Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

November 24, 2003

by V


I guess Max Cleland feels the need to distort someone else's history now:

Political Wire: Quote of the Day
"Now, at a time when young Americans are being killed and wounded by President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq... Our country can not afford to have another leader who took the easy way out like George W. Bush who hid out in the Houston National Guard. We can not afford to have a leader who weaseled out of going to Vietnam on a medical deferment for a bad back and wound up on the ski slopes of Aspen like Howard Dean."

-- Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), a John Kerry supporter, quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

Cleland distorts the truth by implying that it's not possible to be medically unfit to serve and at the same time be able to ski. This is an illogical leap.

As for the rest, one can read Dean's own recent statement:
"I was a young man with an unfused vertebrae in my back that had been diagnosed during high school. At the time of my military physical, I presented army doctors with x-rays and a letter from my physician explaining the condition. On that basis, the army determined I was ineligible to serve, classifying me as 1-Y. This injury didn't keep me from leading a normal life, but it did prevent me from serving in the Army. Like many Americans at that time, I was opposed to the war. However, while I did oppose the war, I fulfilled my obligation and I told the truth."
On the one hand, you'd think this would be unworthy of a classy fellow such as Max Cleland (not to mention that Cleland's just acting as a pawn for Kerry).

On the other: this is surely the kind of smear that Republicans will use, so if Dean's to be the nominee he has to be able to show he can parry it.
Posted by V at November 24, 2003 10:32 AM

He parries it with the Republicans by bringing up Dubya's unexplained absences from the National Guard that conveniently meant he never had to take a drug test.

As for Cleland, it's a shame. But his candidate is clearly desperate. Implying that fellow Democrats are "weasels" for not lying to the Army is just a tad bit obnoxious, though.

Once again, with feeling: Adopting Republican rhetoric is a losing strategy for Democrats!

Posted by: J at November 24, 2003 10:58 AM

I guess that removes Cleland from Dean's VP short-list.

Posted by: RonZ at November 24, 2003 06:30 PM

Probably, although you never know.

Reagan picked George "Voodoo Economics" Bush, after all.

Posted by: J at November 24, 2003 10:11 PM

Cleland's obviously carrying water for Kerry, and I don't much like the tone he struck either. That being said, the story of Dean's deferment is more complex than just the Army determining he couldn't serve. Kudos to Dean for the honesty and forthrightness he shows in this article...I think more of him for admitting that his back injury was as much a convenience as an inconvenience when it came to Vietnam.

Posted by: Kevin at November 25, 2003 12:00 PM

Fair enough; what Cleland/Kerry's unspoken position is, though, is that Dean clearly should have kept quiet about his known fused vertebra in order to serve.

But doing that might have put other soldiers in danger if Dean had been responsible for, say, carrying more than he was able, or who knows what.

Is that really what they're advocating? Or is it just cheap innuendo?

My mind's made up.

Posted by: V at November 25, 2003 12:40 PM

Its not a smear, its just telling the truth. Howard Dean showed up to his physical with a letter disqualifying him from service, yet he managed to ski for a year.

Many gave Clinton crap, but at least he acted like a leader and organized protests. In other words, he took a stand. People like Kerry and Clark decided to fight.

Dean was too cowardly to do either.

Posted by: Fred at November 30, 2003 09:38 PM

That's pretty weak, anonymous coward "Fred" in Arlington, VA (Comcast).

You would prefer that Dean had kept quiet and served with a bad back that could have endangered his fellow soldiers?

Dean's been 'acting like a leader' for a long time now. The fact that you have to go so far back into the past to bitch about his character tells me more about your agenda than about Dean's fitness for office.

Posted by: V at December 1, 2003 11:18 AM

In the meantime, does no one find it kind of offensive that people are comparing serving in the military to skiing? As though they're activities of roughly comparable difficulty?

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz at December 2, 2003 08:55 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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