Jim Geraghty at NRO writes about that today. Here’s part of what Geraghty says, followed by my comments below the star line.
I'm not the first to make this point, but it seems the attacks on John McCain's war service stem from prominent Democrats completely misreading what happened with the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. The Democrats' conventional wisdom is that A) everything the group said was a lie and B) they attacked Kerry's wartime service.
A lot of [the Swift Vets] stories came down to their word against John Kerry's. Some of the points of contention were inconclusive, and some of the reactions their comments triggered, like convention delegates wearing "purple heart band-aids" on the floor of the convention, were crass. But they scored several major points.
The first was when they pointed out the impossibility of Kerry's story of "Christmas in Cambodia" that was "seared, seared" into his memory. When one of Kerry's oft-cited war stories had such a glaring impossibility at its heart (Richard Nixon wasn't president, and thus couldn't be denying bombing in Cambodia, on Christmas 1968) it raised doubts about all of his other accounts of the war.
Second, no Kerry supporter could dispute the candidate's postwar "Genghis Khan" testimony before Congress, which many Vietnam veterans saw as a betrayal. When it became clear that Kerry was referring to secondhand accounts, and had not himself seen soldiers cutting off heads and ears, many veterans saw that as reckless at best and most likely slander.
I'd argue that this was the Swift Boat Vet argument that really gained traction, and I suspect many voters saw it as a situation that revealed Kerry's character. …
Geraghty’s entire post’s here.
Here are four other things I feel sure helped the Swift Vets “score points:”
1) Dan Rather/CBS’s 60 Minutes episode which used the phony Texas Air National Guard documents to smear the President. Fair-minded citizens quickly understood the Rather/CBS story was a deliberate fraud.
Beside Rather and CBS, the Swiftees looked pretty good to those citizens.
2) Dan Rather’s and CBS News’ false claim, repeated for 10 days, that the anonymous source of the documents was “unimpeachable.” On Sept. 21, 2004 USA Today and other news organizations revealed what Rather and CBS had known all along: their source was long-time Bush-hater and Democratic activist Bill Burkett.
Now the Swiftees looked even better because the key things they were saying were holding up.
3) The Democratic dominated MSM’s frenzied pursuit of evidence as to whether President Bush had, as a National Guard officer during the 1970s, attended a few NG training sessions in Alabama. The Dem/MSM’s unintended message to the public: pay attention to everything these guys did in the service.
That was very bad for Kerry who wanted the public to pay attention to only some things he did in the service and said about the service of our military in Vietnam.
4) Most important of all in my opinion: Kerry’s failure to deliver on his promise to release all his Navy records. It didn’t help him that, despite a huge amount of news suppression by much of MSM, the word got out that Kerry reneaged on his promise after he’d read all his Navy records.
The Swiftees kept reminding the public of that.
That's what I think. What about you?
BTW – Kerry still hasn’t released all his Navy records, has he?