Ths Sun has a late-breaker speculating that Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge which was later upgraded to Honorable status.
Lots of reaction at Memeorandum.
My thoughts are roughly unchanged from when we were teased about this story last Friday:
First, the MSM has turned a blind eye to Kerry's non-disclosure of his military records. Media bias? Sure. In other political news, the sun rises in the East, and it takes 270 Electoral votes to win the Presidency in the conventional manner. What else is new?
Secondly, if Karl Rove had wanted to make this an issue, he would have, using Cheney or an attack surrogate to point out that Bush's records were disclosed, but Kerry's were not. It did not happen.
So, why did Karl choose to end a fight with bullets still in his gun? Two possibilities occur - this issue may only poll well among the folks who already can't stand Kerry; for the rest of the country, Vietnam is ancient history. But what about Kerry's convention, you ask? Beats me.
But the other reason has more tin-foil cap appeal (which is why I like it). Surely, one might suspect, someone in the military has sneaked a peek at Kerry's file - the Navy just reviewed his medals a few months back. So perhaps someone waved Karl off, and told him there is nothing special to see.
Who knows the truth? If we elect John Kerry, Presidential historians will sort this out for your grandkids.
And if you are *really* having trouble getting worried about a Kerry victory, picture this: it is next summer, the effort in Iraq is going poorly, the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party is pleading with Kerry to do what they elected him to do, and Kerry's approval ratings are poised near the abyss. In this grim climate "Someone" (Hillary loyalist? Evil Rep? Desperate Anti-warrior?) decides to scuttle Kerry by revealing the truth about his less-than-honorable discharge. If you want to see a country divided, you will. Strike that. Almost the entire country will unite behind one question - how did we elect this guy? The divide will occur over what to do next. We will then operate for the next three years with, effectively, no President. Thank you, Iowa.
Yes, it would have been honorable for Kerry to put these questions to one side by disclosing his records as he promised. It would have been responsible for the press to raise these questions. But I am blaming Karl.
In the continuation, I excerpt from the Sun piece a headscratching tidbit from Harvard; also, Bill Keller of the Times would seem to approve of this particular late hit.
MORE: A round-up by the Bear. And, as of 3:00 PM, Matt Drudge has not picked this up. Apparently, Matt can resist anything, including temptation.
UPDATE: Color me skeptical. At Kerry's website, we find this letter titled "Transfer to Standby Reserve". It was written in March 1972, and the gist seems to be that Kerry had a choice to make upon the completion of his six year contractual stint later that year - (a) voluntarily sign up for the Ready Reserve; or (b) do nothing, and be transferred to the Standby Reserve (Inactive) for an indefinite term.
According to Kerry's (possibly ex post cosmetically enhanced) History of Service, he was, in fact, transferred to the Standby Reserve (Inactive) in 1972; this implies that, unsurprisingly, he did not re-up when given the opportunity.
The 1978 discharge might then simply have been the result of a customary Reduction in Force review where the rolls were swept of redundant personnel.
UPDATE 2: Beldar finds hints that the Sun story may have legs.
From the Sun:
Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.
Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."
It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973.A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.
Mr. Lipscomb found a source at Harvard? How? Where has this guy been through all Kerry's Senate races? And how about sources at BU and BC?
And from the Times, from the Business Section piece where they rationalize their Al QaQaa story:
Had the article not been ready until a day or two before the election, Mr. Keller said, the decision to publish would have been more difficult. "I can't say categorically you should not publish an article damaging to a candidate in the last days before an election,'' he said. "If you learned a day or two before the election that a candidate had lied about some essential qualification for the job - his health or criminal record - and there's no real doubt and you've given the candidate a chance to respond and the response doesn't cast doubt on the story, do you publish it? Yes. Voters certainly have a right to know that.''
The Sun piece does not pass the "no real doubt" test (and given the Form 180 problem, how would it?), but it certainly meets the other criteria.