How, we ask you, could someone named "T. Boone Pickens" possibly be bad? T. Boone is, as you have probably guessed, a Texas billionaire. An oil billionaire! But he does not spend his billions on running moonshine or buying the world's largest cement pond. No, instead Pickens-who will be played by Charles Durning for the remainder of this post-funds slanderous attack campaigns against Democratic political candidates. The campaigns feature lies so ridiculous that the only people who regularly take them seriously work at every cable news station and many newspapers.
In 2004, he was behind the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," a group that claimed that not only was John Kerry not a war hero, but in fact he had never even been to Vietnam, or even on a boat, as boats made him seasick, because he is French. He actually spent the majority of the 60s and 70s making love to Jane Fonda on a burning American flag.
Now John Kerry did not really respond to these claims very effectively or quickly, but part of that was surely because he did not expect these sort of goofy attack ads to suddenly become serious topics of impassioned debate on the television, giving them exposure far beyond what Mr. Pickens actually paid for.
And the Times reported recently that Pickens is welshing on a million dollar bet he offered to anyone who could disprove the claims of the Swift Boat people. The Times also said: "Extensive media accounts undermined the Swift Boat charges in 2004, pointing out that some of the Swift Boat critics had written statements during Vietnam lauding Mr. Kerry for extraordinary bravery in the incidents they later said he made up." MediaMatters is upset (su-prise, su-prise, su-prise! Charles Durning as T. Boone Pickens might say here) because the extensive undermining thing did not really happen until well after most media outlets simply repeated all the claims without context, 500,000 times. Though to be fair, the Times largely ignored the Swift Boat people, because they, like Kerry, thought they were so ridiculous, so it was more of a sin of omission.
But one man who did publicly criticize and refute the claims of this terrible group of liars is American Hero John McCain! He fought in Vietnam too, you may remember, so he is pretty confident that it actually happened and John Kerry was there.
Now, though, McCain is happily accepting money from the people who funded these terrible lies he denounced in 2004. Because he's a MAVERICK. McCain also brought out Swift Boat member Bud Day for a conference call on Monday. Day was there to respond to the terrible lies Wesley Clark made about McCain's war service, because irony is dead.