I have a special disdain for John Kerry beyond the disdain I have for most Senators. If ever there was someone who lived up to the stereotype of a rich white man utterly disconnected with the world, it's Kerry. This became abundantly clear when he ran for President in 2004 when he tried to fit in with "regular people" and always came off looking awkward at best.
During the 2004 campaign, Kerry's military career and the awards he won were called into question by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In a series of ads and in the book Unfit for Command, the Swift Boat Vets laid out an argument against Kerry's suitability for President...and Kerry didn't say very much about it, according to Kerry himself, because he felt it would give the Swift Boat Vets credibility.
But now Kerry's fighting back. He recently sent a letter to T. Boone Pickens, who issued a million dollar challenge to anyone who could prove the Swift Boat Vets' claims wrong. Now, Kerry's looking to collect, promising to donate the money to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
At first blush, I laughed out loud. After all, it's 2007, and Kerry's still trying to argue a point he should have addressed in 2004? He may blame the Swift Boat Vets for his loss and may be trying to clear his name (or as he says it, prevent other candidates from being "Swift Boated"), but there's a time and a place for everything. That Swift Boat sailed a looooooooooooooooong time ago, John.
Then, I stopped to think about the circumstances a bit more. In the midst of a Presidential campaign season, people might overlook the Kerry story for the same reason I did: namely, because we have lives and Kerry was sooooooo 2004. But that works to Kerry's advantage because it becomes a no-lose situation for him. If he proves the Swift Boat Vets didn't tell the truth about him, he gets vindication. If he doesn't, nobody's paying attention close enough for him to be damaged.
The question is whether Kerry's thinking strategically or whether he's just extremely slow on the uptake. Given what I've seen of the man on the campaign trail and in the Senate, I'm guessing the latter. Making strategic blunders was a staple of the Kerry campaign in 2004, and more than a little of this entire escapade is tied to his ego. When you combine ego with desperate stupidity, bad things are sure to happen. Have we learned nothing from the "Gigli" debacle?
In the end, the only one who really cares about this situation is the one who stands to gain the most if it turns out favorably, John Kerry. For him to take on the Swift Boat Vets now is either an exercise in vindication...or an exercise in stupidity.