oath to certain facts about several events, and the response is NOT to address these facts, but resort to strawmen, shouting, interrupting, and ad hominem attacks, while witholding documents which can resolve some of the issues, you are generally considered to have lots to hide, and no way to address the substance of the facts.

(6) Birkel made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 2:18:17 PM | Permalink

A more prescient sports analogy would be playing a basketball game while your opponents' parents are the referees. Those parents/refs/journalists would probably like to be fair but can't quite help seeing things in "the light most favorable" to their children/candidate/client.
Thought you'd appreciate the civ pro reference Beldar...

(7) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 2:59:41 PM | Permalink

Dan S:

I'm confused, are you speaking of Kerry's Vietnam records or Bush's National Guard records? I honestly can't tell. What "documentary evidence" exactly are you speaking of? His medical records? Please. That's a ploy to get Kerry's full medical history in the papers. Show me a politician that has done that. Ever.

Honestly, I find the lack of perspective here astonishing, considering the incredible lengths many on the right went to assert the inappropriateness of a discussion of Bush's ANG service record.

J Murphy:

If O'Neill's voting claims are true--for which, again, we must take his word--he certainly accepts plenty of help from Republicans, including the group that led the attack on McCain's war record. Plus, don't forget that O'Neill was tapped by Nixon himself for a direct campaign to discredit Kerry, a "thorn" in Nixon's side.

There is also the tiny, tiny matter of BOOK SALES. Saying they have "nothing to gain" is a bit disingenuous.

It's the oldest game in the politics. A war record reflects strongly on a candidate. You can't persuade voters otherwise, so you have to say the candidate is lying. It happens again and again and again. For Bush, he's had this kind of help twice in a row. While it's not his doing, he certainly doesn't comdemn it, and I'm sure he doesn't mind.

Don't be mad just because the media's not taking the bait.

(8) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 3:12:57 PM | Permalink

To expand on the Nixon thing above, don't forget what this is really all about:

"We resent very deeply the false war crimes charges he made coming back from Vietnam in 1971 and repeated in the book 'Tour of Duty.' We think those cast an aspersion on all those living and dead, from our unit and other units in Vietnam. We think that he knew he was lying when he made the charges, and we think that they're unsupportable. We intend to bring the truth about that to the American people.

"We believe, based on our experience with him, that he is totally unfit to be the Commander-in-Chief."

— John O'Neill

He's just pissed, and always has been, about Kerry's testimony after the war. It's easy to see how this spun into the smear campaign it has become.

(9) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 3:13:07 PM | Permalink


All the proceeds from the book are going to charity. Unlike Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, etc.

You might want to check YOUR allegations before slinging them.

Don't be mad, just because the media's not influencing the sheeple!

(10) Dan S made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 3:17:24 PM | Permalink


You are the one ignoring the salient fact that Kerry is running on his record as a Vietnam vet. Bush is not running on his record as an ANG vet.

Kerry released a limited subset of his military records. He did not release fitreps for his whole service time, not after action reports, nor even the records for the medals he's touting.

In the current situation, where the vast majority of those serving in his unit at the same time are saying he's unfit and his reputation is based on something other than the facts, the FULL record is germaine.

And he won't release it.

Why not?

(11) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 3:43:19 PM | Permalink

I can find no reference to the books' proceeds going to charity. Are you sure you don't mean 527 organization? Or is this something O'Neill just mentioned off-hand? Sounds very suspicious.

Dan S:

Why hasn't he released them all? Probably because he's secretly a North Vietnamese operative. The CIA was secretly fighting both sides, and it arrandged for him to receive all those medals in order to conceal it.

Or maybe he just doesn't want people who hate him sorting through every last detail of his record. It's pretty obvious that Bush is doing the same thing.

And it's pretty obvious why you and others like you aren't as curious about Bush's record as you are about Kerry's.

To quote swiftvets.com:
"Why are you not demanding that President Bush release his records?

"It is our understanding that President Bush has released his records."

REEEEEAAALLY. If you're going to be fanatical about a minor point, at least pick one that isn't also relevant to the candidate you support.

