Kerry released a television advertisement yesterday blaming President Bush for a campaign by a "front group" of veterans that Mr. Kerry said had smeared his Vietnam record, as he intensified his drive to gain control in a fight that some Democrats said could undermine his campaign for the presidency [nyt]I am amazed at how good the Republicans are at changing the focus of the election: did anyone really believe that Vietnam would be an issue in the 2004 election? That the issue would be anti-Kerry instead of anti-Bush is just freakish evidence of some sort of media strategy voodoo (/pact with the devil?). The SBVFT ads seem to be getting more play on the news than anywhere else: more than half of all Americans know about the ads even though they're only playing in a few markets.
I think it's a symptom of a greater problem with the Kerry campaign: use of his Vietnam service as the central metaphor for his candidacy actually echoes his (possibly undeserved) flip-flop reputation. See also: supporting the war, denouncing the war, embracing the war wrt Iraq War II.
It seems like the Kerry people should have noticed that voluntary Vietnam service wasn't enough to get Gore to the White House in 2000.
see also: "Must-reads bonus, Swift Boat edition" [salon]