Democrats and double standards

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

Commentary by Michael Reagan

Democrats are demanding that President Bush stop Vietnam Veterans for Truth – an organization over which he has no control – from running their TV ad questioning John Kerry’s claims about his Vietnam service. They want him to condemn the ad.

The Democrats, however, refuse to apologize for the ads that are being taken out by and the other sleazy 527 organizations they have doing their dirty work for them. They think that they have every right to do or say anything they want regarding the president, but the president has no right to say anything, nor have groups opposing John Kerry any right to express their opinion about John Kerry.

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Senator Kerry wants to go through this election without having anyone talk about his record, or talk about his past. When the news media talk about Kerry’s ads about the president they talk solely about the content of his ads.

When they talk about the Bush ads they always refer to them as “attack ads.” Kerry’s ads in their view are not attacks ads. He’s merely opening horizons to allow people to think seriously about the issues even though the ads are a pack of lies.

The Democrats and the left will not apologize for their ads. They say they are sensitive, educational. They won’t even apologize for Senator Tom Harkin’s disgusting attack on Vice President Cheney, who he called a coward.

Here’s what Harkin said: “When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil,” Harkin said. “Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don’t like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he’ll be tough. He’ll be tough with somebody else’s blood, somebody else’s kids. But not when it was his turn to go.”

Calling the Vice President of the United States a coward because he did not serve in the military is really calling all the 14 million Americans who also didn’t serve in Vietnam cowards.

That’s perfectly fine with the Kerry crew who insist that Harkin had every right to make this slanderous charge, but when it comes to charges made by 254 brave men who served in Kerry’s Vietnam unit – charges made by every single officer in the chain of command, many of them highly decorated – and hordes of enlisted men as well, the President is told he must condemn them out of hand.

The fact that the president has already condemned all of the 527 groups’ ads as an abuse of the campaign finance law is not enough for the Kerrycrats. They want him to pull the veteran’s ads off the air which he has absolutely no power to do. They know that, of course, but that doesn’t stop them from shouting it from the rooftops. The truth is not in them.

They always find excuses to accept whatever their own people do, no matter how slimy their attacks are as long as they are pointing fingers at the president. It isn’t enough that the president has denounced all of these ads – they demand that he pull the swift boat ad, fully aware that it is not his ad and therefore can’t order it stopped.

If I recall correctly, it was Kerry’s running mate John Edwards who said if you want to know about Kerry’s war record all you have to do is spend three minutes with anybody who served with him in VietNam. Now come 254 veterans who did serve with John Kerry and the Kerry-Edwards campaign calls them liars.

Well a lot of people are heeding Edwards’ advice and spending time listening to men who did serve with John Kerry, and Kerry and Edwards don’t like it. As my colleagues at reported the other day, 8,000 Americans from all across the nation have already contributed $400,000 to help the vets keep the ad running.

Mike Reagan is a nationally syndicated columnist. E-mail him at