Ann Althouse asks the question: "How could the Kerry people have blinded themselves to the risks they were taking?" She thinks it's a matter of groupthink; Instapundit and Lucianne.com agree with her.
I disagree a little bit. Rather, I think they didn't see the risks because they'd played this same game before and nothing like this had happened. They'd used the same game plan time and time again, but this was the first time resistance like this had been encountered. For all John Kerry's rhetoric about being an international man of mystery, the Swift Vets episode proves just how sheltered he really is. This incapacity has brought on this present chaos.
Michelle Malkin really hit the nail on the head when she had the "boy in a bubble" exchange with Willie Brown on Hardball. John Kerry had relied on his Vietnam service and "band of brothers" in his campaigns in a liberal state with a sympathetic media. The Democratic primaries were no different; it was the same script: band of brothers and no journalistic digging.
But this time it really was different. He's not back home in cozy Massachusetts, and bloggers on the whole are smarter than journalists. (At least bloggers seem to know the difference between "refute" and "rebut".) He's taken his slanders of Vietnam veterans to the national stage, and he's off his game because they'd had enough and were ready to take action since the election would finally affect them firsthand.
John Kerry has been a sheltered man, and it makes him a dangerous candidate. The fawning treatment began before Congress in 1971, and it hasn't changed until now. Reality has never corrected him nor put limits on his vanity. Now he's hoist on his own petard, and we're discovering that Kerry does not react well to surprises beyond his imagination.
The ironic symmetry is beautiful. He accuses Bush of misleading us into war; the discrediting of the Winter Soldier basis of his Congressional testimony shows he was misleading us out of war. (Bush won his war.) His side accuses Republicans of wishful thinking about the Iraqis greeting us with flowers and parades, but his own aides essentially thought that "as a war hero that he would be greeted with candy and flowers." He will build cooperating international coalitions, but among the men he served with he's outnumbered about 9 to 1.
John Kerry really thinks he's smarter, better, and more capable than anyone else, and apparently he has thought that for a long time. That enormous vanity ("I don't fall") crept into his after-action reports, and it's leaking now with his bluster and outrage over the need to deal with the Swift Boat Vets. In a post-9/11 world in which reality must be dealt with, such blindness cannot be countenanced in a commander-in-chief. God save us that such an event never come to pass, in this election or any until the war is won.