(12) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 3:53:57 PM | Permalink

Oh, and just found this. Somehow, his voting record seems awfully suspicious, considering he gave money to Bush I, Perot's opponent, and has never given any money to Democrats.

Moreover, since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, O'Neill has contributed $14,650 to federal candidates or national political organizations -- all Republicans:

2004: $2,000 to Duane Sand (ND)
1999: $1,000 to Peter Staub Wareing (TX)
1998: $250 to Rudy Izzard (TX)
1996: $1,000 to Brent Perry (TX)
1994: $2,500 to Texas Republican Congressional Committee
1993: $2,500 to Texas Republican Congressional Committee
1992: $1,000 to Texas Republican Congressional Committee
1992: $1,000 George H.W. Bush
1992: $1,000 to Clark Kent Ervin (TX)
1991: $1,000 to Clark Kent Ervin (TX)
1990: $400 to Hugh Dunham Shine (TX)
1990: $1,000 to A Tribute To Ronald Reagan

(13) Dan S made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 4:13:47 PM | Permalink


You're still refusing to admit the fact that Kerry is running on his Vietnam record.

Bush is not.

All of your arguments are hitting wide as long as you do not face that. I don't care what Bush's records say (within reason) because he's making no claims based upon them.

Kerry is. In fact he isn't claiming much else. And we already have a lot of reason to doubt his sincerity because of his post-war conduct which can only be described as despicable.

The issue is not what is the motive of the Swift Veterans for Truth. They aren't running for the Presidency. The issue is whether or not their allegations have merit. They do. One series of fabrications has already been exposed (the Cambodia line). That has apready impeached the witness.

The only quetion now is how much more of his "legend" is factual, and how much is pure self-puffery.

Misdirection will not work.

Sign the Form 180, Mssr. Kerry, or prove yourself afraid to face (and allow us to face) the facts.

(14) Chris made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 4:27:50 PM | Permalink

Dan S:

"Mssr." Kerry? Conversation over. Someday, you'll figure out why your game, the way you're playing it, can't be won. I'm glad you're on the other side.

(15) J Murphy made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 5:34:07 PM | Permalink


Thanks for raising the Nixon boogeyman. You keep confirming that the Kerry supporters can not rebut the substance of the Swift Boat Vets, and resort to scare tactics.

Nixon did not "tap" O'Neill to attack Kerry in 1971. O'Neill had challenged Kerry to a debate on the charges Kerry was making. On his own O'Neill set up a debate on the Dick Cavett show. O'Neill did visit Nixon once the White House heard of his desire to defend the honor of the returning veterans against Kerry's charges. To Nixon's probable embarassment, at that meeting O'Neill told Nixon that O'Neill had voted for Humphrey in '68.

Of course, as I pointed out in an early posting, the supporters of Kerry have nothing more than ad hominem attacks and hand waving to offer in response to the Swift Boat Vets testimony.

Perhaps I am following this more closely than you, but O'Neill has said repeatedly that he is not making anything on the book, that it is being donated to Navy Relief. He also points out that all of the Swift Boat Vets wished they did not have to be involved, but thought they had a duty to speak out (the same way they felt they had a duty to serve in Viet Nam). They really have nothing to gain other than the knowledge they are doing the right thing despite obstacles.

(16) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 5:51:06 PM | Permalink

Doug Brinkley, REPORTING FOR DUTY, at the Telegraph:

"But Mr Brinkley rejected accusations that the senator had never been to Cambodia, insisting he was telling the truth about running undisclosed 'black' missions there at the height of the war.

"He said: 'Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys.' The missions were not armed attacks on Cambodia, said Mr Brinkley, who did not include the clandestine missions in his wartime biography of Mr Kerry, Tour of Duty."

I'm sure Brinkley has the names of the people who accompanied Kerry on these missions, and it will be just a matter of a day or two before he publishes them.

(17) jcrue made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 6:34:04 PM | Permalink


Do you have factual evidence that proves what the Swift Boat Vets are saying is false?

