Rick Reed

Kerry’s “crewmates” meanwhile conducted only a handful of interviews in response until petrified Kerry political operatives yanked them permanently from public scrutiny. And now, alas, four years later, as Kerry’s name is bandied about as a potential Secretary of State or Defense to a President Obama, they’ve written a letter “proving” the Swift Boat veterans were not telling the truth.

The media naturally joins in. Yet one shouldn’t expect is an indictment of the Swifties from anyone interested in the truth; or an indictment of a system that permits 527 groups or 501(c)4’s to participate so long as they meet certain conditions. Yes, this is the same media culture that fails to hold accountable a former campaign finance reform advocate like Barack Obama for breaking his pledge to finance his campaign with federal funds.

The media has termed ”swift boating” as illegitimate, unwarranted attacks. According to the swift boat veterans I know it is defined as “exposing a political figure as a fraud.”

Yet here’s an inconvenient truth: even if you accept the media definition of “Swift-boating” as a pejorative, John Kerry “swift boated” himself. It was his unauthorized trip to Paris to meet with the North Vietnamese in 1972. It was his phony claim about conducting secret missions into Cambodia. It was his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he repeated phony charges of war atrocities allegedly committed by American troops while brave Americans were being held in North Vietnamese prison camps. And it was he who refused to answer questions about his medals or why his “honorable” discharge from the Navy came seven years after he left the service.

But the mainstream media and its allies on the left aren't the only ones who get weak-kneed when called upon to stand up for the truth. There are plenty of GOP political hacks who call themselves strategists, but who cower in the face of media criticism and who've never been closer than 1000 miles to a winning campaign. Their advice: either disavow the Swift Boat ads or stay silent. They, in fact, may be the most dangerous to the preservation of conservative values and advancement of ideas.

As to “soft money groups” it is time for conservatives to ignore Senator McCain and talk about the critical issues of the day. The other side will use its millions; we have to use every resource available to tell the truth.

After all, the truth will set you free.

Rick Reed

Rick Reed has written and produced the advertising for Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Senator George Allen (VA)- winner of PR WEEK’s Political Campaign of the Year award in 2000.