Bob Somerby has been having a field day with the “clownishly unprepared” cable reporters on the Swift Boat smears. This coverage of Hardball’s August 26 show had Pat Buchanan saying that the Swift Boats were not damaged on the day that rescued Jim Rassmann from the water. This is the day that Robert Lambert rescued Swiftie Lawrence Thurlow. It is true that John O’Neill made a similar claim, but that claim had already been refuted – a fact that Chris Matthews seemed not to be aware of.
But let’s give Matthews some credit for catching Buchanan in one of his many lies. From the transcript, we see the following:
MATTHEWS: So the main accuser of John Kerry was taken out of the water in an award-winning act of courage by this guy, Lambert.
BARRY: By his chief petty officer.
MATTHEWS: And his write-up, his citation said?
BARRY: He was under fire. They were under fire the whole time.
MATTHEWS: How do you—I mean, studying these things—we‘ve got now report of Jim Rassmann, who was fished out of the water by John Kerry. He said he was under enemy fire.
BUCHANAN: Chris, hold it. The captains of the three other boats, the people who rescued those guys, you‘ve got Pees, you‘ve got Chenoweth, and you‘ve got Thurlow. And you‘ve got O‘Dell on that side of the river. They say we did a good thing. We fired into the bank, but nobody was firing at us… But you have got to believe if Thurlow is pulling a guy off a boat, he knows whether he‘s under fire.
OK, let me get Pat’s argument straight here. If I’m standing over the edge of the boat pulling you out of the water, then I can’t be sure if I’m being fired upon but you can. I guess this is how he dismisses Lambert’s statement and accepts Thurlow’s. Fine – so Kerry was pulling Rassmann out of the water and maybe he’s as confused as Lambert if you believe Buchanan’s bizarre theory.
MATTHEWS: Well, why does Rassmann say—why does the guy whose life was saved by John Kerry. Because he was under water. He‘s coming up…and says he was under enemy fire? Why would he make it up?
BUCHANAN: He‘s not making it up. He‘s telling the truth.
Rassman is telling the truth and he should know whether he was being fired upon. But Kerry must be lying? Buchanan hung on his own petard!
OK, time to move away from these insults and talk about issues – right?
Confession: Original title had “hung” and not “hoist” so thanks to the alert reader who finally defined for me what petard meant in the first place. I always did find this an odd expression.