It's amazing, actually.
John Kerry doesn't even begin to campaign. He takes a week off to hit the slopes in Idaho - his only dalliance with the press was his calling a secret service agent a "son of a bitch" for cutting him off in mid-snowboard. Who wouldn't? But by and large, Kerry was a non-story in his self-imposed exile from the rigors of the primary season.
The Bush-Cheney army took advantage of the situation to start whipping out the fairy tales on Kerry; the $900 billion tax hike, the flips and flops, the out-of-context sound bites. It seemed as though the Bush party was going to set the tone and dominate the conversation. Kerry would return from his vacation having to answer all the charges leveled against his service, his voting record and his character by the Bush campaign. Many observers - this blog included - worried that Kerry was on the ropes and was being put in the worst possible place for a presidential candidate to be.
On the defensive.
Then - the miracle.
Team Bush suddenly found themselves ambushed in the wide open spaces of public scrutiny. There was no aircraft carrier to strut on. There was no turkey to hide behind. The top levels of the Bush administration were head-spinningly forced into that abyss known as covering your ass. Controlling an out-of-control spin. The "D' word.
It wasn't prompted by Kerry.
It wasn't revealed by Democratic operatives.
It wasn't the dirty work of the 527s or the evil ramblings of the liberal media.
It was the latest in a series of patriotic public servants who spent the better part of their lives serving their country and the last few years serving their president. It was Richard A. Clarke, President Bush's head of counterterrorism until 2003.
The attack dogs were suddenly stopped dead in their tracks, blindsided by someone they thought they knew. They thought he was one of their own, which meant he took that implied oath of loyalty to the boy king and his minions - that any betrayal would surely be met with the bile and hostility of those protecting the secretive subculture known as the Bush Cartel, among other names.
He knew he would face the wrath of the Republican party, the minority known as the Bush voters. He would be subject to ridicule and his nasty personal habits would be displayed before the cameras in an endless media parade.
But this was no ordinary enemy of the White House. In fact, until the book was profiled on 60 Minutes, Richard A. Clarke was known to be a Republican. He voted for Bush over Al Gore in 2000. He could have voted to continue the glorious Clinton dynasty which the White House associates him with, but instead bought into the compassionate conservatism of Bush II.
So the Clinton loyalist meme didn't stick.
CORRECTION: This last point was culled from published reports. Clarke disclosed on the 3/28 edition of Meet The Press that he voted for Gore in 2000.
He was, by Cheney's admission, kept out of the loop in counterterrorism meetings between January 20 and September 4, 2001. But at the same time, he was in on ALL the counterterrorism meetings during that time, according to Condoleezza Rice.
So the "out of the loop" idea never held water.
His opening statement at the 9/11 Commission public hearing begged the forgiveness of the 9/11 families for their government's failure in doing all that could have been done to prevent their loved ones' horrific demise.
So the heartless traitor to America label didn't stand a chance.
They rounded up the troops to find the character flaws. What was he like? Did he have a temper? Well, he IS strong-willed, so he MUST be hot-headed. And he's definitely grinding SOME axe in his book. The balloon was floated, but quickly flew out of sight.
So the angry-man theory never sprouted feet.
Moreover, much to the chagrin of the entire Bush attack machine, they never, EVER saw any of this coming.
So their ability to launch an effective pre-emptive strike suffered a fatal blow.
The quiet dignity of this one man - who went before the American public with a heart heavy with pain over not only an attack upon our land, but his superiors' efforts to link that horror to another endeavor in Iraq which took over 600 more American souls - has caught the attention of many Americans who had until now accepted Bush and company as our shield against terror.
Suddenly, the soft underbelly was exposed. The warriors are really sheep. The saviors of democracy drained the good will of the world to fulfill our darkest enemy's prediction - that America would take over an oil-rich Arab nation in the name of terror fighting. And the leaders of the free world had been revealed as the scared cockraoches they are when the glaring light of truth shines in their faces.
And disgraceful hate-filled vindictives such as this are only making Americans more incensed at the viciousness and insensitivity of the supporters of the so-called leaders of our nation.
Never has such a self-proclaimed administration of stone become so obsessed over the words of one man that they practically ceased running the country to embark on a campaign to assassinate his character and question his loyalty. The White House dispatched an assault by the highest levels of their cabinet with more ferocity and fervor than against every taped threat by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri combined.
Because this time, it wasn't America that was threatened. It was their egos.
We now know their achilles heel. We now know their vulnerablility. It's not the challenging of their policies. It's not the challenging of their record. It's not even the challenging of their motives.
Richard Clarke put forth a devastating argument which finally made America ask, "Why are these people running our country?"
Their achilles heel is the challenging of the image they've created for themselves. It's all they have. And Richard Clarke torpedoed a crater into it this week.
It's now Kerry's race to lose. Bring it on, John. Your moment has arrived.
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