By MARC McDONALD
The 2008 Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday. And I'll go ahead and make one fearless prediction about the convention: no one there will mock John McCain's military service.
Speakers at the convention will likely criticize McCain's political agenda and his proposals for America. But no one will say one negative or derogatory word about his military service in Vietnam. Indeed, those who attend the convention will have nothing but respect for McCain's military record.
It's a far cry from what we saw in 2004 at the Republican convention in New York. At that convention, delegates mocked and made fun of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record. Kerry, as you might recall, had a distinguished military record and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.
At the 2004 Republican convention, GOP delegates wore adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them to mock Kerry's military record. In doing so, they were echoing a popular GOP talking point at the time (that Kerry's combat wounds were mere "scratches"). That, of course, was a lie: in fact, Kerry received a shrapnel wound in his left arm that caused him pain for years.
Would Democrats do such a thing to mock McCain's military service record? Of course not. It'd be inconceivable. Not even McCain's fiercest critics at the convention would ever dream of disparaging his military service record in any way.
One can also be assured that there will never be a Democratic equivalent of the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," which in 2004 accused Kerry of lying to win his Vietnam military decorations.
And there you have it: a key and crucial difference between today's Democratic and Republican parties. The Republicans have shown that they'll do anything to win an election, even viciously smearing the military record of a distinguished combat veteran.