Clelanding the Dems
There was no more bitter and less effective shill for John Kerry in 2004 on the national security issue than former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). Cleland is a Vietnam veteran who got both legs and his right arm blown off in an accident with some ordinance in the war. He served his nation well, and was terribly injured. And excellent resume, but it does not forgive all wrongs.
In 2002, Cleland sided with Dems who wanted to subordinate the Department of Homeland Security's need to appropriately hire and dismiss employees to the rights of unionized federal workers (a group for whom there exists only the most limited appeal among Americans) to remain employed regardless of a lack of competence or diligence. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) ran against him, questioned his judgment and in the biggest upset of 2002, beat Cleland.
But to the Dems, it wasn't judgment, but rather Cleland's patriotism that was questioned. You see, Democrats with war records are entitled to a special degree of deference, and questioning their actions is cast as a pernicious questioning of their record of service to their nation. A very cute and transparent act of demagoguery.
So in an effort to embarrass the President in 2004, the perceived bad treatment of Cleland was used as the excuse for Theresa Heinz Kerry's dropping her Republican affiliation. Cleland took a letter to Bush's ranch to demand that he call off the Swift Boat Veterans over whom Bush had no control, and he made a fairly pitiful appearance at the Democratic National Convention. And it was clear why they trotted this man out. They wanted it to seem that the Republicans were being cruel to a man in a wheelchair. But none of it stuck. Nobody knew or cared who Max Cleland was--except people who may share his fate.
And in one report (courtesy RealClearPolitics.com), one Republican staffer intends to post pictures of Max Cleland about the Capitol to remind errant Dems, especially those looking at reelection bids this year, that they may share their former colleague's fate.
But look at it this way, they have their opportunity to be the bitter shills for Hillary Clinton in 2008!