Doing a 180 - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Doing a 180

Before Memorial Day weekend, Sen. John Kerry sat down with editors of his hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe and announced that he had signed the form SF 180, authorizing the Department of Defense to grant access to all his military records. This, more than a year after he had claimed the press and public had seen all there was to see from his military record.

Only one problem: according to several sources who formerly worked on the Kerry campaign, the senator expects that little to nothing new will be in the files that are released. “He’s fairly confident that there is nothing in there that would be considered embarrassing or controversial,” says a former adviser of Kerry.

According to another former campaign staffer, there was talk late in the campaign that Kerry and senior advisers had previously filed a request for the documents from the Defense Department, and had viewed the file that would be made public. “If he did, there was nothing earthshaking, or else you would have seen people go into defense mode,” says another former campaign staffer.

But why is Kerry — if he actually has gone ahead — signing SF 180 now? During the election cycle, the New York Sun was the only newspaper of record to delve into Kerry’s odd military and post-military career. The paper’s reporting -— which included background quotes from a former Harvard Law School administrator stating that Kerry’s application to the school may have been scuttled due to issues surrounding his background and military service — led many to believe that Kerry’s record would be dynamite material. After all, how does a man who attended the best private schools and Yale undergrad end up going to what was then a mediocre Boston College law school?

Kerry has claimed that BC Law was not his choice. He’d lost his run for political office in the fall of 1972, then learned his then-wife Julia was pregnant, so Yale Law was out. He then claimed that he never did apply to Harvard because he missed the submission deadline.

But the New York Sun last November 1 reported a different scenario:

Mr. Kerry has said, “I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application.”

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an “extremely late” application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973. A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

Kerry campaign staff when presented with the N.Y. Sun story last fall never addressed the issue directly, and some believe the SF 180 document will answer a number of those unanswered questions from the campaign.

“Our greatest fear as a campaign was that someone enterprising enough would figure out a way to get to those files through other sources and means and do to Kerry what we did to Bush’s National Guard files,” says one of the former Kerry staffers. “But as time went by, it became clear that there just wasn’t anything out there. We were safe.”

But this time around, it may not be Republicans looking for dirt about Kerry. Some Democrats with an eye to 2008 are interested in seeing Kerry taken down a couple of notches, taking him out of play for another run at the White House.

UPDATE (6/7/03,9:25 a.m.): Late Thursday, the Boston Globe received a copy of Kerry’s file.

However, sources familiar with the documents viewed by the Boston Globe and other media outlets said today those documents are not the complete file of Kerry’s military service, and that further investigation is required.

According to staffers at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, their boss Rev. Barry Lynn requested a speaking slot at the Campaign for America’s Future “Take Back America” conference last week but was rejected. His organization was allowed to set up a table on the concourse, but that was it.

“They’re not letting Barry speak this year,” one disappointed Americans United staffer said. When asked if Lynn would show up at all during the conference, Lynn’s people said no, not even as an ordinary participant. “That’s not his style,” one said.

This isn’t new apparently. Lynn hasn’t been given a spot in previous years either.

On the other hand, left-wing evangelical Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics, was featured at the event’s Friday sendoff and given a special book signing period.

Interestingly, Americans United for Separation of Church and State was listed in the conference program as simply “Americans United,” dropping the “church and state” part of its name.

Clearly, even the left doesn’t want to appear anti-religious.

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