[UPDATE: A commenter's comedy classic - Kristof needs to correct his correction.]
In his latest column, Kristof doubles down on the Swift Boat theme.
Rapid attack points:
These days, though, accusations that have even less evidence behind them - that Mr. Kerry connived his way into getting medals he did not deserve - are widely aired and believed. A Times/CBS poll found that more than 60 percent of the respondents said Mr. Kerry is hiding something or mostly lying about Vietnam.
The breakdown was 49% "hiding something" and 13% "mostly lying". Since Kerry refuses to sign the Form 180 that would assure full disclosure of his military records, "hiding something" looks like a solid bet. The 13% "mostly lying" is unfair, but how many people tell pollsters that Elvis lives?
By the way, the comparable figures for Bush and his Guard service are 20, 51, 20 for, respectively, "Entire truth", "hiding something", and "mostly lying". Kerry has 29% "Entire truth". Do they know it's Christmas time? (But not in Cambodia!).
True, Democrats have also engaged in below-the-belt attacks. Some of "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Michael Moore film, was the liberal equivalent of the anti-Kerry smears. Its innuendos implying that Mr. Bush arranged the war in Afghanistan so backers could profit from an oil pipeline were appalling.
But I, along with some others, immediately complained about "Fahrenheit 9/11." Aside from John McCain, where are the sensible conservatives?
Kidding? Michael Moore was an honored guest in the Big Box at the DNC.
The only hope for stopping the mudslinging is if well-meaning people try to police their own side.
As if. Coming from a fellow with his recent record of flacking for Bush-bashers, that is a bit rich. And as much as I try, and despite the fact that I *have* defended Kerry on the "self-inflicted" aspect, I cannot find the records to validate Kerry's first Purple Heart. Maybe Kristof could join me in asking for the Form 180 - does policing one's own side extend to holding them to their promises?
Finally, Kristof acknowledges his error on Rood (in what he earlier describes as "a careful look at Mr. Kerry's war record."
He doubles down on the Steve Gardner-excluding legalistic elocution, repeated here:
Every single enlisted man who served with Mr. Kerry on his boats at the time he earned his Purple Hearts and Silver and Bronze Stars say the medals were all deserved, and they are all supporting his candidacy.
Gardner served as an enlisted man with Kerry for many weeks (7?) on PCF-44 and is now a member of the SBVT, but Kerry did not win any medals in that time frame.
They enjoy a polite reader response:
Nicholas Kristof : firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Okrent : email@example.com
UPDATE: Oh, my commenters give me a laugh - Kristof acknowledged the error on William Rood, but still blew the correction! (Hmm, I blew it too, I guess.) His timeless text:
In the spirit of taking a tough look at one's own shortcomings: on Saturday, I referred to William Rood as a witness for Mr. Kerry's Silver Star incident. It was the Bronze Star episode that he saw. Mea culpa.