John Kerry in 2008 Speculation


On Principles & Values: Last nominee to get 2nd chance was Adlai Stevenson in 1956

Should Kerry commence another national campaign, something considered all but a foregone conclusion, Kerry will be running against party history. Adlai Stevenson, who lost two races to Dwight Eisenhower (in 1952 and 1956), was the last Democratic nominee to secure his party’s nod a second time.

Doubts about Kerry lurk just beneath professions of respect. Some Democrats [at a recent party event] wonder how a nominee, particularly one who had warned opponents not to question his patriotism, could have been caught so flat-footed when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked his military record. Although most said they weren’t ruling Kerry out, they also stressed that 2008 is a whole new race, and said they planned on giving all the candidates a hard look before making any decisions.

Source: 2008 Speculation op-ed by Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe Oct 17, 2006

On War & Peace: Regrets nothing more that his 2002 vote for Iraq War

After a 2004 campaign in which Kerry seemed as much calculation as conviction, the senator is finally in a liberal space where he feels comfortable: Adamant in urging a timetable for a US withdrawal from Iraq, scathing about what he terms the lies of the Bush administration. The first words he spoke at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner were these: “This war in Iraq is a disgrace.” (Blogging on the Huffington Post last week, Kerry wrote of his 2002 vote for the Iraq war resolution, “There’s nothing -- nothing -- in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close.”)

When I asked Kerry about the concerns over his laggardly response to the Swift Boat mugging, the senator called that “a miscalculation,” but one he insisted shouldn’t disqualify him from being president. He also had this challenge for his skeptics: ‘‘Who would have come closer to beating a sitting president in time of war who had an enormous fear card to play?“

Source: 2008 Speculation op-ed by Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe Oct 17, 2006

On War & Peace: Kerry now fully engaged in fighting Swift Boat Veterans

Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Kerry’s failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up.

But the battle over Kerry’s wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly - because unlike then, Kerry has fully engaged in the fight. Only those on Kerry’s side, however, have gathered new evidence to support their case.

Swift boat message boards and anti-Kerry Web sites still boil with accusations that Kerry fabricated the military reports that led to his military decorations.

Kerry, accused even by Democrats of failing to respond to the charges during the campaign, is now fighting back hard. His supporters are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group’s charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Kerry’s valor in combat.

Source: 2008 speculation, “Swift Boat”, in NY Times May 28, 2006

On War & Peace: Kerry releases Navy records to prove his version of Vietnam

Kerry is now fighting back hard against the Swift Boat Veterans’ accusations. While it would be easy to see this as part of Kerry’s exploration of another presidential run, his friends say the Swift boat charges struck at an experience so central to his identity that he would want to correct the record even if he were retiring from public life.

Kerry has signed forms authorizing the Navy to release his record-something he resisted during the campaign-and hired a researcher to comb the naval archives in Washington for records that could pinpoint his whereabouts during dates of the incidents in dispute. Another former crew member has spent days at a time interviewing veterans to reconstruct every incident in question.

Some of Kerry’s friends and former Swift boat crew members made advertisements during the race to try to shoot down the group’s charges. But the campaign declined to air them widely because some strategists said that directly challenging the charges would legitimize them.

Source: 2008 speculation, “Swift Boat”, in NY Times May 28, 2006

On War & Peace: Caught off-guard in 2004 by unexpected attacks on war record

Steve Hayes was an early member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. A former sailor, he was a longtime friend & employee of one of the group’s founders, and he supported the push to have Kerry release his military files. But Hayes came to believe that the group was twisting Kerry’s record. “The mantra was just ‘We want to set the record straight,’ ” Hayes said this month. “It became clear to me that it was morphing from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth.“

Of course, plenty of disappointed & angry Democrats would like to know why Kerry did not defend himself so strenuously before the election. Kerry and his defenders say that they did not have the extensive archival material, and that it was too complicated to gather in the rapid pace of a campaign. He was caught off guard, he says; he had been prepared to defend his antiwar activism, but he did not believe that anyone would challenge the facts behind his military awards.

Source: 2008 speculation, “Swift Boat”, in NY Times May 28, 2006

The above quotations are from Speculation about the 2008 Presidential race.
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