IN THE NEWS
I guess you have to be a goggle-eyed rube to expect the American press to stop pointing the camera at the Swift Boat Veterans. No matter how much they've discredited themselves, poisoned public discourse, re-opened old Vietnam wounds and rubbed salt in them, and generally demonstrated how odious they truly are, they're still getting air time and column inches of print from the mainstream media.
I guess I need to look in the mirror for tell-tale signs of Rubus goggleoculus. I had thought that, by now, someone would have turned off the mike, not returned the phone calls, scratched them from the talking head invitee list. Even James Corsi's anti-Muslim, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic rants weren't a painful enough jab to the journalistic dinosaur's tail for the walnut-sized brain at the other end to register that something had happened.
When I last wrote about this issue (and believe me, I really, really hate writing about this noxious distraction from things that really matter), I noted that Bill Clinton, when he was running for the presidency in 1992, chose to leave George Bush's World War II service record alone. He apparently assumed it was as honorable as portrayed, and in no way would it have been proper to make it a campaign issue. Bush's odd story about, while floating in the middle of the Pacific after being shot down by a Japanese fighter, thinking about the separation of church and state was an open invitation to at least a few good snipes. But no, the Democratic contender stayed away from that "character" issue.
Someone, however, attacked Bush Sr.'s service record with the ferocity of a rabid badger. Care to guess who that someone is? No, not Al Sharpton. Not James Carville. Not Al Gore.
The badger/human hybrid in question was James Sampley, founder of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry. Sampley claims that Bush bailed out too early, leaving his fellow fighter pilots in mortal danger. (Click here, if you can stomach it, for more background on Sampley.)
Contrast the likes of Sampley, Corsi, and O'Neill with John McCain and David Ifshin. You'll note where the link goes, to a Christian minister's account of the McCain/Ifshin friendship. Randy Becton, the minister, wants people to see in this story a Christian parable of reconciliation and respect.
Thomas Jefferson once hired someone to smear John Adams in print. (When Jefferson didn't completely pay, the author retaliated by publishing the rumor about Jefferson's affair with Sally Hemmings.) The incident destroyed the friendship between the two men, who took year to finally reconcile with one another. A hard lesson learned early in the republic--or maybe not.