The President should call a press conference and distance himself from these attacks, remind the public that he has been accused of being AWOL by the DNC Chairman and therefore knows how this feels, and then clearly state to the public that the War on Terror is more important than a pissing match about what everybody did after they left Yale.I think it's bad advice. It assumes that Vietnam is ancient history that doesn't really matter to anyone except as a political weapon. That's a false assumption.
Mediators call this a conciliatory gesture, and it is a powerful tool for persuasion. Moreover, it would confirm Bush's image as a generous person, and Kerry's image as stingy and ungracious. Thereafter, every time Kerry brings up Viet Nam, something he is genetically incapable of avoiding, he will be the one responsible for the fallout.
Vietnam is why I'm voting for Bush. I didn't vote for him the first time. And he's done enough RINO things to make me refuse to vote for him again. I'm a curmudgeon. I'll never do business with Sprint again because they once cheated me out of about fifteen dollars. I'd like to say I'll never vote for Bush because he supported the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban or because he promoted amnesty for illegal aliens or because he added a huge burden to Medicare or because he signed the Campaign Finance Reform Act. All of these were inexcusable.
I wouldn't care that Kerry is one of the most liberal senators. If he wins, he'll probably have a Republican congress and they will keep him in check. As far as the War on Terror, maybe he would be another Jimmy Carter followed by another Reagan. I could go for that: four years of slowly losing the war followed by a decisive victory in the following eight.
But no. The Democrats had to nominate someone so awful that I'm forced to vote against him --man who slandered our troops in Vietnam as war criminals. You think that's no big deal? It's a big deal to me. And it's a big deal to millions of other Americans who honor the sacrifices these men made for their country. Until I read about that (on blogs, of course) I was ready to sit this election out. Now, I'm voting for Bush.
So here's some better advice: Bush should call a press conference and begin by expressing regret for negative politics. He should remind us of some of the more egregious attacks against himself. But then instead of distancing himself from the Vets Against Kerry, he should say, "I wasn't there, I don't know the facts of the matter. But these things are clear: John Kerry came back from Vietnam and accused his fellow servicemen of war crimes and atrocities. He said they were like the Mongols, devastating the countryside. He accused the officers of making this an official policy.
"John Kerry was wealthy man with powerful friends, a favorite of the anti-war activists and the press. Those he accused were unknown young men with no power, no influence, and no way to defend themselves against the accusations.
"I will not take sides on this issue. But as Americans, as honored soldiers who served our country, I will defend the right of these men to publicly respond to the accusations that John Kerry has so publicly made against them."