Will Obama get 'Swift-boated'?

Dan Proft May 18, 2008, 6:35am

Dan Proft

While Archimedes-in-a-pantsuit tries to rewrite the laws of mathematics, the rest of the nation has properly begun to weigh the Presidential contest between Sens. McCain and Obama.

Obama has, however, learned a valuable Clinton trick from this protracted primary--how to obliquely reference the "vast, right-wing conspiracy" to misdirect people's attention away from glaring, personal deficiencies.

During his victory speech in North Carolina Obama said, "We know what's coming...the same names and labels they (Republicans) pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all of their ideas."

Actually, we have some new names and labels thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Obama's own words and ideas, as well as the Senator's cozy relationships with corrupt influence peddlers, domestic terrorists, and a hateful, bile-spewing spiritual advisor.

That right-wing conspiracy shtick--being "Swift-boated"--is going to work out about as well for Obama as it did for Clinton and for the same reason-because it is without merit.

"Swift-boated" has been added to our political lexicon by the Left to lament the alleged unfair attacks to which John Kerry was subjected in the 2004 Presidential race.

And yet, it was John Kerry who made his military service an issue. He sought to use his service to distinguish himself from President Bush and to characterize both Bush and Cheney as reckless chicken-hawks.

It was John Kerry who saluted the nation nearly four years ago and said, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty." It was John Kerry who brought several of those with whom he had served in Vietnam on stage at the Democrat National Convention to show them off to the country.

On the contrary, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were effective with their anti-Kerry message because it was a substantive one. The facts were on their side. The fact was that Kerry's entire chain of command, every officer under whom Kerry served in Vietnam, questioned his fitness to be Commander-in-Chief. Many Kerry detractors were Democrats but they were also proud and decorated veterans who believed that Kerry had acted dishonorably and that his campaign was being run disingenuously. Theirs was a legitimate perspective for the country to hear.

Similarly, it is Barack Obama who has presented as his core argument that he possesses the superior judgment to be President. That demands a thorough examination of both his personal history and professional record.

The process demands and will extract the same from John McCain.

So as we begin the compare and contrast on the matter of the two men's judgment, at the behest of Obama, consider these two snapshots at a watershed moment in each one's life:

At the same respective points in their lives as grown men in their early 30s, Obama decided to sidle up to Chicago political machine bosses and their financiers and the chichi Hyde Park set of pseudo-intellectual socialists to advance his political career. That earned Obama an appointment to a State Senate seat in 1996.

At a similar age, John McCain made an important decision as well. He decided to forgo his early release from a North Vietnamese POW camp, an offer extended to him because of his father's position in the military. McCain would not walk unless the other POWs who had been captured before him were also released. That earned McCain an additional five years of torture in a Viet Cong prison camp and, for all he knew at the time, was a decision that would cost him his life.

What would you have done if presented with the same offer with which McCain was presented?

What do you think Barack Obama would have done as you have watched him over the last couple of months provide ever-evolving answers and, ultimately, denunciation of his 20-year pastor (only because Rev. Wright wasn't properly concerned about Obama's campaign)?

These snapshots of course do not tell the whole story of either man, but they do tell an important part of the story for each, about the values that have informed their lives.

Call it "Swift-boating" if you want but Obama's ethereal campaign will be done in by his own bad judgments measured against the very standard he has set to define the race for President.

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