Do you have factual evidence that proves what Kerry is saying is true?

A simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice but if you have the proof, please share it with us.

(18) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 7:14:14 PM | Permalink

Chris, roughly $1000 per year in total campaign contributions over the last fifteen years or so doesn't strike me as a political heavy hitter. Remember, John O'Neill is a name partner in one of Houston's most successful law firms. I seriously doubt that he's remotely close to the John Edwards-Fred Baron plaintiffs' PI kind of fortune, since his firm's income comes mostly from hourly rate rather than contingent fee business. But he's certainly not missing any meals, and lawyers in his likely income bracket routinely give multiples of this total amount per year.

These amounts, my friend, simply aren't an indication of an insider or a political kingmaker or a party fat-cat, but of a guy who's damned selective about his contributions — and even then makes them mostly on a local level. I think you've proved rather the opposite of what you were trying to. Thanks for the data, though.

I was also impressed that when Slate was trying to "tar" O'Neill as a Republican, apparently the most recent record they could find of him voting in a Republican primary was 1998. That, of course, was not a presidential election year. Dubya was running unopposed in that primary for re-election as governor and, as predicted, won in a slaughter in the general election, so that wasn't a reason to vote in the Republican primary. By contrast, Republicans have had a lock on county offices in Harris County for the last several elections. I know lots of yellow-dog Democrat lawyers who vote in the Republican primary because they want to have some say in county elections for judges, just as Texas Republicans in the old days used to vote in the Democratic primary to have a say in down-ballot races in which the Dem primary winner would be unopposed in the general election.

Re O'Neill having voted for and supported a Democrat for Mayor of Houston: Bill White was a year ahead of me at Texas Law School and I worked for him when he was editor in chief of the Texas Law Review. He tried hard to run for mayor on a nonpartisan basis, and was generally successful; Houston voters rejected his opponent's attempts to tar him as a liberal Democrat in what has traditionally been perceived as a potholes-and-stoplights office. I voted for Bill White, too — he's honest, energetic, and wicked smart, and I think he's making a fine mayor. I'd never vote for him for a statewide or national office, though, because in fact he is a liberal Democrat.

White, in fact, notwithstanding his last "nonpartisan" campaign, is a classic example of the species Lawyerus Politico. He went from successful trial lawyer, to backscenes advisor and fundraiser, to campaign manager, to political appointee (Dept. Sec'y of Energy for Clinton), to Dem state party boss, to mayor. O'Neill, however, while equally smart and energetic and successful, has done none of those things. You couldn't ask for a sharper contrast.

(19) Gman made the following comment | Aug 14, 2004 12:48:49 AM | Permalink

Ground control to Major Chris: Lace up your Nike's, wrap your purple shawl over your dome, pack your bags, take a big gulp of the punch and go wait on the curb. Capt. Kerry will be by in early November to pick you and the rest of your "cult" members up in the mothership. Funny when it was uncovered that Clinton was a draft dodger the libs said that "military service had nothing to do with being president" and now all of a sudden it "means everything"? A bit hypocritical wouldn't you say? Kerry's campaign is coming apart like a Kmart sweater and it's so amusing to watch the DNC scramble. This is coming to you live from Cambodia, well how about close to Cambodia. Well then how about downtown Burbank. I hope they make a reality show out of the you guys (the DNC), it would be a riot! We could get Fred Gwynn (from The Munsters) to play Kerry and maybe Ron Howard (Opie) to play Edwards. Let me see who else could be in this show..........................? Just got a call from Hawaii, Jim Nabors wants to be McGreevey. It will definitely be a comedy of errors based on the daily workings of the democratic campaign trail. Stay tuned for more blunders coming your way.

(20) Chris made the following comment | Aug 14, 2004 1:24:53 AM | Permalink

Gman, making election predictions in the comments of someone else's blog? Nice. Potshots at the Dems? Even better. I'm sure you're printing these out to remember them; obviously, you mean every word.

It's good to hear that O'Neill and friends don't WANT to come out and attack Kerry, they just HAD to. We are all just knee-deep in facts now.

