Importance of Kerry's medal flap

Jeff Jacoby:

"IF JOHN KERRY hadn't already clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, his medals meltdown on 'Good Morning America' this week would have sunk his campaign. Much as Howard Dean's crazed 'I Have A Scream' speech jolted voters into wondering whether someone so hotheaded should be allowed anywhere near the nuclear trigger, Kerry's abusive tirade on ABC gave millions of viewers a foretaste of how far presidential discourse will sink if Kerry becomes president.

"Not one voter in 100 would vote against Kerry for trashing his Vietnam War medals when he was 27 years old. What he did with his combat decorations in 1971 has no bearing on whether he is fit to be president today. That long-ago episode is an issue today only because Kerry's versions of it have changed so many times and because it so perfectly typifies his lifelong habit of saying one thing today and something else tomorrow -- and then denying having done so.


"On Monday's TV show, after being shown the tape of his younger self claiming to have thrown 'six, seven, eight, nine' medals onto the trash heap, Kerry heatedly insisted that he had pitched only his ribbons, not his medals. Then he insisted even more heatedly that 'ribbons, medals were absolutely interchangeable. . . . there was no distinction . . . I think, to this day, there's no distinction between the two.'

"Well, if ribbons and medals are identical, then by his own admission he did throw away his medals. So why does he angrily maintain that he didn't?


"But the questions won't go away just because Kerry snarls at the questioners. By itself, the medals incident matters hardly at all. But as a surrogate for all the issues on which Kerry has ducked and dissembled, it matters very much."


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