My timing, that is.
Back in the snows of winter early in the year, when Kerry was starting to emerge as the sucessor to Dean, I had a notion to write a long article on why I thought the election would end up refighting the domestic divisions over Vietnam. But of course being busy with a million other things I didnt do it, and now Id look like a Johnny-come-lately to the parade of the obvious.
One thought among many was that if the campaign re-opened the divisions over the war, Kerry would lose. It is important to remember that although the Vietnam War came to be unpopular with Americans, the anti-war movement was even more unpopular. (Todd Gitlin acknowledges this frankly in his book on the sixties, noting is was a fact that the left didnt understand.) By highlighting Kerrys contemptable anti-war activities, the Swift Boat veterans have blown a large hole in Kerrys electability.
Several new polls out this morning show Bush moving ahead of Kerry by nearly the margin of error. It is easy to see how this will play out if Bush does indeed go on to win, and the Swift Boat effort is seen as the turning point. In a nutshell, the left will go ballistic, and the rancor of the next four years will exceed even what we have seen so far. For starters, Michael Moore will gain at least another 50 pounds.
If you thought the lefts resentment over the Willie Horton issue in 1988 was big, you aint seen nothin yet. With the fund of Bush hatred already stored up, the left will scream about the supposed underhandedness and lack of substantive meaning of the Swift Boat attack for years--maybe decades--to come (just as the left never stopped whining about Nixons "red baiting" campaign of 1950 for Senate).