- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Kerry in context

Democrats have complained that ads by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have taken John Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony about Vietnam war atrocities “out of context.”

Cable-TV viewers will have the chance to see those atrocity accusations in their entirety at 8 p.m. today when C-SPAN airs Mr. Kerry’s complete testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Kerry, then a 27-year-old former Navy lieutenant, was a prominent spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War when he testified on Aug. 22, 1971, that American GIs had committed numerous war crimes in Vietnam. His hour-long testimony will be preceded by an airing of the Swift Boat ad that excerpts portions of that testimony.

Not so bright

“In the latest issue of Harper’s, Lewis Lapham has a long, tiresome essay on the ‘Republican propaganda mill’ — which, to judge by one of the accompanying graphs, includes the foundation that publishes Reason,” Jacob Sullum writes at the Reason magazine Web site (www.reason.com).

“Perhaps the most revealing part of the article is the paragraph where Lapham pretends to have heard the speeches at the Republican National Convention that does not open until [Monday]. Referring to ‘the platform on which George W. Bush was trundled into New York City this August with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the heavy law enforcement, and the paper elephants,’ Lapham writes:

“‘The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal — government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden’s prayer — and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that [the late historian Richard] Hofstadter didn’t stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?’

“True, the issue is dated September, but I got my copy in early August, and Lapham must have written those words in July. Didn’t it occur to him that his readers might notice he was claiming to have witnessed an event that had not occurred when the magazine went to press? Evidently, Republicans are not the only ones Lapham thinks are stupid.”

Alaska results

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, appointed to the Senate in 2002 by her father the governor, took a step closer to retaining her seat with a Republican primary win, and next faces a former two-term Democratic governor.

With 92 percent of precincts reporting early yesterday, Mrs. Murkowski had 38,361 votes, or 58 percent, while former state Senate President Mike Miller garnered 24,516, or 37 percent, the Associated Press reports. Wev Shea, former U.S. attorney for Alaska, was in third place with 2,480 votes, or 4 percent.

Mrs. Murkowski will take on Democrat Tony Knowles, a former governor.

Mr. Knowles faced token opposition. He had 34,070 votes, or 95 percent, easily outdistancing his two rivals: Don Wright, a former president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and Theresa Nangle Obermeyer, a former member of the Anchorage School Board.

Rest of the story

President Bush didn’t tell the full story on Monday when he denounced TV ads by such ‘527s’ as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But not because he didn’t agree to the Kerry campaign’s demand that he repudiate the specific Swift Boat ads. Our gripe is that Mr. Bush assailed the very campaign finance system that he helped create,” the Wall Street Journal said yesterday in an editorial.

“‘I don’t think we ought to have 527s,’ Mr. Bush said, referring to the independent political fund-raising groups that have become such an important part of this election season.

“Not so fast, Mr. President. One reason 527s are so prominent now is because Mr. Bush made the mistake of signing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance ‘reform’ that barred big donations to political parties. So 527s have become the new alternative vehicle that Americans passionate about politics are using to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech,” the newspaper said.

New criterion

“The oddest thing happened on ‘Hannity & Colmes’ Monday night,” Jay Nordlinger writes in his Impromptus column at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“A Democratic strategist, Mary Anne Marsh … said, ‘Bush betrayed this country about why we went to war in Iraq’ — so far, so good (or rather, so far, so normal) — ‘just like he betrayed them when he didn’t fight in Vietnam.’ Say what? Bush betrayed his country because he served in the Guard, not in Vietnam itself? Are you kidding?

“No, she was not kidding — she repeated her charge, that Bush had ‘betrayed his country.’ OK — so must have every eligible man who did not serve in Vietnam. All traitors. Including Bill Clinton, of course, and many others Mary Anne Marsh must admire. That is the criterion: If you were eligible and did not serve in Vietnam, you ‘betrayed your country.’”

Wrong culprit

Chris Matthews on Monday night continued his apparently deliberate distortion of what Michelle Malkin said on his show last Thursday as he derogatorily referred to how ‘there was a woman on the show the other night, Michelle Malkin or something, who was discussing in rather loose terms the idea that maybe John Kerry had purposely wounded himself to win a Purple Heart,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Kerry’s sycophantic biographer, Douglas Brinkley, then declared: ‘I feel it is a completely irresponsible comment and she needs to apologize for making it. There’s no evidence that says John Kerry ever shot himself.’ But Malkin never said Kerry ‘shot himself.’ It was Matthews who made up that charge. Pat Buchanan pointed out to Matthews that Malkin was just relaying what was in John O’Neill‘sbook: ‘What she was saying was right from the book that it was a “self-inflicted wound,” probably by a grenade that hit the rocks in front of Kerry.’

“‘Self-inflicted’ does not mean on purpose and no one in O’Neill’s book, nor Malkin on the August 19 ‘Hardball,’ ever said that Kerry ‘shot himself.’ Only Matthews came up with that slam at Kerry.”

Lawmaker sentenced

A congressman who brought a loaded gun into Louisville International Airport received a 60-day jail sentence, but will not have to serve it unless he has other criminal troubles in the next two years.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rep. John Hostettler, Indiana Republican, also has surrendered his Glock 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, which screeners found April 20 as he was heading for a US Airways flight to Washington.

At the time, Mr. Hostettler, who had a permit for the gun, said he had forgotten that he had placed the gun in the briefcase.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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