Purple Heart Campaign

Peter Preston argues in the Guardian that John Kerry would be far better off if he put an end to his saluting sctick.

We know why he does it. Some bright spark, long ago on the primary campaign trail, decided that Kerry’s brief, old moment of heroism in a war Americans in general (and Democrats in particular) like to forget, could be vamped point-counterpoint against George Bush’s more mysterious record flying Texan National Guard jets in Alabama. But the point, not to mention the counterpoint, is pretty exhausted now.

It isn’t just the predictable emergence of a bunch of well-funded Vietnam veterans who buy TV commercial time to defecate on his record (even if, as it seems, they weren’t exactly on the spot when the waste matter hit the fan).

It is the way the whole nature of the debate is cramped and confined by its pseudo-military posturing. In theory, Kerry’s little C-in-C routine makes him a natural White House adversary of Osama, Saddam and menacing visitors from outer space. (Alien versus Predator is on general US release this week.) In practice, it makes him as one-dimensional as an empty parade ground.

Agreed. When the central focus of one’s presidential campaign becomes an inside joke–as Kerry’s Vietnam service did months ago–it is time to refocus.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    It an inside joke?

    I guess inside the core group of people who breathe.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Inside in the sense that nobody outside the political junkies likely noticed until quite recently.

  3. DC Loser says:

    refocus? Oh yeah, you mean like the refocusing Bush did after “Mission Accomplished” and Operation Flight Suit?