I feel that some very faint strains of discord have emerged between conservative "intellectuals" who have been pushing the Swift Boat controversy. It seems that many of the "intellectuals" who consider themselves a tad more serious (I'm looking at you, Glenn) would really like to make this fight about Kerry's antiwar activites. They know to some extent that the medals crap is kind of galling and a pretty transparent diversionary tactic. Kerry's antiwar position, however, they find more substantive, and they relish the prospect of a fight painting Kerry as a traditional liberal who dares to question the military in any way.

I think its a bit of a gamble, personally, and kind of pathetic they are so eager to get to that conversation. Maybe I'm too far in the bubble, but I think Kerry's speaking out against the war on his return home resonates with many more Americans than the right thinks. The trouble is that Kerry's opposition didn't have the cultural signifiers that many people really detest, i.e., priveleged hippies spitting on veterans and thinking they're so cool. Despite the Bush camp's fevered attempts to make it so. The pictures from that era show Kerry in his uniform, not in beads and a hemp shirt. And it should be hard for any American who didn't feel confusion and pain over that war to read Kerry's 1971 Congressional testimony and not feel some pangs of truth. If the last 30 years of popular culture are any guide, that's a good lot of them.

The right's gamble on this point, as it is on so many other issues this election, is whether they can convince the general populace that it shares their absolutist, see-no-evil hawkishness.


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