Thursday, September 28, 2006

Notes on partisanship: Putting the Swifties in perspective 

Tom Bevan, proprietor of RealClearPolitics, was one of the participants at the previously discussed Pajamas Media panel discussion Tuesday night, the topic of which was "How partisan is too partisan"? In an essay that essentially concludes that partisanship is in the eye of the beholder, Bevan makes a couple of interesting observations about the influence of the "Swift Boat" veterans on the 2004 presidential campaign, a subject that outraged John Kerry's defenders, and which received virtually no credible coverage in the mainstream media:

One reason the question of "how partisan is too partisan" is almost impossible to answer is because the concept of partisanship is itself too subjective. The example I cited last night was the Swift Boat Veterans from the 2004 campaign. Basically half the country - meaning the 48% who voted for John Kerry - viewed the Swift Boat Veterans as an egregiously partisan attack. The other half of the country - or at least a good portion of the 51% who ended up voting for George W. Bush - thought it was perfectly legitimate, indeed newsworthy, that more than 100 of John Kerry's fellow Vietnam vets, including nearly all of his commanders, came forward and went on record to say that he was unfit to serve as Commander in Chief for a variety of reasons.

I think most would agree that if 100-plus members of the Texas Air National Guard had come forward in the same manner to denounce George W. Bush in either 2000 or 2004, liberals would have had a much different opinion on the matter - and the media would have covered it extensively.

Looking back at it, the media spent a lot of time parsing the Swifties' specific claims about the events for which John Kerry received medals, and decided that the attacks were not credible and the whole discussion was undignified. According to my frail recollection, there was fair less discussion in the press about the basic point, that 100 of John Kerry's former mates had stepped forward to denounce him. That fact, which I believe the left ignored because they assumed it was residual bitterness over his "Winter Soldier" testimony, was a clue to an underlying truth: John Kerry is not a very attractive person to average Americans, particularly average American men. Either way, there is no doubt that had the same thing happened to George W. Bush it would have suddenly become an important and legitimate story, at least on West 43rd Street.

CWCID: Paul Mirengoff.


By Blogger K. Pablo, at Thu Sep 28, 07:25:00 AM:

That was some of the best campaign contribution money I ever spent. Hell, I STILL feel like I owe the Swifties some money....  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 28, 12:24:00 PM:

Just thinking, that contemporaneously, CBS and Dan Rather were pushing the story regarding GWB and the TANG. There was quite a dust-up regarding how "truthful" was Dan's paper trail, but I never saw any of his peers denouncing him to the degree (or at all, for that matter) that the Swift Boat vets were denounced by those "objective" news types.

The popular arbiters of 'partisanship' seem to frequently be the same people who are the gatekeepers of the news cycle.
And just as an aside, I am old enough and remember clearly a young John Kerry being featured for his "Winter Soldier" testimony on the evening news (any of the networks), and how several of the anchors/reporters made asides about his political potential, in 1971. A handsome, young "John Kennedy" type, was a common refrain in those days.


By Anonymous Jake, at Thu Sep 28, 03:35:00 PM:

Right wing pigs, not real conservatives, love to smear and trash their opponents with trash like the redneck Swifties. All it ever is to you reactionary morons is war, war, war, with your Cracker Jesus agreeing 100%! Anyone who thinks that that silver spoon preppy baby's Nam record is better than Kerry probably believes Bush is a simple honest godfearing cowboy. Bush Sr. was a real hero and the youngest carrier pilot in the USN in WWll, but did you see him play flyer after the first Gulf War?  

By Anonymous Jonas Pell, at Thu Sep 28, 03:37:00 PM:

partisanship is the life and blood of all the ditto heads who believe all the crap on the AM talkers!  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Sep 28, 10:08:00 PM:


I don't think *anybody* has alleged that George W. Bush's 'Nam record is better than John Kerry's. George Bush himself has been very clear that he was pretty much a wash-up before the age of 40, and made it quite clear in the campaign that Kerry had a more distinguished record. That was never the point. The question is, are you missing it on purpose, or by mistake?  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Thu Sep 28, 11:05:00 PM:

I prefer the 8lb. 12 oz. Baby Jesus to Cracker Jesus.  

By Anonymous Jakemeister, at Thu Sep 28, 11:54:00 PM:

I bet Jesus agrees 100% with Bush. Start a war, legitimize torture, expand police surveillance, smear opponents, cut social programs. Their Cracker Jesus is all about fascist hypocrites who candy coat their crap with theo-babble so the stupid hicks will swallow their nonsense. As far as the Swifties go, they were motivated mainly by hate, revenge and politics, the kind of ugliness that the GOP taps into so well! My swipe at junior is that he acts and dressed like he is Ike in '44 when his father just did his job in business clothes!  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Sep 29, 07:34:00 PM:

Wow, a living breathing moonbat asshole.

I feel stupider for having read your words. No, not because I'm in awe of your blistering logic; but becuse I feel tainted by it. Congratulations.

Go protest something.  

By Anonymous BIRD OF PARIDISE, at Sun Oct 01, 03:34:00 PM:

I trust the swift boat vets before i trust the liberal left-wing red press  

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