THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN:
RELEVANT & IRRELEVANT ISSUES
By Christopher G. Adamo
How else can the scandal of fabricated memos, attributed to Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian, be construed? Though refuted by Killian’s family along with every other living member of Bush’s former chain of command, the question remains as to whether or not President Bush’s past actions, supposedly called into question by Killian, bear any relevance whatsoever to his present fitness as Commander in Chief.
Throughout the previous administration, Bill Clinton was dogged by references to his “I smoked but did not inhale” statement. While Clinton’s worthiness as President need not be considered from a standpoint of whether or not he had engaged in foolish behavior as a young man, it should rightly have been assessed from the perspective of whether he, when confronted, would be responsible and honorable enough to forthrightly admit to having done so.
The country did not, and does not, need a leader whose primary characteristic is an uncanny ability to lie his way out of responsibility. For we now know that such an individual, who does not possess the responsibility to willingly and truthfully confess to foolish indiscretions in his younger days, turns out to be equally incapable of admitting to major flaws in this nation’s intelligence apparatus. Ultimately, those shortfalls completely thwarted the pursuit of a murderous renegade who was methodically constructing plans to wreak massive death and destruction on America.
Had George Bush’s drunk driving episode (to date, the most notable “skeleton” that Democrats have been able to discover in his closet) been part of consistent actions by which he regularly endangered others and impaired his ability to think clearly in critical situations, it might well have been a factor worthy of deliberation among those who support him.
In truth it was nothing of the sort, but rather, an isolated incident of indiscretion that is sadly typical of younger days, and which he has clearly put behind him. The American Founders, understanding the necessity of maturity for such a prominent position, wisely put in place a minimum age limit of 35 years for anyone aspiring to the nation’s highest office.
So, should John Kerry get the same pass on the activities in his past, as his supporters assert? Kerry’s situation varies from George Bush to an enormous degree. For, although Bush’s behavior was wrong (which he readily admits), it was in no way a harbinger of continuing patterns throughout his life.
Had John Kerry’s self-aggrandizing antics during his four months in Vietnam been likewise an isolated incident, it would bear little relevance to the 2004 campaign. But such is clearly not the case.
The shameless manner in which he attempted to glorify his “heroics” on the rivers of Vietnam, both in homemade films and in his accounts given in official reports, proved to be only the beginning of a long record of outrageous conduct. It was soon followed by his treacherous condemnation of fellow servicemen, once he was safely back in the United States.
What began on Kerry’s Swift Boat has emerged during the intervening years as a seamless pattern of deception and falsehood, invariably fabricated in a manner that would portray John Kerry as a great hero, and perpetrated with total disregard for its possible adverse effects on his fellow countrymen.
It is patently obvious that Kerry’s demoralizing effect on America in its efforts to wage war against Islamic terrorists is, in many respects, identical to that which he inflicted on fellow servicemen by his 1971 Senate testimony. In all cases, he was willing to distort and undermine the work and sacrifices of America’s military personnel for the sake of his own personal gain.
With each new ad released by the 527 organization, “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” Democratic Party operatives hysterically revert to their demands that the political campaigns focus on present-day issues of importance, rather than revisiting the past. But, with so much at stake, America can ill afford to feign ignorance to this consistently shortsighted and self-absorbed behavior. It is certain that America’s enemies are watching.
American Government & the U.S. Presidency
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