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Author Topic: Carl Rove
Mr Xin Ku
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Hello everyone. It's been a while since I've posted here (though occassionally I still lurk). I thought, though that this would be a good place to pick people's brains.

I realized that I hear a lot of things about Carl Rove that are very general, but very few specifics. Love him or hate him, people seem to agree that he is quite shrewd.

Does anybody know anything specific about him that is telling about what kind of person he is? Yes, I already looked at Wikipedia and a few other places, but aside from having a good track record, I can't find specific examples of things he's done to earn the awe or hate given him.

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Brainard
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I think his name is Karl Rove, other than that I know nothing (aka I'm Shultzing it)
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Everard
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One of the first things I learned about Karl Rove was that he was behind the attacks on McCain in the republican primaries in 2000, which in southern states accused McCain as having fathered an illegitimate child with a black woman.
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KnightEnder
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I believe he has been with Bush since Texas and I read an article describing his 'genius' but I don't know where. Sorry I couldn't be more help. I think his talent lies in campaign strategy.

KE

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pickled shuttlecock
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He's a Slytherin.
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0Megabyte
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Pickle,d that made me laugh.
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TommySama
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If you go to the link to read all that, there is a pretty good link from there with a detailed analysis of Rove's tactics


http://www.powerseductionandwar.com/

War Games--Taking on Karl Rove - August 11, 2006

We are gearing up for an election only a few months away, and so I think it appropriate to look at someone who looms large in the picture: Karl Rove. Let us say a few things about him for which there is certainly no argument:

He is intensely competitive. He cannot stand losing. When he is involved in an election in which his man or woman looks like they are in trouble, Mr. Rove tends to go dirty. Sometimes real dirty. This is not legend but fact. I draw your attention to this excellent article in The Atlantic Monthly.
Mr. Rove is a master of distraction. He appears to be doing something for one set purpose, but it is actually for something else. He conceals his intentions this way. He stirs up a lot of confusing emotions around something simple, to create enough fog so that nothing is clear, least of all his client's past mistakes.
He focuses in on the center of gravity of any competitive situation. If he is in charge of an electoral campaign for judges or congress, he chooses the key battles into which he puts his energy and resources. His most interesting use of the center of gravity is to attack his opponent's strengths, not his weaknesses. By knocking out an opponent's strengths, he cuts the legs out from under him. (See chapter 16 in The 33 Strategies of War for a discussion of hitting critical vulnerabilities.) An example of this would be the swiftboating of Kerry. He went after Kerry's war record, what a normal person would consider unassailable and not worth attacking. This is a clever strategy on his part. As a corollary to this, he will work to strengthen his own side's weaknesses, neutralizing the enemy's attacks on this point. Mr. Rove does not like to give his opponents any targets to hit. (This is Rove's key strategy, the center of his gravity!)
He will aim at wedge issues, following the divide and conquer strategy. This is something he inherited from the late Lee Atwater.
He is a proponent of the Napoleonic counterattack, a sudden and unexpected charge against an opponent's weaknesses, generally something in his character. This is often allied with a campaign that has gone dirty.
Mr. Rove loves to control the dynamic. He seeks to determine the parameters of the argument, drawing opponent's into discussions that are not of their choosing, baiting them into hot-button arguments that lead them off message. He always aims for control.
He is a master of detail and organization. He comes up with a large plan for an election, almost like a general mapping out a grand strategy. And he keeps to it no matter what happens. Kind of like a football coach who draws up the first fifteen plays. He weaves his tactics and strategies into a seamless web.
Clearly he has identified the Iraq War as a kind of center of gravity here. He must control the debate around this issue. It is his opponent's apparent strength, as all polls indicate that the war is unpopular. He will aim to distract, to create enough fog around this issue so that nobody knows what it is really about any more. Emotions will get heated, and no one will look quite right. He will turn it around: to be in favor of withdrawal is to be soft on the war on terror. The Democrat strength will turn into a weakness, as it turns on the issue of national security. He will hammer this home in battle after battle, until the Democrats will either be forced to answer with a concrete solution to the War (a weakness of theirs) or will avoid it, which indicates another kind of weakness. A dilemma he poses.

He will use events in the news to always control the dynamic and frame them his way. A terrorist plot to blow up planes will fit the national security question. The Israel and Lebanon struggle will fit into the broader picture of terror. No matter what is prominent in the news--Castro dying, oil prices spiking, down or upturn in the economy--he will move first to frame its meaning the Republican way.

