Patterns

Among the excellent columns online this morning are several that note patterns observable in the current political circumstances. The opening paragraphs in Charles Krauthammer’s “Going Apoplectic” make the case that the current Democratic apoplexy is a peculiar kind of recurring phenomenon:

Upon losing a game at the 1925 Baden-Baden tournament, Aaron Nimzowitsch, the great chess theoretician and a superb player, knocked the pieces off the board, jumped on the table and screamed, “How can I lose to this idiot?”
Nimzowitsch may have lived decades ago in Denmark, but had the soul of a modern American Democrat. After all, Democrats have been saying much the same — with similar body language — ever since the erudite Adlai Stevenson lost to the syntactically challenged Eisenhower in 1952. They said it again when they lost to that supposed simpleton Reagan. Twice, would you believe. With George W. Bush, they are at it again, and equally apoplectic.

Rich Lowry’s column “The McCain myth” observes the pattern in the public positions taken by John McCain:

Well, on almost any issue not directly related to the war on terror, McCain can be expected to come down on the side not of the conservatives, the liberals, the Republicans or the Democrats, but of the journalistic clerisy. Determine what the conventional wisdom of the press is (in this case that the Swift Boat vets are discreditable), and there John McCain will be, standing like a stone wall.

As Lowry notes, the object of McCain’s most recent anathemas is the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group. In his Wall Street Journal column “We’re not GOP shills,” Swift Vets leader John O’Neill himself observes a pattern:

We have faced assaults on our character, motives, personal backgrounds and honesty. We are told that Mr. Kerry’s camp has prepared attack dossiers on the members of our organization. I have been charged with being a Republican shill. But for more than 30 years, I have been non-political, and have voted for as many Democrats as Republicans. In truth, I consider myself a political independent, regardless of how John Kerry and his supporters try to characterize me.
The Kerry-Edwards camp has threatened TV stations with libel suits should they choose to run our ads. Mr. Kerry has filed a complaint with the FEC, seeking to silence us.
How many different ways will John Kerry devise to ask President Bush to condemn our ads and squash our book? Why, Mr. Kerry, are our charges as a 527 group unacceptable to you, while the pronouncements from 527 groups favorable to you are considered acceptable, regardless of stridency and veracity? And we do not have a George Soros, willing to drop millions into our modest group. We control our message. To date, we have received $2 million from 30,000 Americans who have donated an average of around $64.
Mr. Kerry, we ask you not to repeat the same mistake you made when you returned from war: Please stop maligning your fellow veterans.

O’Neill concludes with a demand that implicitly observes the consistent pattern of Kerry’s conduct regarding the evidence of Kerry’s service in Vietnam:

Dealing with us should be easy. Just answer our charges. Produce your Vietnam journal and notes, and execute Standard Form 180 so the American people can see your complete military record–not just the few forms you put on your website or show to campaign biographers.

O’Neill’s allusion in the last sentence is to Kerry’s authorized hagiographer Douglas Brinkley and to Brinkley’s book Tour of Duty. Brinkley’s book fails to document any secret mission to Cambodia by Kerry and its silence is a prime piece of evidence against Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia fable.
Now that the blogosphere has exhaustively documented the Christmas in Cambodia fable and the Kerry campaign itself has retracted it, inquiring minds want to know: Where is Douglas Brinkley? His disappearance itself appears to be part of the pattern observed by O’Neill at the end of his column.

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