A National Disgrace

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Republicans who supported McCain in 2000 see similarities between the Bush 2000 Republican Primary and 2004 Presidential Campaign.

As the Swift Boat Veterans’ questions about John Kerry’s war record threatened to dominate the mainstream news media, it seemed like déjà vu to Ohio’s Tom Terez. Terez, a McCain supporter in the 2000 Republican Primary and a lifelong registered Republican. Terez called the Swift Boat Veterans’ claims “laughably transparent,” comparing them to the Bush smear campaign against McCain during the 2000 Republican Primary.

“Desperate to stop the popular McCain in South Carolina, Bush operatives planted rumors that McCain had fathered an illegitimate child who was black. A professor at Bob Jones University even sent an e-mail to “fellow South Carolinians” stating that McCain had “chosen to sire children without marriage.” Bush said nothing -- and went on to win.” For Terez the motive for the Bush campaign’s slander of John Kerry is obvious. “The administration is desperately trying to divert attention away from the nearly 1,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, the 6,000 wounded, the $180 billion price tag for the Iraq War, the $445 billion deficit, the 44 million Americans without health coverage, the 1.8 million lost private-sector jobs, and more.”

Peter McLaughlin, a Connecticut Republican who also supported McCain in 2000, calls the smear campaign “a national disgrace.” “I can scarcely think of more monstrous behavior by our commander in chief,” McLaughlin said recently, “than to avoid the draft and combat in his nation's hour of need, to later order other soldiers to their death and wounds in a dubious adventure, and to denigrate or to allow the denigration of better men and true war heroes like McCain and Kerry. “ McLaughlin believes that “Kerry volunteering for Vietnam duty, volunteering for Swift Boat service and combat, and then talking about the horrors [he] witnessed and trying to end what [he thought was] an unjust war, is courageous.”

Dave Haner, a Gulf War I veteran who maintains a web site focusing on veterans issues, followed the Swift Boat Veterans activities closely. In a recent essay, “Swift Boat Ironies,” he offers some advice for members of the Swift Boat Veterans. He writes: “Maybe it is time for Mr. Hart and Mr. Thurlow to acknowledge the truth. Your own records prove John Kerry a hero. And Mr. Thurlow should be proud of the Bronze Star he earned that day. He should be proud of his own service, as he should be of Sen. Kerry’s. Mr. Thurlow should think of another legitimate strategy to fight against the man that he doesn’t want to be President. Just this time, do it honestly…” “As a decorated and disabled Gulf War I vet, I support Kerry for President,” Haner writes, “not only as a war hero (and at least his pay records show he reported for duty), but because he shows the type of leadership we need at this time in history. He will win, in politics and on the battlefield.”

[For the complete essay by Tom Terez visit http://anotherrepublicanforkerry.com/

For a complete copy of Dave Haner’s “Swift Boat Ironies” contact media@republicansforkerry04.org]

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Bruce Mackinlay
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