But in reciting the history of students who avoided the draft and Vietnam by staying in school, Kerry did say the words that no one short of Charlie Rangel has wanted to say. This war, like Vietnam, offers loopholes to those better-educated or better off than their contemporaries.
And the vociferous, over-the-top response by the AWOL-in-Chief, accusing Kerry of insulting the troops serving in Iraq, reflects how desperate Bush is to rally his base, no matter what.
For George Bush to relaunch the Swift Boat assault at the tail end of a month when more American soldiers died than in more than a year -- all the while Republicans questioned the reason for their presence -- is the ultimate insult. Bush, not Kerry, is using soldiers as a prop for his campaign.
Kerry actually offered his most eloquent defense of his military service and that of the many men swift boated four years ago by an administration noted for people who didn't complete service or had "better things to do."
"I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have."That said, Kerry should drop his fantasy of running again in 2008. He botched a winnable race two years, conspiracy theories about Ohio notwithstanding. He was a flawed candidate then and he would be a flawed candidate in 2008. His "botched joke" gave aid and comfort to those he accurately describes as "assorted right-wing nut jobs and right-wing talk show hosts."
Same goes for Mitt Romney, who joined the chorus of those condemning Kerry's remarks. You know the Romney who did not serve in Vietnam -- not the one who was brainwashed.