He will keep to this script. His goal will be to stir up enough emotions on wedge issues, such as gay marriage or flag burning, that Democrats will get angry, and say all kinds of things, all of which will only serve to light a fire under the Republicans' base, a key factor in his strategy, and a brilliant use of concealing intentions. He will accept some losses in both houses, but the goal is to not lose control of either. The doomsday scenario is to lose control of both and to have all kinds of investigations opened up by Democrats that may uncover more bad things (Halliburton?) and lead to criminal charges.

With that in mind, he will pour time and energy into key battlegrounds to avoid that fate, conceding some seats here and there. Everything will be a set up to 2008, the real prize. This election is only a part of a larger campaign to build a period of Republican dominance. He knows the Republicans have taken a large step backwards with the War (he is no fool). He wants to buy them time to right the ship, and build the kind of electoral lock that will keep the Republicans in power for a long time. He is not a right-wing ideologue as some might think, but a pragmatist and in that sense may very well prefer a more pragmatic candidate in 2008 than the ideological Bush. If this 2006 election starts to look bad, he will go dirty and nasty. Whisper campaigns are part of this, as well as all kinds of skullduggery. He cannot afford to lose both houses.

The question to Democrats: this is all out there. It is clear what is coming on the horizon--the stakes, the strategies, etc. How do you defend against this? What are the plans of the Democrats? Are they prepared for a nasty fight in which fairness and rationality will be thrown out the window? Will they end up losing the election and complaining about Republican tactics and strategies, or will they have a defense and offense in place? All indications are that they are as chaotic and unprepared as usual. In normal times, this is their election to lose. What would your answer be, how would you counter this strategic beast named Rove, wresting control from him and putting him on the defensive? It is you versus Rove, mano a mano.

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pickled shuttlecock
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It was Rove who was behind the swiftboating of Kerry?
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hobsen
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If generals are always fighting the last war, politicians are always fighting the last election. Rove looked brilliant in the past - and I have no doubt he is brilliant - because the electorate was so evenly divided the outcome turned on strategy. This year the mood of the voters says, "Throw the bums out!"

The best Democratic tactic would be - in my untutored opinion - simply to say as little as possible. The voters have made up their minds already, and they are not listening. They will only start to listen if Democrats try to answer Republican charges; otherwise the Republicans will just look ridiculous. Let the situation in Iraq make the news; that is hardly likely to benefit the Republican cause. Or let it be the price of gas at the pump. Or a terrorist attack on American soil. Whatever happens, the Republicans - controlling both houses of Congress and the Presidency - are going to get blamed.

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G2
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Change the name to Paul Begalia or James Carville and you'd be accurately describing their strategy and tactics.
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velcro
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G2,

Care to post any actual facts to back that up? If not, there's no point.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
It was Rove who was behind the swiftboating of Kerry?
This was my question too. I hadn't heard of this specific accusation. Given how much Kerry's former military colleagues clearly despised him, (for reasons far beyond the simple medal issue) it's hard to see why Rove would have needed to be involved in getting the Swift Boat thing off the ground. Then again, it's not inconceivable that he coordinated or helped organize it. How do such things work?

That analysis of Rove's tactics paints him as some kind of Darth Sidius. Are there any concrete facts to back up what that author was writing, or is the author some kind of bitter Democrat who is so incredulous at his party's latest defeat that he needs some kind of boogeyman to blame it on.

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Jesse
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"Given how much Kerry's former military colleagues clearly despised him"

jasonr, how many swifties actually served under Kerry?

How many of the men who DID serve under him actively campaigned for him?

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Gaoics79
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As I recall, only a handful of men served under Kerry (however many fit on a swiftboat). Those did not seem to have a problem with him (publicly, anyway). It was just apparently everyone else who was ever a swift boat veteran, who hated his guts, and willfully joined an organization dedicated to attacking him. Those colleagues certainly despised him.

What's your point? That hundreds of swift boat veterans are all Republican shills lying about him to get George W. Bush elected? That because the men who directly were under his command never complained, we therefore should ignore the voices of all the people who served concurrently with the guy?

Did Democrat WWII veterans start a group to destroy Bob Dole? Was McCain attacked by war veterans in his campaign? How come Kerry was the only veteran vulnerable to this kind of attack? My feeling is, when a guy is despised by all his former colleagues, the very people who should be his strongest supporters... when they join political groups dedicated to his downfall... well, this says alot about a person, doesn't it?

