Never Get Out Of The Swiftboat

Bone-ignorant racist and serial liar Sean Klannity opened his radio program last Tuesday with a hit piece on Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Despite all that was going on that day, Klannity was unable to resist an atavistic return to the halcyon days of 2004, when he was instrumental in blowing holes in Kerry’s presidential aspirations, via non-stop air time gifted to those mendacious merchants of lies traveling under the Orwellian rubric Swiftboat Veterans For Truth.

A Massachusetts resident, Kerry had berthed a yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, where the craft was built. Rhode Island does not levy a sales and use tax on yachts; Massachusetts does. The Boston Herald, which hates Kerry almost as much as Klannity does, broke the “story.” It was then picked up by the Eggman, one of several slime-buckets from whom Klannity daily drinks his “news,” before regurgitating it for his listeners.

As this story explains, New Englanders—whose states, combined, comprise a land mass smaller than most California counties—commonly cross borders, in pursuits ranging from purchasing liquor to establishing businesses, in order to take advantage of wildly disparate tax laws. But Klannity, and other bellowers into bullhorns in the rightwing echo machine, portrayed Kerry as some sort of cross between Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff, and Al Capone. By week’s end, Kerry had forked over $400,000 to Massachusetts, the amount he would have owed that state if his yacht had been built and berthed there, and thereby told Klannity and Klan to stuff it.

Kerry actually was involved in something newsworthy last week, but neither Klannity nor his Klan wanted to talk about it. Kerry responded to the release by Wikileaks of some 92,000 classified documents on Operation Enduring Fiefdom by stating that “they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right, more urgent.”

Kerry occupies a unique position. It was he who selected Barack Obama as keynote speaker for the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the speech which first brought Obama national attention. Four years later he endorsed Obama for president at a very early, and critical, stage—in early January of 2008, after Hillary Clinton had bested Obama in the New Hampshire primary. Too, Kerry was the man closest to the often aloof and iconoclastic Joe Biden, today vice president, during the years the two men served together in the US Senate.

Last fall, when Obama’s people were puzzling over what direction to best pursue in Afghanistan, Kerry lined up with Biden, who had discovered during a visit to that country that it was “Chaosistan.” And therefore advocated drawing down American troops in favor of deploying spies and special forces units to concentrate on hunting down Osama bin Laden and associates. The Biden/Kerry position at that time eventually lost out, to the generals, who wanted more bodies. Today, however, it seems increasingly likely that the Biden/Kerry wisdom will be what the Obama people next adopt.

Reviewing the Wikileaks documents, Kerry recalled his days both serving in and working against the war in Vietnam, and stated: “Some of the parallels are almost eerie. And I think all of us can learn an enormous amount from the way our predecessors dealt with questions very similar to those we face today.”

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry said these things:

Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same “Rove” tactics and the same “Rove” staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.

So, the candidate who once promised a “contest of ideas,” now has nothing left but personal attacks.

Barack Obama will end this politics of distortion and division. He will be a president who seeks not to perfect the lies of Swiftboating, but to end them once and for all.

This election is a chance for America to tell the merchants of fear and division: you don’t decide who loves this country; you don’t decide who is a patriot; you don’t decide whose service counts and whose doesn’t.

It was a nice dream.

I wonder if John Kerry, when he spoke those words, imagined that less than two years later only 42% of the American people would believe even that Barack Obama had been born in the United States. That after three years of relentless Swiftboating lies by vicious racists like Sean Klannity, most Americans would entertain doubts that Obama was truly one of them.

Chris Matthews has something to say about that here. He says that these people are out to “assassinate” Obama. And he’s right.

I wonder too if, when he spoke those words, Kerry imagined that less than two years later the white-privileged dilettantes of Daily Kos, purportedly a Democratic site dedicated to Democratic victory, would routinely portray Obama as impotent, a sadist, a sociopath, a coward, a lazy golf-playing Negro, a man president only because the DC punditocracy and the corporate media rigged the Democratic primary, and would be so riven with racism they would laugh and titter and mock the pain blackface images cause black people, and confidently assert the old slavemaster’s privilege to bestow upon a black man, and against his wishes, the name of their choosing.

Maybe. Probably. John Kerry knows how shallow, simple, stupid, and just plain mean and lowdown the American people can be. Else he would today be in the sixth year of his presidency.

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4 Responses to “Never Get Out Of The Swiftboat”


  1. 1 possum August 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    The continued success of swiftboating proves the innate ability of the American public to be so gullible as to be beyond any rational measure. What ever happened to seeking truth and asking hard questions of our media? Are we so inundated these days with talking heads that we have lost our ability to think for ourselves?

    The second idea swiftboating proves is an axiom inside my profession.

    Say a thing twice and it becomes truth. Print anything once and it is truth.

    We fight this problem on a near daily basis with the ease of bad information finding on the internet. People take for granted every bit of information printed on the net or repeated more than once on the net represents absolute truth and irrefutable fact. Without checking sources they get led down the garden path into chaos far too often.

    Thanks for a fine piece. Peace.

    • 2 bluenred August 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you, possum.

      It was pretty depressing, to learn that only 42% of the country could confidently state that Obama was frickin’ born in the US. I mean, that’s pretty basic. That’s sort of doubting somebody on an existential level. It reminds me of the guy who eventually served as Charles Manson’s attorney, a real bulldog known for using absolutely every means available to slow down hopeless cases. He was legendary in the LA court system. On one occasion, he objected when a witness gave his name, on the grounds that it was hearsay, because the man had no independent knowledge that that was actually his name, he’d just been told it was by his parents. The questioning of Obama’s citizenship is pretty much on that level.

      As for the cesspool that is Kos, I think the links tell the story. All I had the stomach to tell—at this point—at any rate.

  2. 3 santera hoochie August 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    cesspool of white privilege culeando.

    • 4 bluenred August 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Si. I am trying to break my addiction to that place. It is like cigarettes. But I am three days clean. ; )

      There are Bad people there, no one seems interested in cleaning them out, and when I speak there, they cause me to speak cranky. I would rather not be cranky. : /


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