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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Rising above the smear 

Liberal Oasis links to the new Kerry ads - JohnKerry.com - Heart & Lifetime which LO likes a lot -- so do I -- simple, direct, and positive.
I just posted a Kvetch at Counterspin about the importance of Dems talking about what a great leader Kerry has been and will be, to counter the message of the RNC smear campaigns. The RNC and Tricky Dicky Dubya are trying to bury Kerry's outstanding Vietnam record with dirty tricks -- the stupid medals controversy last week, the swiftboat stuff this week fronted by a veterans group of closet republicans who didn't even serve with Kerry. Joe Conason reports the background on how this group was manufactured by a Texas PR firm with close links to Bush. Connason writes "Arguments about the war in Vietnam seem destined to continue forever. For now, however, the lingering bitterness and ambiguity of those days provide smear material against an antiwar war hero with five medals on behalf of a privileged Guardsman with a dubious duty record. The president's Texas allies -- whose animus against his Democratic challenger dates back to the Nixon era -- are now deploying the same techniques and personnel they used to attack McCain's integrity four years ago. Bush's "independent" supporters would apparently rather talk about the Vietnam quagmire than about his deadly incompetence in Iraq."
But I think the pattern is broader than just Vietnam. Yes, Vietnam is still a bad memory for many Americans, but for anyone under 45, its ancient history. For the Bush campaign, its just a convenient hook for smears.
Rather than arguing factoids and conspiracies, Kerry and the Dems must maintain their focus on the main message -- that Kerry would be a great leader for America.

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