[ September 05, 2006, 09:35 AM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Gaoics79
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On the Karl Rove issue, I'm sincerely curious: is there evidence that Karl Rove was specifically behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, as the article implies, or is the author just assuming he was behind everything that went wrong in Kerry's campaign, as part of his overarching "Darth Sidius" theory of how Bush won the last election?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
How come Kerry was the only veteran vulnerable to this kind of attack?
I think this says quite a bit about Karl Rove.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
I think this says quite a bit about Karl Rove.
Well now you're begging the question. Do we know that Karl Rove engineered the swift boat campaign? (not rhetorical)
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TomDavidson
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We don't "know" it, in that there's no documentation that Rove engaged in something that would have been arguably illegal. It is, however, similar enough in structure to other campaigns he's since been discovered to -- again, originally clandestinely -- have been involved in that the safe bet is on his involvement. Certainly, the timing, the funding, and the message are classic Rove, as is his official "detachment" from the media front-end. Certainly the traditional "web of connections" includes a number of Rove confederates, past employers, etc., but this could just be an example of incestuous Texas politics in action; at the end of the day, though, believing Rove was somehow uninvolved while all that money and strategy was passing right under his nose seems slightly incredible.

[ September 05, 2006, 12:13 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Gaoics79
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Fair enough. Do you believe that the statements made in the article are accurate? (since you seem to know alot about this subject)
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pickled shuttlecock
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Certainly, the timing, the funding, and the message are classic Rove, as is his official "detachment" from the media front-end.

I love this. His detachment from the campaign is cited as evidence of his involvement.

That's just killer.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
His detachment from the campaign is cited as evidence of his involvement.
Specifically, his "detachment" is cited. By which I mean his pseudo-detachment, the "I'm going to repeatedly say that I'm involved in no way with this thing, despite the fact that my immediate subordinates are scheduling rallies on its behalf." Rove is the freakin' king of deniability; I'd be honestly surprised if he didn't have a third-party group endorse his paychecks for him.
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Jesse
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"It was just apparently everyone else who was ever a swift boat veteran, who hated his guts, and willfully joined an organization dedicated to attacking him."

False. Not only did a great many swiftboat vets not join the group, it's members included men like the Doctor with the amazing memory about the exact nature of a superficial injury 30 years ago...not a swiftboat vet.

Many of the groups members were not in service concurrently with Kerry.

"Did Democrat WWII veterans start a group to destroy Bob Dole?"

Do you think that might say something about WWII Veterans? None of them started a group to attack the "hero" of the PT-109 incident, either.

"How come Kerry was the only veteran vulnerable to this kind of attack?"

He is far from being the only Politician who served in Vietnam to have his service belittled.

I'm not making claims about anyones motives.

I'm correcting innacurate statements.

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Everard
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http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=004328;p=1&r=nfx

In case you REALLY want to dig up the swift-vet craptacular.

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Gaoics79
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I won't dig up the past. Suffice it to say:

1. I never was convinced that the SVFT were "debunked", no matter how many times people repeated this mantra.

2. Regardless of the validity of their primary charges, the fact that about 250 swift boat veterans hated their former compatriot enough to start a campaign against him speaks volumes about his character. They did not just "belittle" his service Jesse. They organized an entire campaign against him. What kind of man inspires such hatred and vitriol in people who should have been kindred spirits?

3. The answer, of course, is obvious: his blatant and indisputable hypocrisy. This is a man who publicly and on the record said highly inflammatory and awful things about his military colleagues. Then decades later, he tried to play up his military record to get himself elected, capitalizing on his status as a "war hero".

From where I'm standing, there's no need for Karl Rove to have engineered anything. If I were a veteran, I'd want this guy's head on a platter.

Which isn't to say that Rove didn't have some hand in coordinating/organizing the SBVT. I'd welcome some evidence of this. But Tom's argument amounts to little more than "it's similar to something Rove did in the past, so I'm betting it was his doing". Not a very strong argument. The whole thing is rather circular. How do we know Rove is an evil genius? Because he engineered the SBVT. How do we know he engineered the SBVT? Because it's something an evil genius like Rove would do!

[ September 06, 2006, 02:21 AM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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pickled shuttlecock
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
His detachment from the campaign is cited as evidence of his involvement.
Specifically, his "detachment" is cited. By which I mean his pseudo-detachment, the "I'm going to repeatedly say that I'm involved in no way with this thing, despite the fact that my immediate subordinates are scheduling rallies on its behalf." Rove is the freakin' king of deniability; I'd be honestly surprised if he didn't have a third-party group endorse his paychecks for him.
Maybe he had to repeat his detachment because his subordinates were scheduling rallies?

It's all well and good, though, you have your prior beliefs and I have mine. You just happen to see the Republican party through Rove-colored glasses.

