No one should have to suffer the indignity of a moral lecture from Sen. John Kerry as did fellow Missourian Sam Fox at hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination for Belgium ambassador.
Given Kerry's history of self-indulgence and hubris, it should come as no surprise that he would forget his proper role in the hearings -- as a senator considering the nominee's qualifications and fitness -- and turn the proceedings into an embarrassing spectacle about himself.
Kerry was not about to forego this opportunity to transfer his unquenched hostility against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to Mr. Fox, who, it turns out, had donated $50,000 to that group during the 2004 presidential race.
Though Fox received "glowing tributes" from a number of senators, Kerry didn't even try to mask his anger. He said, "I assume that you believe that the truth in public life is important? Might I ask you what your opinion is with respect to the state of American politics as regards the politics of personal destruction?"
Unfortunately, perhaps because he didn't anticipate that Kerry would stoop so low as to turn his confirmation hearings into a public vendetta and therapy session, Fox conceded that all 527 groups, like the Swiftees, are "mean and destructive" and "smearing lies." But he justified his contribution on the grounds that both sides engage in negative campaigning and it would be political suicide for one side to quit doing it while the other continued.
Seeing an opening, Kerry asked, "So two wrongs make a right? Is that your judgment that you would bring to the ambassadorship?"
I sure hope that Fox, on reflection, doesn't truly believe that (SET ITAL) all (END ITAL) 527s, especially the Swiftees, were issuing lies. Despite the distortions of the overtly biased mainstream media and the "conventional wisdom" decreed by the cultural elite that the Swiftees were completely discredited, the Swiftees were not exposed as liars.
Swiftee leader John O'Neill exhaustively demonstrated that it was Kerry, not the Swiftees, who was lying. Kerry was forced to change his stories a number of times during the ordeal, such as with the tall tale about his little excursion to Cambodia.
I know this is pure fantasy, but I wish Mr. Fox had said something like the following to Mr. Kerry:
"Sen. Kerry, I wholly reject your premise. While two wrongs don't make a right, I deny, sir, that the Swift Boat Veterans did anything wrong. In fact, Senator, I applaud them for their courageous and patriotic service in boldly publicizing facts about your service that were relevant to your fitness to serve as president and commander in chief. I will note, Senator, that despite endless opportunities, you never answered the group's plausible allegations against you, many of which were substantiated by multiple witnesses. While you later said you should have fought back harder, the obvious truth is that you chose not to fight back because you had no credible answers. Indeed, you refused to produce the one set of documents that could vindicate you if their contents conform to your version of history: your medical records. You have repeatedly broken promises to release them. There is only one possible explanation for that, sir, and it isn't in your favor.
"Your supporters speciously attempted to impeach the Swiftee's claims by saying that some of the witnesses weren't in your boat, knowing full well, sir, that they were in other boats in sufficiently close proximity to make them actual eye witnesses to the events they were describing.
"Senator, I cannot in good conscience apologize for having contributed to the Swiftees. I am proud of having done so. But for their exposure of your real record, you might well be commander in chief of our armed forces today. I shudder at that thought, not just because of your record of softness on defense, but your pattern of slandering our troops, yesterday and today, and disrespecting their sacrificial service.
"Sir, I find your misuse of these hearings to lash out at your political opponents, once again, where they are not present to respond, appalling and cowardly. And while you have the legal right to lecture me about the importance of 'truth in public life,' I find your audacity breathtaking, given your obvious lack of moral authority to do so.
"You, sir, are free to vote against my confirmation. And while I would be honored to serve as ambassador, I will not grovel for the position, nor will I consent to your revised version of history. You are free publicly to exorcise your personal demons, even on the public's time, but I will trust that most of your colleagues will base their vote on matters relevant to my fitness to serve. Thank you."