Damage control

I don’t know whether the charges against John Kerry by the swiftboat vets and others are getting through to many voters, much less resonating with them. However, there is some evidence that the story has legs. For instance, Monday’s Nightline was devoted to the dispute regarding Kerry’s service in Vietnam. In Nightline’s telling, of course, the story is just another illustration of how Vietnam continues to divide us. Sort of like this piece by James Pinkerton with the important difference that Pinkerton at least admits there’s an issue of credibility here, in other words that Kerry may well be lying about material aspects of his service. Nightline studiously ignored this aspect of the story, treating us instead to the ruminations of David Halberstam and the long-forgotten Pete McCloskey (if you’ve never heard of him, that’s okay). Still, for Kerry even Nightline’s pseudo-treatment was a comedown from the celebration of his service that was staged in Boston. More importantly, the fact that ABC saw the need for a damage control piece suggests that the prospect of damage is real.

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