Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Preemptive Strike for '08?

After issuing his on line "apology," John Kerry has (predictably) dropped from sight, and will likely remain out of the public eye through next Tuesday's election, even if Chuckie Schumer has to send armed guards to barricade Lurch inside one of his various estates.
With his latest gaffe, Kerry--who may go down in history as Karl Rove's best weapon--gave the Republicans two full news cycles to energize their base, at a time when the focus was supposed to be on the Bush Administration and our troubles in Iraq.

While the MSM is clearly ready to move past the Kerry incident, there was a related story that surfaced this morning, indicating that the Senator's remarks in California were no accident. According to the AP, Kerry made equally disparaging remarks about the military as a Congressional candidate more than 30 years ago. In a candidate's questionaire, Kerry said he "opposed the draft," but considered an all-volunteer force to be a "greater anathema."

"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown," Kerry wrote. "We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.

The remarks are consistent with Kerry's testimony before the U.S. Senate in 1972, when he accused American troops of "war crimes" in Vietnam, but offered little in the way of corroboration. And while the Senator's spokesman notes that the comments were made 34 years ago, there's really not much of a gap--at least in terms of logic or consistency--between the comments of a young Congressional candidate, and his observations in Los Angeles on Monday. In both cases, Kerry expresses grave misgivings about those who serve, suggesting that military personnel lack other options, and once in uniform, are incapable of observing the laws of armed conflict. Both are contemptible lies, and Kerry's tepid apology won't erase the scorn he deserves for uttering such bilge.

But there's another angle in the AP story that I find fascinating. According to the reporter who wrote the story (John Solomon), the wire service was alerted to Kerry's 1972 remarks by "a former law enforcement official who monitored anti-war activity." But, a bit later in the article, Mr. Solomon says the AP obtained it from "someone who gathered it from the archives during Mr. Kerry's unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign against President Bush."

Those assertions would suggest that Solomon got the material from a Republican source, with access to "leftovers" from the Bush campaign's opposition research files. But that explanation really doesn't wash; why would Karl Rove sit on material that illustrated Kerry's apathy for the military? Mr. Bush won't be on the ballot again, so it makes little sense that his political operatives would take a pass on such potentially explosive material.

So, if the 1972 comments didn't come from the Republicans, who provided the tip to the AP? El Rushbo has advanced the idea that the info may have come from the Clinton war room, launching a preemptive strike on Kerry's prospective 2008 presidential campaign. The material referenced in the AP story sounds like data from FBI background files, and as you know, the Clinton War Room is the largest repository of that data this side of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington.

I've always maintained the "Filegate" was the definitive Clinton scandal, with far more damning (and long-reachng) implications than the administration's other misdeeds. Thanks to a "clerical error," more than 900 FBI files on various Americans wound up at the Clinton White House, giving them access to a treasure trove of raw, background data that could presumably be used against political enemies, both now and in the future. To this day, there has been no accounting of who reviewed the files during their "stay" at the White House, and how much of the information found its way into Clinton databases.

While most of the FBI files were on Republicans, there were (presumably) a few Democrats in that group as well. Was the FBI file on John F. Kerry among those that made its way to the White House? We'll probably never know, but this material sounds like the kind of information you'd find in an FBI background file, and it's sudden appearance--two years after a presidential campaign, and at the "end" of Kerry's latest gaffe--is somewhat suspicious. It's also worth noting that Mr. Kerry's primary rival for the 2008 Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, was one of the first members of her party to demand that he apologize for his remarks.

More than a mere coincidence? You decide. But in the Clintonian World of the Perpetual Campaign, any time is a good time to get in a preemptive strike on a potential primary opponent. It would hardly be surprising--nor ironic--to learn that the Clinton machine put the final nail in John Kerry's next presidential campaign, one year before the first primaries.

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