Thursday, August 12, 2004

I know their ways, fought their wars, served my time

Here's something that's been bothering me lately: When did John Kerry first start bringing up Vietnam in the context of this campaign? I realize he's been riding the one character-defining achievement of his life (and I use that phrase loosely) for political advantage since 1968 - or, at least, started the process of preparing it for use as political currency in 1968 - but how early did the meme become part of the mainstream conversation? I remember exchanging mocking conversations on the subject ("He served in Vietnam, you know." "Really! You don't say. Tell me more!" "Oh, yes, he rarely mentions it, but he's a war hero.") with my roommate last spring, I think. But it's been nearly a year and a half since then, and constant mention of Kerry's service record has been a running joke at least since the primaries. But when, exactly, did "He served in Vietnam" become so definingly self-parodic for the man?

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