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Hey Democrats, Got Spine?

Distancing yourself from a decorated Vietnam veteran who happened to stumble over a very bad joke isn't the way to present strength less than a week out from an election.
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If that picture doesn't piss you off then you're not a Democrat.

If you don't get what this is after seeing the picture then you must be a Republican.

They're mocking John Kerry, because the troops get the gaffe. But they wouldn't be doing even this if they didn't have some help, not from Republicans, but from Democrats.

Meet Harold Ford, Jr., Jon Tester and Ben Cardin. They're an illustration in how to lose, not the election (though that's yet to be decided), but the argument, sound bites and image war.

Senator Hillary Clinton said the comments were "inappropriate." No, Senator, it was a botched joke. Trying to sound like St. John won't get it done either. John McCain knew exactly what Kerry meant, but with his eyes on the '08 prize he fragged his former friend.

Distancing yourself from a decorated Vietnam veteran who happened to stumble over a very bad joke isn't the way to present strength less than a week out from an election. It's abject cowardice, not to mention the very defeatest attitude that got Democrats in this position in the first place.

It's how to lose.

How many times do Democrats need to learn this lesson?

John Kerry delivers up a gaffe, and what to Democrats do? Some validate the Republican talking points by chastising one of their own, who just so happens to be a decorated soldier himself. They run for cover with their donkey tails hiding between their legs, because they still haven't shed their own image of Democrats post-Vietnam era. News flash: that's not today's Democratic Party. We don't need to apologize for anything. If you don't want Kerry's comment to be the distraction dream of George W. Bush, the Republicans and wingnut radio, don't amplify it with your own cowardice.

Eric Massa gets it.

Congressional candidate and 24-year Navy veteran Eric Massa today responded to the current flap over Senator John Kerry's remarks about the war in Iraq, and to a request from his opponent, incumbent Randy Kuhl. The Kuhl campaign this morning called on Massa to disavow Kerry's remarks, and to return any money donated from Kerry's Political Action Committee.

Massa said, "Randy Kuhl's so-called challenge is nonsense. Our fighting men and women in Iraq are the finest force in the world, but they're stuck with weak and dishonest civilian leadership. Randy Kuhl has done nothing to support the troops, and just toes the Washington line about 'staying the course.' General John Batiste characterized Kuhl and his position as 'uninformed' and 'lacking moral courage.' Enough said."

Massa added, "George Bush and John Kerry and Randy Kuhl have had their chance and failed to bring home either victory or the troops. It's time for a change down in Washington, and change is coming on Tuesday."

Sherrod Brown gets it.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat leading in late polls in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, said Republicans are merely trying to change the subject. "The people who should apologize are George Bush and Mike DeWine for sending our troops into battle without body armor and without examining the cooked intelligence," he said.

Democrats like Clinton, Ford, Tester and Cardin are caving in to some outworn Republican talking point from the Vietnam era, which Bush and his party are trying to resuscitate in hopes it will carry them over the finish line in 2006. Believe me, this isn't about Kerry or his badly mangled joke. What this is about is seeing a point of weakness in the Democratic Party armor, which is a scar from days of old. It's about targeting that weakness and driving the dagger all the way in, with the help of some of our own.

The only people who can make Kerry's comment hurt are Democrats. Some are falling in line by showing no spine whatsoever. Democrats who throw over a veteran who simply made a bad joke are no better than the Republicans trying to recast the modern progressive Democratic Party as the same as we were in the 1970s - 1980s.

Take a look around you. Look at all the vets running. Listen to the new Democrats and the progressives in this fight. Anyone distancing him or herself from John Kerry is still haunted by a ghost that the progressives in this party excised long ago. They are playing into Republicans' hands.

When you're playing defense you're losing. Offense is for winners. Keep fighting back.

This isn't about John Kerry, who isn't even on the ballot. That is it wasn't, until Tester, Ford and Cardin, even Clinton, caved in and accepted Republican talking points, ponying up their criticism of a fellow Democrat.

Many are now buying in to the storyline being put forth by the oppostion, because they think it saves their own precious political neck. In the midst of a war going horribly wrong, if Democratic candidates and party elders cannot pivot and attack on Iraq then I've got only one thing to say. They aren't going to be worth a damn to any of us in Congress.

John Kerry voted for the Iraq war then came out and openly admitted his mistake. He works tirelessly for veterans and Democratic candidates, including Ned Lamont. You didn't see any of these cowards now attacking Kerry working for Lamont or admitting their wrongs on the war.

If we cannot hang together, we will certainly hang separately. Republicans like George Allen will be happy to supply the noose.