Ann Coulter

There are several methods of evaluating the claims of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, 254 of whom have signed a letter saying John Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief.

There is the Bill O'Reilly method, which is to abandon independent thinking and simply come out in the middle, irrespective of where the two sides are. In response to Newt Gingrich's remark that the Swift Boat Veterans' independent ads were "the conservative movement's answer to Michael Moore," O'Reilly said, "I don't want either of them."

In Nazi Germany, O'Reilly would have condemned both Hitler's death camps and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In Bill O'Reilly's world, King Solomon would have actually cut the disputed baby in half.

The O'Reilly method of analysis works well about once a century. The last time was when Hitler invaded Russia in 1941.

Then there is the Chris Matthews method, which is to decide in advance that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are the lowest form of human life imaginable and then publicly excoriate them for consuming oxygen.

Matthews employs a logical calculus known as "begging the question," which goes something like this:

  1. John Kerry claims to be a great war hero.

  2. Maybe so, but legitimate questions have been raised about his combat record.

  3. How can you say that about a great war hero like John Kerry?

When John O'Neill, author of "Unfit for Command," went on "Hardball," Matthews accused O'Neill of being a Republican operative and demanded that O'Neill detail for "Hardball's" six remaining viewers his voting history for the past 20 years in mind-numbing detail. (Completely destroying his case against Kerry, in 1988, O'Neill voted for George Herbert Walker Bush!) Apparently voting for a Republican presidential candidate 15 years ago is a credibility-destroyer, whereas being a former member of the White House staff under Jimmy Carter, as Chris Matthews is, enhances one's credibility.

Normally an interview on a newly released book consists of the author being asked questions about his book and the author answering the questions. With O'Neill, Matthews interviewed himself.