Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Of all John McCain's reversals of longheld positions --- his 180s on taxes, offshore drilling, intolerant Christians and even torture, to name just a few --- nothing is sadder or more disgraceful than his flipflop on Swiftboating, a practice he decried when it was used in 2004 to attack at the Democratic presidential nominee, his former friend and fellow Vietnam veteran, Sen. John Kerry.
McCain's sudden embrace of Swiftboating --- which today is synonymous with a concerted effort to lie about an opponent's history --- is all the more deplorable because he has hired retired Col. George "Bud" Day, a proud member of the group that Swiftboated Kerry --- and someone McCain once described as having "tunnel vision" --- to lead what McCain is calling his "Truth Squad."
At Huffington Post, Sam Stein reports that "[during] the 2004 campaign, [Day] said of Kerry: 'My view is he basically will go down in history sometime as the Benedict Arnold of 1971.' And after appearing in a national advertisement for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign, Day formed the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation, an extension of the Swift Boat effort."
During a McCain campaign conference call with reporters this week, Bud Day was asked how his work for McCain will be different from his efforts to Swiftboat Kerry four years ago.
"The Swift Boat attacks were simply a revelation of the truth," Day told reporters. "The similarity does not exist here. What the Swift Boat campaign was about was to lay out John Kerry's record. John Kerry has never produced any evidence to deny that. We are producing the evidence of these attacks right now to show that those remarks were completely inaccurate.
"One was about laying out the truth," Day said. "This one is about attempting to cast a new shadow on John McCain."
Just four years ago, John McCain had a very different view of Day's attacks on Kerry. According to Media Matters:
"...In criticizing the ad, McCain told the Associated Press, 'It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me'... referring to his [McCain's] bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush," according to the AP..."
In 2006, the New Yorker reported on how the Swiftboating dust-up strained relations between McCain and Bud Day.
When McCain defended Kerry and denounced the ads, Day was upset with his old comrade. "Something that made Bud such an ideal leader in prison was his tunnel vision," McCain told me later. "That makes him behave on the outside --- well ... " He trailed off, chuckling.”
Yesterday, John Kerry responded to McCain's latest fall from grace, "Colonel Day's comments today only further highlight the McCain campaign's disregard for a new kind of politics. John McCain condemned these kinds of attacks in 2004 when he called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 'dishonest and dishonorable.' Senator McCain should condemn these remarks and cut ties with the Colonel and anyone else connected to SBVT. Day's comments only serve to disparage all those who served on swift boats in Vietnam."