Beldar, it's obvious to everyone that O'Neill isn't a political "fat cat." But giving money to Bush I and then saying you voted for Perot is rather stupid, though not necessarily proof of lying. Does it happen? Sure, but it's a bit unusual. Just remember to give Kerry the same benefits of the doubt you give O'Neill.

Look, never have I said O'Neill is a lying backstabber, or even that he's not very nice. I'm just saying, have a little perspective. If you really think this is all 100% true and that Kerry is just a reporter's question away from self-destruction, then I guess you believe what you believe. Just don't be convinced that you have the market cornered on reasonable interpretations of this situation.

(21) Chris made the following comment | Aug 14, 2004 1:34:00 AM | Permalink

Oh, and obviously some of you have read more about this than I. I only just this morning read the dirt on co-author Corsi. What's everyone's take on him? Just that crazy right-wing sense of humor? Oh, but he's not one of O'Neill's "independents," is he?

(22) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 14, 2004 7:22:11 AM | Permalink

My recollection is that Perot dropped out of the race for a while in 1992 after the "wedding conspiracy" bit. A Perot supporter who was also a Clinton opponent might well have concluded at that moment that a contribution to Bush-41 was prudent, yet have cast a vote for Perot when he re-entered the race.

I have no personal experience with Dr. Corsi, nor much second-hand knowledge of his career. I'd simply note that he's apologized for the comments which struck many as being offensive, and that given that he's not himself a SwiftVet, I'm not terribly concerned about his credibility one way or the other.

Finally, I don't claim to have a monopoly on reasonable interpretations, Chris — one reason I keep my comments section open is to encourage debate that might, conceivably, influence some folks' opinions, and your comments are very welcome.

Gman, please keep your comments civil. I personally think Kmart sweaters can be a good value, even though I doubt Sen. Kerry owns any. And if Ron Howard is to play Edwards, he's gonna have to get a really good wig.

(23) Gman made the following comment | Aug 14, 2004 2:03:47 PM | Permalink

Sorry Chris, I forgot only libs have first amendment rights. I don't spend my life "blogging" so maybe there's something here I'm missing. Isn't this an open forum? Have your attorneys at the DNC send me a threatening letter, that might make me stop. NOT! Sorry Beldar, I'll try to be more "sensitive" to the other side but their hypocrisy drives me nuts. When their own party leaders say that there are WMD's and that Saddam needs to be dealt with yet they call Bush a liar for saying the same thing, that's a concern. When you know your candidate is inferior yet you vote for him anyway (anyone but Bush montra), that's a concern. I've had democratic friends tell me that they don't like Kerry but they hate Bush more so Kerry get's their vote. The Swiftboat Vets come off as truthful and sincere (even a little sensitive too), that's a lot more than I can say for the Bush haters turned authors and directors. No matter what Bush does or says, the left is still going to hate him. It is no longer a government for the people, it's more like a gov't for the party. This is a time when the people need to unite but I'm afraid there's just too many Chris's out there. And Chris I don't need to make copies of my posts to remember them. When you believe something in your heart it's stays with you and becomes a way of life. It's when you lie and spread inuendos that you need to make copies so you can remember all the hate you spew. Sometimes having it in print still doesn't help, does it Chris? Was Kerry in Cambodia or wasn't he? If he lied about that, why should we believe anything else he says? Have you noticed that when the left is asked questions where they know their screwed, they just ignore them and start chanting their liberal montras about Bush? There are some good democrats but unfortunately for them and the party , the devisive haters are getting all of the exposure from the bias media. Beldar if I am intruding on your space I apologize. I just needed to get this off of my chest and I thought this was an open forum.

(24) HH made the following comment | Aug 17, 2004 7:22:31 PM | Permalink

"If O'Neill's voting claims are true--for which, again, we must take his word--he certainly accepts plenty of help from Republicans"


On the subject of contributions the record was corrected in Brit Hume's interview with O'Neill tonight. The Ctr. for Responsive Politics has apparently attributed contributions to O'Neill that were from another O'Neill.

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