I've grown increasingly angry with the Swift Boat Liars "controversy." They get debunked with both the official record and their own statements time after time, but yet the train rolls on. And on and on.
But if I'm being honest with myself, mostly why I'm upset about this tactic is its evil brilliance. Bush gets to attack Kerry on one of his biggest strengths, keep his own hands clean, and simultaneously distract attention from one of Bush's biggest weaknesses in our terror-obsessed world - his own non-service in Vietnam. Plus, it's time not taken up with talking about, oh, I don't know, the mess in Iraq and the mess of our domestic economy.
And people buy it, because they are pretty much willing to follow any shiny thing that's waved in front of their faces. Karl Rove knows this, of course. He knows a smear can be debunked utterly, but it still remains.
The minute people turn away from one shiny thing, they've got another to wave in your face: Gay marriage! Theresa Heinz's money! John Kerry looks French! Michael Moore is fat! Eliminate the IRS!
It's sickening, but it works. And say what you will about the Republicans, they know what works. And the only way it's going to stop working is if we learn to turn our heads away from the shiny things.
I'm not holding my breath.