Friday, September 03, 2004

Shuffle the Players

Until the economy numbers kicked in, the Kerry story in the news cycle today remained what it was yesterday: Kerry lashes back at attacks on his record made by Cheney and Miller at the Republican convention.

The write-up looks like this:

Cheney and Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., led a chorus of Republicans who challenged Kerry's credentials to be commander in chief, arguing that although they respect his decorated Vietnam War service, his 20-year voting record in the Senate on national security issues makes him unfit for the nation's top job.

Kerry answered his critics with a blistering statement.

"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and even my fitness to serve as commander in chief," Kerry said. "Here is my answer to them. I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and who misled America into Iraq."

Bush served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard. Cheney received five deferments and never served in the military.

"The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty," Kerry said.

Very good. That last quote is probably what gave Bill Clinton a heart attack. I really don't think it's in the long term interest of the Democrats (or any Americans, but especially, at this moment, the Democrats) to be emphatically stating that only those who served are qualified to lead. That's the kind of quote that will come back and bite you in the ass hard the next election when, say, Edwards and Powell face off.

But notice something else about the AP article. It starts by mentioning Cheney and Miller as the attackers. Then when it compares Kerry's record to his attackers, suddenly it's Cheney and Bush. Bush has said repeatedly that he respects Kerry's record and he's said that Kerry did better than he did in those years. Why drop Miller?

Maybe because he served three years in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and rose to the rank of sergeant. When the story doesn't shine sufficient luster on the candidate you want to win, shuffle the players.