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Explaining the inexplicable

Well, he finally did it. And John Kerry's military and medical records have been released.

And if initial reports are accurate, there is scant new information therein. In fact, there are a number of tidbits which would seem to undercut some of the Swift Vets' charges against him.

So... it begs the question. (Do I really have to ask?) Why? Why now? Why not then? Just, "why"??

Here's what we're being led to believe.

  1. John Kerry ran for president, making his military service the centerpiece of his campaign.
  2. His service record, quite predictably, came under increased scrutiny, and was attacked by a well-organized, well-funded group comprising many of his fellow Swift Boat veterans.
  3. Kerry refused to release his records, or was vaguely evasive on the matter, fueling speculation that he had something to hide, thus bolstering the Swift Vets' credibility, even though the contents of his file would likely have diffused the aura of suspicion.
  4. Now that the election is safely over, he belatedly decides to release the records anyway... and there's nothing damaging within.

Okay, someone want to explain this? Anyone? Bueller?

Was this truly some ill-conceived stand on principle? Was he reluctant to grant the Swift Vets "legitimacy" by acceding to their request? Did he oppose signing Form 180 merely because his opponent, President Bush, had not done likewise?

During the campaign I certainly heard more than one Kerry supporter defending Kerry's intransigence on these grounds. So I'm curious, do these Kerry supporters still feel that way? Or do they wish he'd simply released the damn things from Square One?

I know hindsight's 20/20, but unless there's more to the story than we're seeing now, this will no doubt go down as one of the biggest political blunders in American electoral history.


I thought Kerry should have signed Form 180 back in May when the Swifties were first emerging and he already had the nomination in hand. I had written on the Swift Boat Message Board (before they kicked me off) that I doubted there was anything in the records that was worth the appearance of having something to hide.

I also felt that Dean was stupid for denying access to his records of governor. (It made Dean look like he was just another politician when he was running as if he wasn't one.) Bush also, in retrospect, almost lost the 2000 election because he waited for others to discover his DWI arrest, rather than just release the information in the summer knowing it would be forgotten by fall.

Every consultant knows to "get it out, get it behind", but politicians get pigheaded about access. (Supposedly, Karen Hughes wanted Bush to get out the DWI charge, but Bush refused. I don't know what discussions went on in the Kerry camp.)

For a supposed cynic, it's amazing that you couldn't come up with the answer yourself.
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