(1984 Senate race)
"War and Peace" was Kerry's campaign theme, but the emphasis was mostly on peace. War, however, specifically the Vietnam War, may have saved his candidacy in the primary.[...][....]
Shannon was smarting from Kerry's taunts that the congressman had reversed himself, voting first for and later against the MX missile system. A week before the primary, Shannon tried to turn the table, contrasting his own U-turn on the MX to Kerry's change of heart on the Vietnam War.
"If you felt that strongly about the war, you would not have gone," Shannon said during a televised debate. "I was very proud that you changed your mind."
But two nights later, in another debate, Kerry jacked up the issue to another level.
"You impugn the service of veterans in that war by saying they are somehow dopes or wrong for going," he said.
Shannon refused to yield.
"John, you know that dog won't hunt," he said. "I don't owe anybody an apology."
A band of Vietnam vets, all Kerry men, then wheeled into action. "There was a kind of raw, gut instinct, and the campaign acted on it the way you wouldn't today," said longtime Kerry strategist John Marttila, meaning there was no polling data as a guide.
Vietnam veterans began shadowing Shannon in the primary campaign's final days, traveling around the state, "looking for ways to pick fights," Marttila said.
"But this was not fake stuff. John's bona fides had been called into question, and these guys had gone to Vietnam. It was powerful material," Marttila recalled.
With help from the vets, who called themselves "the dog hunters," Kerry stopped Shannon cold. His athletic stamina and what one campaign staffer called "laser-like focus" became major assets in the frenzied final days as he outworked the field.
The finish was memorable. Kerry's field organization pulled him over the top. He lost Lowell and Middlesex County by big margins, but beat Shannon in Boston and most other major cities. Kerry's statewide margin was paper thin, only 24,529 votes, or 3.1 percent, out of 790,000 cast.
I think this is profound. Kerry seems to be using a tactic he has used in the past with proven results. The problem for him this time is, another group of Vietnam Vets is taking him to task. He thought that 30 years would insulate him. He has polished it up a little and changed the message and his "dog hunters" have become his "band of brothers".
I have heard John O'Neill hint that this has also happened in his other Senate races complete with, "the dog hunters,".
Who were/are these "dog hunters"?
Where were they recruited?
Who paid their expenses, and did they get paid "more" than expenses?
One more question:
Given John Kerry's record, including his and other (veterans?) testimony before congress in the, "Winter Soldier", investigations and the fact that many of those that testified lied about their service and some (apparently) were not Vietnam Veterans, or Veterans at all.
Were these, "dog hunters", Veterans at all or were they some more of John Kerry's true band of brothers? (That would be a bunch of liars and traitors!)
If I had the resources, I would love to investigate this!