*rimshot*

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Everard
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"1. I never was convinced that the SVFT were "debunked", no matter how many times people repeated this mantra."

Really? Almost every claim they put forward that could be factually verified could not be verified by the historical record, or were contradicted by it.

" Regardless of the validity of their primary charges, the fact that about 250 swift boat veterans hated their former compatriot enough to start a campaign against him speaks volumes about his character"

Except that, most of them didn't know him, and most of the group that did, had said very POSITIVE things about him 10 years previously. So, they were lying SOMEWHERE, which at best makes them untrustworthy.

The fact that ten years ago they said nice things about kerry, but oppose his policies, to me indicates its pretty likely someone external to the group organized them.

"What kind of man inspires such hatred and vitriol in people who should have been kindred spirits?

3. The answer, of course, is obvious: his blatant and indisputable hypocrisy. This is a man who publicly and on the record said highly inflammatory and awful things about his military colleagues. Then decades later, he tried to play up his military record to get himself elected, capitalizing on his status as a "war hero"."

I see no hypocrisy at all in what kerry said in the early 70's, and using his status as a no-quotes needed war hero.

[ September 06, 2006, 06:07 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
We don't "know" it, in that there's no documentation that Rove engaged in something that would have been arguably illegal. It is, however, similar enough in structure to other campaigns he's since been discovered to -- again, originally clandestinely -- have been involved in that the safe bet is on his involvement. Certainly, the timing, the funding, and the message are classic Rove, as is his official "detachment" from the media front-end. Certainly the traditional "web of connections" includes a number of Rove confederates, past employers, etc., but this could just be an example of incestuous Texas politics in action; at the end of the day, though, believing Rove was somehow uninvolved while all that money and strategy was passing right under his nose seems slightly incredible.

The proof is that it seems like something Rove would do, people he knew may be involved and, most damning of all, he denies doing it. This is the kind of "proof" offered by conspiracy theorists and is very difficult, if not impossible, to refute since it is not falsifiable (there is no proof to falsify).
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
"1. I never was convinced that the SVFT were "debunked", no matter how many times people repeated this mantra."

Really? Almost every claim they put forward that could be factually verified could not be verified by the historical record, or were contradicted by it.

The problem with your claim is that the historical record that could have resolved many of the claims of both sides was never released - Kerry's military records. He said he released them, the followed up weeks later with a promise to release them but they were never released. Parsing your statement, it would be technically correct - all that could be factually verified could not be verified by the historical record. However, that's only true because the record was never released, not because it contradicted the the SVFT claims.

[ September 06, 2006, 07:04 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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Jesse
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"2. Regardless of the validity of their primary charges, the fact that about 250 swift boat veterans hated their former compatriot enough to start a campaign against him speaks volumes about his character. They did not just "belittle" his service Jesse. They organized an entire campaign against him. What kind of man inspires such hatred and vitriol in people who should have been kindred spirits? "


Actually, most of them didn't organize squat.

They just signed up on-line to join an organization that charged no dues and required nothing from them.

So, 250+ of all the men who served in Vietnam whose service was in some way related to Swiftboat operations hated Kerry enough to essentially sign a petition?

Yeah, that says an awful lot.

Edited to add

According to their site, even at this late date 160 people total have signed their petition.

https://www.swiftvets.com/swift/petition.php

In addition, SBVFT chose to be a 527, rather than a PAC. 527s aren't required to list donors, and they don't.

http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/index.php?topic=FAQ

[ September 06, 2006, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Gaoics79
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Ev, I followed the SBVT controversy at the time. I don't recall the ins and outs of the evidence, but my conclusion, based on the evidence I saw, was that the charges were highly debatable. They were not vindicated or proven absolutely true, but neither were they "debunked" or proven false, as so many repeated over and over again like a mantra. Both sides argued, and both sides made decent cases, from where I am standing.

I do not focus on the validity of the charges. That was never the part of the whole thing that struck me as significant. The issue was that as a matter of public record, this man maligned his fellow soldiers by making allegations of rape, maiming and other war crimes. He attacked the very institution and the very symbols which he would later capitalize on for political gain. You can either believe that the military and everything it did in Vietnam was monstrous and corrupt, or you can stand proud as a war hero, but you cannot do both. This was Kerry's hypocrisy.

So here's a guy who was accusing his fellow soldier's of cutting off ears and killing babies who now wants to sell himself as a war hero 30 years later. "Reporting for duty" he said. His war record was suddenly something to be proud of, something to brag about, instead of something he was once so ashamed of.

