Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Kerry gets a little swift [boat] justice

(Nick Anderson, Louisville Courier-Journal, 2004)

John Kerry got a little justice this week.

Seems President Bush had the temerity to nominate Sam Fox, 77-year-old Missourian and founder of the Harbour Group, to the post of ambassador to Belgium. Fox, as the AP notes in its coverage of his confirmation hearing, is 'one of the nation's most generous contributors to Republican candidates and causes.'

Turns out that among those causes was the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth committee of 2004 fame. You know, the people who trashed Kerry's reputation as a war hero.

Never mind that Sen. John McCain and Gen. Tommy Franks came to Kerry's defense. Never mind that the Wall Street Journal ran an OpEd at the time in which the author excoriated the Swift Boat travesty. The mendacious and mean-spirited media campaign cost Kerry dearly.

The great 20th-century philosopher and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, author of The Irony of American History, would have loved this 2007 moment.

The man who contributed $50,000 toward the attack on Kerry had to answer -- or try to -- for himself. Kerry's questioning reminds us that he was once a prosecutor and well knows how to smooth the way with easy questions that lead inevitably to the zingers.

By the time he was done, Fox was caught out saying that in his view 'two wrongs make a right' and then squirming to extricate himself from the corner in which he was painted.

About Kerry's Vietnam service, Fox volunteered "Senator, you're a hero" -- what a difference a nomination makes!

Will Fox be confirmed as ambassador? Stay tuned.

Transcript of the nomination hearing:
"Kerry Versus Swift Boat Benefactor"

Press coverage:

Fact-checking the Swift Boat Attack:

Sam Fox's Political Contributions:
-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

"Sen. Kerry, I wholly reject your premise. While two wrongs don't make a right, I deny, sir, that the Swift Boat Veterans did anything wrong. In fact, Senator, I applaud them for their courageous and patriotic service in boldly publicizing facts about your service that were relevant to your fitness to serve as president and commander in chief. I will note, Senator, that despite endless opportunities, you never answered the group's plausible allegations against you, many of which were substantiated by multiple witnesses. While you later said you should have fought back harder, the obvious truth is that you chose not to fight back because you had no credible answers. Indeed, you refused to produce the one set of documents that could vindicate you if their contents conform to your version of history: your medical records. You have repeatedly broken promises to release them. There is only one possible explanation for that, sir, and it isn't in your favor.

"Your supporters speciously attempted to impeach the Swiftee's claims by saying that some of the witnesses weren't in your boat, knowing full well, sir, that they were in other boats in sufficiently close proximity to make them actual eye witnesses to the events they were describing.

"Senator, I cannot in good conscience apologize for having contributed to the Swiftees. I am proud of having done so. But for their exposure of your real record, you might well be commander in chief of our armed forces today. I shudder at that thought, not just because of your record of softness on defense, but your pattern of slandering our troops, yesterday and today, and disrespecting their sacrificial service.

"Sir, I find your misuse of these hearings to lash out at your political opponents, once again, where they are not present to respond, appalling and cowardly. And while you have the legal right to lecture me about the importance of 'truth in public life,' I find your audacity breathtaking, given your obvious lack of moral authority to do so.

"You, sir, are free to vote against my confirmation. And while I would be honored to serve as ambassador, I will not grovel for the position, nor will I consent to your revised version of history. You are free publicly to exorcise your personal demons, even on the public's time, but I will trust that most of your colleagues will base their vote on matters relevant to my fitness to serve. Thank you."