As we discovered during the 2004 election, John Kerry is a man virtually devoid of honor. His non-existent mission into Cambodia to fight an guerilla group that did not then exist, his ability to get three wounds in less than six months -- thereby getting his butt out of a combat zone -- without a single day being spent in a hospital or in convalescence, his turning the shameful execution of an critically wounded enemy soldier into a medal for bravery, and his disgusting, and I'll say it, treasonous behavior after his release from active duty tell you all you will ever need to know about John Kerry's character.
Now we can add another thing to Kerry's Sears and Roebuck catalog of character deficiencies. Loyalty to friends.
During the 2004 campaign John McCain went out of his way to try to silence those who were going after Kerry on his war record. I say "silence" because there was no way he could "defend" Kerry against the truth. It was misguided loyalty on several levels. First, it attacked people who were telling the truth. Second, it risked placing the fate of the nation in the joint hands of a fabulist who hates the nation he was trying to lead and a noted liar who was also a shameless adulterer. Third, John Kerry simply wasn't worth it.
Now, four years later, Kerry returns the favor not by defending John McCain against calumny but by joining the voices spreading it.
There is a whispering campaign underway working on two levels. The first level, the more respectable of the two if such a distinction is possible, is that John McCain hides behind his POW experience to deflect criticism and uses it to his advantage relentlessly.
For instance in USA Today:
Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "distinguished naval officer," but he said the Arizona senator has been "milking every possible drop of advantage" from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The second is that John McCain's time as a POW has rendered him unfit for the presidency. That most coherently articulated in Salon.
Presidential candidate John McCain has survived three plane crashes, four melanomas, and more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, enduring torture and solitary confinement. There would be questions about his health and his fitness for the office he seeks even if he weren't turning 72 in August, and even if he weren't likely to be running against a man 25 years his junior.
There are behaviors associated with the candidate that would be consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD. Author Robert Timberg mentions McCain's intense explosions of anger --- a hallmark sign of lingering mental trauma from war -- in his book "John McCain: An American Odyssey." Timberg describes the episodes as "an eruption of temper out of all proportion to the provocation." Timberg, who McCain has said "knows more about me than I do," wrote that McCain's sudden fury is a result of Vietnam coming "back to haunt him." McCain has himself described having an adverse reaction to the sound of jangling keys, which reminds him of his Vietnam jailers. McCain also told doctors that during solitary confinement he had strayed pretty "far out" and had referred to himself as "mentally deteriorating."
A quick tour around the internet, or Mr Google's view of the internet, will show this allegation appears tens of thousands of time on discussion groups and blogs.
This week John Kerry made a somnolent appearance on This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
After relentlessly slagging John McCain on a variety of issues -- often showing a callous and reckless disregard for the truth and the intelligence of the viewers -- finishes off with this. Stephanopoulos sets up one of the typical slow pitches that he deals out to Democrats
STEPHANOPOULOS: senator kerry. excuse me, let me ask you another question, this pick just work to draw women to the republican ticket. are you worried about that?
Kerry engages in a nearly Bidenesque ramble and finishes up with this:
...john mccain has prove within this choice that john mccain is the prison of the right wing, not a maverick.
Why this particular construction?
Earlier in the interview he refers to a McCain presidency as at "the third term of bush/cheney," a talking point we've come to expect. One has to assume that the use of this is deliberate and marks the beginning of a theme the Obama campaign will begin directing at John McCain to cloud the utter fecklessness of their own candidate (Kerry calls Obama's appearance at the largest political rally held in Berlin since 1938 "foreign policy experience") by denigrating John McCain's POW years by making them into even parts excuse and disqualifying defect.