It must be a bitter pill to swallow. The pain of embarrassment must burn brightly on the faces of Democrats as the "Chimpident", in the process of laying down another winning hand, is about to take all of their chips once again.
The President sat back, as John Kerry's consultants, the Iowa caucus voters, the Democratic Party at large, and the media convinced themselves that the one card that trumps Bush's leadership in the war on terror was Kerry's four months in Vietnam, and bet everything on it. They have just lost that hand.
Kerry is in seclusion, unable to expose himself to any but the most sycophantic interviewers, and getting whumped by hundreds upon hundreds of fellow Swift boat veterans, plus former POWs, plus retired admirals, over every aspect of his brief stay in the Mekong Delta.
The Senator put his money on the wrong war.
Astonishing, even to an admirer like myself, is the fact that the President's advisors had predicted two years ago that the Democrats would attempt to make Vietnam the issue in this campaign season. The feeling was that the Democrats wouldn't be able to help it. Vietnam was the last time the left was ascendent in this country. They had to return to that and try to justify their position on it again. It is the very centerpiece of their whole concept of war, the government, and everything.
What they didn't count on was that the triumphs of US forces in the battlefield, especially the invasion of Iraq, would encourage old warriors, who had been cowed by academia and the media up to now, to speak out and dispute the Vietnam dogma of the left.
And, sure enough, it is becoming clear that the left, and Kerry, had been lying all along.
And so, Kerry's retro braggadocio on ice for the forseeable future, the Democrats fall back on conspiracy theories, pulling out multicolored charts showing that Kay Bailey Hutchinson is a "close friend" of some consultant to the Swiftboat Vets for Truth, and so on. Yawn.
Bush hatred is morphing into depression. Any shaggy nudists or trust fund socialists who manage to pull stunts at the Republican National Convention will only strengthen Bush's appeal.