Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Your EdWonk has been watching the Republican convention with a great deal of interest. That is to say when there has been anything interesting to watch. Naturally, The Big Story for this week is the convention. The only thing that seems not to be a part of the script are all those bandaids that can be seen on the faces of some of the delegates.

What makes the bandaids unusual is that each feature a purple heart imprinted the surface. This is to mock the Democratic Candidate John (yawn!) Kerry. Since Mr. Kerry's strongest point seems to be his Vietnam War service of some 35 years ago, the most obvious target for the Republicans is that service.

It's an old trick. Launch a frontal assault on your opponent which will distract him or her from your own candidate's regrettable lack of substance. Perhaps it is true that Kerry's service record wasn't exactly Captain America, but he did indeed volunteer for combat while Mr. Bush (a War President, as he calls himself) was pulling every string that a powerful and influential family has in order to avoid any type of hazardous duty and avoid risking his precious backside. He got himself into the safest type of service that a draft-avoider could get in. The Air National Guard.

When Bush was in the Air National Guard, what did he do? Well, we know the answer to that. A rich playboy like Bush simply had to fly jets. And this was years before the movie "Top Gun." He went to the head of the waiting list and got into flight school. Of course. So a few weekends per year he got to be Captain Kirk and zoom through the heavens on the taxpayers' dime. And when he got tired of it (and the Vietnam War wound down) he simply stopped participating and went on to do something else. Just like a spoiled adolescent.

And this bunch has the nerve to attack John Kerry?

The real pity is that the Kerry campaign must not have any one that majored in history working for him. They need some historians. Obviously the Kerry people have forgotten all about Michael Dukakis and The (infamous) Willi Hortan revolving gate ad from the 1988 election. Like Dukakis, Kerry's first impulse when the ad "broke" was to ignore it. As with Dukakis back in '88, Kerry will probably be doomed to electoral defeat.

Any historian will tell you that those that ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.