The Spine

Kerry, His 2008 Democratic Opponent, And The Persistent "swift Boat" Issue

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Senator John F. Kerry already has a Democratic opponent for his U.S. Senate seat.  He is not from the party's right since there is barely anyone sitting in those seats in blue Massachusetts.  Kerry's antagonist is Ed O'Reilly, a Gloucester lawyer who, according to the Wednesday Boston Globe, is targeting Kerry from the anti-Iraq war left.  And, lo and behold, he wants to know the truth about Kerry's military record and has questions himself about the Swift Boat record and the Swift Boat ads.  Besides, like a lot of the senator's tormentors, he is suspicious about whether Kerry is really against the war.  Which is nuts.  But, since Kerry at one pointed wanted to have it both ways, it is still a question among true believers.  Like with Hillary.Kerry in the meantime has gone apoplectic.  Or is it that he has been apoplectic ever since he lost Ohio? Actually, Kerry can't let go of his Swift Boat comrades who haven't toed his line and, for whatever reasons, have a different tale to tell. They have been encouraged by T. Boone Pickens, an old Texas oil billionaire and C.E.O. of Mesa Petroleum, who himself comes back to the Vietnam-Cambodia questions raised by Kerry's Navy underlings.  A few weeks ago, Pickens (whom I'd known a long time ago and came to lunch once with New Republic editors) offered a million bucks to anyone who could prove the ads were false.  Kerry hasn't mustered any additional evidence proving his side of the case -- I myself am agnostic on the matter, and it's too late to care much, anyhow -- but has gone bonkers about Pickens welching on his promise.The fact is that, aside from Pickens and Kerry, almost nobody ponders the matter these days.  Maybe Teresa cares, and maybe she'll come with the proof.  Then she'll have an additional $1 million. Compensation for something.

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