Move over Jane Fonda...
"[John Kerry] knew as an officer that those were lies. It never happened," said Vietnam veteran Carlton Sherwood. "He was principally responsible for cementing the image of Vietnam veterans (search) as drugged-out psychopaths who were totally unrestrained and who were a murderous hoard."
Who knew that Kerry had so much influence over the cultural zeitgeist of the time?
We are in the "defining the opposition" stage of this contest. The Republicans are trying to cement in the public's mind the image of John Kerry as a traitor who sold out his fellow soldiers for political influence and then went on to adopt whatever stand was most convenient at the time for advancing his position in the Democratic power structure. Will this image take? That will depend in great part on how well Kerry and company counter-act it.
Fortunately, they are attempting to plant their own "opposition definition" in the minds of the public with respect to Bush and, so far, they are doing a better job of it than the Republicans. But that may primarily be because people have more direct experience with Bush (and the fact that much of that image is based on the truth).
Eight months to go!