Over the last few days, weeks, months, it's become obvious that Kerry-bashing on this board has reached a ridiculous extreme. It seems we can't go a day without swiping at the guy and using him as a punching bag. That's all well and good, he's a politician and a big boy. That's what losing Dem candidates are there for. They are human pinatas.
What is unseemly however is for Democrats and Kossacks to present GOP talking points on this board as though they were factual.
Have a look at this diary earlier today (note, I'm referring mainly to the responses rather than the diary itself):
Kerry wishy-washy or, is this Gooper-think?
I personally am critical of Kerry for two reasons: the ridiculous line he offered up during the town-hall meeting and also his stone-faced personality. As for everything else, I'm fine with the guy. I think he's pretty good. He's a liberal, and that means something to me. The "I voted for it.." thing cost him big. A personality disorder is not his fault, however. That's who he is, so enough of that.
But on this blog, I have seen a host of outright smears and lies perpetuated. I have read here comments by Kossacks that he overstated and lied about his Vietnam experience, that he said "I was for the war before I was against it" (a troubling conflation of a Republican talking point), I have seen the Grand Canyon BS repeated here about a thousand times (Kerry never said what he is reported to have said at the Grand Canyon), I have seen him called a gutless opportunist (yeah, the guy who ruined his Senate good ole boy credentials by going after BCCI and Iran-Contra is gutless). There's a lot wrong with Kerry, and a lot to critique to be offered, but be fair and balanced. I found him to be pretty consistent in his positions. I understood his position on the IWR vote (even if I disagreed with it). in fact, can someone please show how he was inconsistent in his positions? Just show me one.
So, why is this relevant at all? Why rehash it? This is so 2004!! Well, I for one have been prepared to forget Kerry and his presidential ambitions, but there's a constant drag on this blog with all things Kerry, and to put it mildly, I get annoyed by it. So, who cares about annoying me. I don't think anyone should care. But I do think the same mentality that persists on this blog, the slap Kerry mentality, also contributes to our repeated losses in major elections. Once the Democratic faithful start bashing their own candidate (and we did a lot of it last Fall, we bashed him on this blog, we bashed him on Bill Maher, Michael Moore eviscerated him) then the American electorate takes a hint. Undecided Americans are watching in August, and it doesn't help when Maher and Moore rip him a new one. If the Democratic faithful don't even like their candidate, what does it say about the candidate himself? Sabato was right. Hating the other guy isn't enough to get your guy elected, because there are enough voters out there who will pretend that the steaming pile of GOP shit they just stepped on is actually a great leader and/or the second coming of the messiah. Republicans are very good at backing their guy despite his failings (maybe because they have no ethics, or no critical capabilities) but in an election, it would help if Democrats actually adopted the same attitude. The circular firing line hurts us.
I am not saying that the firing line is why Kerry lost the election. I think his town hall blunder cost him a lot, the bin Laden appearance cost him and so did Swift Boat Liars (although I'm not convinced Kerry could have forestalled that by simply countering it immediately), but I also think Kerry-hating among Dems played a role.
So, now it's post-election and you can really hate him all you want. It really doesn't matter. He's not a threat for 2008. But if you're an honest Democrat, get your criticism of him correct please. There should be a fact-based frame of reference for Kerry critiques. It should begin with his actual position on IWR. It should address what he actually said at the Grand Canyon. It should not conflate his vote for and against the funding bill with a vote for or against the war. Or, we shouldn't bother with any of this and we should just refrain from taking potshots at a guy whose time has clearly passed. We should ignore him (except when he's actually useful).
Why did I write this: because I'm bugged when I see Republican smears against Democrats being repeated here by Kossacks.