That Kerry fella…
...on the Swiftboat liars:
“Unfit for Command was a pack of lies. I said so at the time. My crew said so. The Navy said so. But a lot of money was put behind the lies. If a lot of money is put behind a lie, it will become the truth for some people — particularly if they don’t get enough of the real truth. I take the blame for not making certain that there was money behind the real truth. That’s what I meant when I said I should’ve come back and coldcocked him.”
An important lesson there, and not just for John Kerry. It's absolutely not true that "Kerry didn't fight back," but it is true that in the end, he fought the wrong battle with the wrong weapon. A victim of his own idealism, perhaps, Kerry thought he was, as he had so often before, fighting against a lie and that the best defense, as it had always been, would be the truth. The truth was out there. Every eyewitness, every official record, it was all consistent. John Kerry was, indeed, the war hero we'd been led to believe. Every other version was a lie, accusations resting on imagination without a shred of truth.
The battle, though, was for volume, not truth. The Swithboat liars, through purchased airtime and vanity publishing, confronted the unvarnished truth by shouting the lie louder, catching the ear of a media which had long since been cowed by accusations of liberal bias into looking for any view that might offer a semblance of some mythical 'balance.' The media adopted the lie as an alternate view worthy of our consideration, following FOX to the bottom of the pit.
Kerry's right. There's no doubt a number of dollars and an amount of effort that might have drowned out the liars. The cost of the distraction to his own campaign plan can't be determined, perhaps, but I don't think it can be overestimated, either. It was a hell of a trap. If Kerry didn't invest substantial resouces in time, message and money into defending his own character and record, his campaign would be crippled by the lie. If he did, his campaign might have been crippled by fighting the lie. None of it, though, would have been possible without the happy acquiescence of reporters, pundits and anchors who knowingly promulgated vicious lies about an American military hero for their own petty motives. None of it could have happened if they hadn't let dollars trump truth.
It's going to happen again, on whatever pretext, against our nominee, whoever it might be. Calling the lies for what they are and exposing the liars for who they are has to be part of every campaign plan until all the Republicans are gone.
Hat tip to Todd Mitchell at The Democratic Daily.