Sullivan on the Swift Boat Vets

As I’ve said before, when the unpredictable conservative pundit is good, he’s the best.

I’ve now gotten many emails defending the honor of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat vets and claiming that they had nothing – nothing – to do with the Bush campaign. Please. Do I think the vets have a right to say what they believe? Of course they do, and 527s are fine with me. Free speech and all that. Am I exercising a double-standard by not worrying about the Kerry-backed 527s? Hardly. I don’t recall my being soft on MoveOn.org and all the other hysterical anti-Bush screeds; and their connections to the Kerry campaign are obvious. But there is something different between cheap, ugly shots at presidential policy and quibbling with a man’s war medals. And it is surely naive to believe that the Bush campaign was unaware of this and that their Texas cronies didn’t help finance and produce the ads. If this had never occurred on Bush’s watch before, you might dismiss it. But obviously it is an old tactic he deploys whenever he needs to. I said so in the 2000 campaign, long before I endorsed Bush.

And there are still die-hards who believe this is an “independent” group motivated by altruism to edify us all as to Kerry’s deep character flaws — funded by old Texan buddies of bush/Rove and choreographed by the lady who pulled the same stunt on McCain four years ago. Any comparison with their manipulation of history with the ads of moveon.org taunting bush’s policies are absurd. As Sullivan says, please

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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