Maybe Karl Rove did engineer the whole thing. So far, I haven't seen a shred of evidence that he did, but I admit it's possible. But then again, in light of the above, I find it far more plausible that this guy, with good reason, was so despised by the men who served concurrently with him (whether they were specifically on the same boat as him, or knew him personally is irrelevent; they knew what he said, what he did) that they started a grass-roots organization dedicated to attacking him.

It speaks very poorly of a man's character when people who should be his greatest allies and supporters are gunning for him and hate his guts. Even if Karl Rove organized SBVT, he certainly didn't force those 250 odd swift boat veterans to join up and sign the petition. They can't ALL be republican stooges.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
So, 250+ of all the men who served in Vietnam whose service was in some way related to Swiftboat operations hated Kerry enough to essentially sign a petition?

Yeah, that says an awful lot.

It certainly does.
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Everard
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How many of those men had previously said positive things about kerry?

How many of them were fooled into signing the petition?

How many of the rest actually SERVED with kerry?

AT that point, we're down to a very small number of people.

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Everard
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"It certainly does."

Not if someone came to them and said "This guy whose policies you don't like is running for president. Would you sign this petition saying he isn't fit to be commander in chief?"

At that point, you're basically asking how many military men support democratic policies. And you should get about 60% of everyone you ask, if you only ask navy vets from vietnam.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
How many of those men had previously said positive things about kerry?

How many of them were fooled into signing the petition?

How many of the rest actually SERVED with kerry?

AT that point, we're down to a very small number of people.

I don't know. If you have evidence that the majority of those soldiers changed stories or lied or were fooled, then I'm game. It would be the first I heard of it, since as far as I know, the person details of the majority of the members of the group were never made an issue. I only recall the ring-leaders being scrutinized at the time.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Not if someone came to them and said "This guy whose policies you don't like is running for president. Would you sign this petition saying he isn't fit to be commander in chief?"

At that point, you're basically asking how many military men support democratic policies. And you should get about 60% of everyone you ask, if you only ask navy vets from vietnam.

Nonsense. Just because you won't vote for the guy or support his policies, doesn't mean you join an organization that accuses him of being a fraud and being unfit to be president.
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Everard
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" I only recall the ring-leaders being scrutinized at the time."

Yup. And several of the ring leaders had said positive things about kerry in the 90's.

So, we can cross a few of the ring leaders off our list of people who actually should be counted from the 160 or so who ever signed the petition.

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Everard
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"Nonsense. Just because you won't vote for the guy or support his policies, doesn't mean you join an organization that accuses him of being a fraud and being unfit to be president."

As you said, not much was ever made public about this. There was one high profile case of someone saying he was fraudulently enlisted into swift vets. How many other people were approached in a manner similar to the one I suggest? We don't KNOW, but we DO know that someone made enough of a stink about how he was enlisted into swift vets that it made national news.

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Jesse
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I sure didn't call them stooges.

If someone had funded a "PT Boat Veterans For Truth" organization in 1959, I'm fairly certain at least 250 men who served on, or in commands affiliated with, PT boats probably would have signed a petition declaring Kennedy "unfit for command".

Edited to add

"Best estimates put the number of Swift personnel assigned as crew or in a support role to total between 3,000 and 3,500 from 1965 through 1973 when the last U.S. Naval Advisors left country"


http://www.swiftboats.org/

160 signed the petition.

Do that many 'Nam vets lack internet access?

[ September 06, 2006, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
As you said, not much was ever made public about this. There was one high profile case of someone saying he was fraudulently enlisted into swift vets. How many other people were approached in a manner similar to the one I suggest? We don't KNOW, but we DO know that someone made enough of a stink about how he was enlisted into swift vets that it made national news.
In other words, you have almost no evidence of any kind of widespread fraud. The above is little more than conjecture.

quote:
If someone had funded a "PT Boat Veterans For Truth" organization in 1959, I'm fairly certain at least 250 men who served on, or in commands affiliated with, PT boats probably would have signed a petition declaring Kennedy "unfit for command".
I'm not sure what your point is. My point is that mere party affiliation and differences in political philosophy don't normally cause one's kindred soldiers to stab one in the back. Did hundreds of WWII veterans organize to bring down Bob Dole? Do you think they could have gotten a host of Vietnam vets to attack Wesley Clark or John McCain? Not bloody likely.

[ September 06, 2006, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Jesse
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That a concerted effort could probably turn up at least fifty Guardsmen, who served at some time during Bush's term of service, who would sign a petition claiming he isn't fit to be CoC since he used to eat his own poop, chase cars, and bark at the moon.

[ September 06, 2006, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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