Mark Steyn cuts Kerry to ribbons today:
In politics, it's helpful if whatever ''unique truth'' the consultants have run past the focus groups bears at least a passing relationship to the real, actual truth -- not the whole truth, but at least a grain of it. That was what was so ingenious about Bill Clinton's ''60 Minutes'' appearance in 1992. He didn't come clean -- he was, as usual, full of it -- but he set in motion his designated ''unique truth'' -- flawed but human. It was designed to get him past Gennifer, but it wound up also getting him past Paula, Monica, Kathleen, Juanita. . . . Whatever goods you got on him, it fit ''his truth'' as he sold it to us on CBS that day. . .
Indeed, Clinton's fudging his adultery under the label of "marital difficulties" in that interview (in which Steve Kroft repeatedly let Clinton off the hook) enabled him to dodge the effects of his infidelities. Why? As pollsters and spinmeisters understand, too many Americans need to hear incriminating facts outright before they stop giving someone the benefit of the doubt: that's why juries like proof of the criminal's fingerprints at the crime scene and trust (almost inherently unreliable) witness testimony.
But can Kerry dodge the FACT that his whole political identity is built on a fiction? More from Steyn:
In 1986, on the floor of the United States Senate, he said:
''I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there, the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory, which is seared -- seared -- in me.''
Though the seared senator peddled this searing memory for a quarter-century, it had evidently been seared into him pretty haphazardly. It turns out at Christmas 1968 he wasn't in Cambodia but was instead 55 miles away at Sa Dec, South Vietnam. So the Kerry campaign's begun riffling hurriedly through its Sears Rowback catalog for more or less watertight back-pedaling of the story: They now say that ''many times he was on or near the Cambodian border,'' which is true in the sense that 80 percent of Canadians live on or near the American border. But most folks in Vancouver don't claim to be living in the Greater Seattle area.
Earlier, senior Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan told ABC News: ''The Mekong Delta consists of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, so on Christmas Eve in 1968, he was in fact on patrol ... in the Mekong Delta between Cambodia and Vietnam.'' For a crowd of ostentatious multilateralists, they can't seem to hold the map the right way up: The Mekong River isn't the border between Cambodia and Vietnam; it cuts through the heart of Cambodia and then runs through Vietnam to the sea.
And every fact that is revealed about the US presence in Vietnam in December 1968 cuts against Kerry's history, as Steyn shows:
. . . Here's the real reason Lt. Kerry wasn't spending Dec. 24, 1968, on a secret mission in Cambodia: On the previous day, Dec. 23, the U.S. government finally secured the release, after a five-month diplomatic stand-off, of 11 Americans whose U.S. Army utility landing craft had made a navigational error and strayed into Cambodian waters. Prince Sihanouk had rejected U.S. apologies and threatened to try the men under Cambodian law. It's unlikely, 24 hours after their release, anyone in Washington was thinking, ''Hey, we need to send that hotshot Kerry in there.''
Ultimately, the mainstream press is so deep into Kerry's pocket that it is not even investigating how Kerry's Xmas epiphany is total fiction, and asking what that means about the man himself. Steyn notes that the nonexistent Xmas mission "is the turning point, the moment that set the young Kerry on the path from brave young war volunteer to fierce anti-war activist. And it turns out it's total bunk." And here's the result:
Thirty-five years on, having no appealing campaign themes, the senator decides to run for president on his biography. But for the last 20 years he's been a legislative non-entity. Before that, he was accusing his brave band of brothers of mutilation, rape and torture. He spent his early life at Swiss finishing school and his later life living off his wife's inheritance from her first husband. So, biography-wise, that leaves four months in Vietnam, which he talks about non-stop . . .
A handful of Kerry's ''band of brothers'' are traveling around with his campaign. Most of the rest, including a majority of his fellow swift boat commanders and 254 swiftees from Kerry's Coastal Squadron One, are opposed to his candidacy. That is an amazing ratio and, if snot-nosed American media grandees don't think there's a story there, maybe they ought to consider another line of work. To put it in terms they can understand, imagine if Dick Cheney campaigned for the presidency on the basis of his time at Halliburton, and a majority of the Halliburton board and 80 percent of the stockholders declared he was unfit for office.
The media is engaging in a cover-up of its own. Indeed, this blogger shows how extensive the mainstream media news coverage of the false Bush-was-AWOL story was in the media, as compared to the coverage of the Kerry-in-Cambodia story, which has been picked up only by columnists.
The Monk only hopes that Kerry's fundamental mendacity becomes fully exposed.