Newsweek has some behind the scenes snippets from the Kerry Campaign, with an overview on the web at yahoo here This one hurts.
Kerry Anger Over Swift Boat Ads. By August, the attack of the Swift Boat veterans was getting to Kerry. He called adviser Tad Devine, who was prepping to appear on “Meet The Press” the next day: “It’s a pack of f—ing lies, what they’re saying about me,” he fairly shouted over the phone. Kerry blamed his advisers for his predicament. (Cahill and Shrum argued responding to the ads would only dignify them.) He had wanted to fight back; they had counseled caution. Even Kerry’s ex-wife, Julia Thorne, was very upset about the ads, she told daughter Vanessa. She could remember how Kerry had suffered in Vietnam; she had seen the scars on his body, heard him cry out at night in his nightmares. She was so agitated about the unfairness of the Swift Boat assault that she told Vanessa she was ready to break her silence, to speak out and personally answer the Swift Boat charges. She changed her mind only when she was reassured that the campaign was about to start fighting back hard.
It is very difficult for a good man to effectively fight great evil — to fight people who are willing to go to any extreme of lies and hate and hurt to achieve what they want.
Clinton Advice Spurned. Looking for a way to pick up swing voters in the Red States, former President Bill Clinton, in a phone call with Kerry, urged the Senator to back local bans on gay marriage. Kerry respectfully listened, then told his aides, “I’m not going to ever do that.”
It is very difficult for a good man to effectively fight evil; for a moral man to effectively fight immorality, especially when that immorality disguises itself as piety and uprightness.
It is true that the Democrats need to learn from this and find ways to unite America with caring, respecting, loving, yes, Christian (in the best sense of the word) liberal values. It is true that the Democrats need to remind the world that liberals have values, indeed, that liberals are the ones who try to make this a society of goodness and love rather than selfishness, intolerance, and hate. It is true that the Democrats have done a crap job for a long time and need to clean up their act.
But for all the self-blame let’s not forget that we are dealing with really vicious, evil, immoral, corrupt, rotten people in the Bush Administration and their allies, and they fought like hell with every dirty trick in the book. They have a major TV network entirely devoted to spreading their lies; they have countless media mouthpieces echoing their lies. People must be forgiven for being fooled by that. John Kerry must be forgiven for having failed in the face of that. We must not absolve the bastards for their bastardliness.
They won by fighting very, very dirty — not just in the Presidential race but all over the map. Democratic incompetence sure helped them, but it alone would not have cost the election. Hell, I bet if there were no Swift Boat Ads we’d have a President Kerry right now, trying to fix Bush’s screwups as best he could, instead of Bush getting ready to make it all worse. And the Swift Boat Ads were nothing but a pack of immoral lies.
It’s doublespeak, it’s antitruth — you look at people who didn’t vote Kerry and they say it was because they couldn’t trust him, because he was a liar — when Bush and his people have lied so thoroughly and so convincingly and so pervasively that people take it for truth. Kerry looks like a liar because he says things that people think to be wrong because the real liars lied about it.
That’s so deeply messed up.
The illiberal, right-wing liars are very good liars and they’ve been practicing for decades. Give a man a break if he was unable to withstand their most concerted assault.
Give a man a break.