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Friday, May 7, 2004
John O’Neill

By Steven Taylor @ 1:53 pm

Kos (whom I had quit reading, but came across in searching for some info), dubs John O’Neill, a member of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth (and more here from 5/4’s WSJ), a “GOP hack".

He main proof? O’Neill clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Now, I hate to break it to Kos, but it is not the case that SC Justices simply select ideological clones as their clerks (Antonin Scalia, for example, often chooses clerks who don’t agree with him ideologically, on purpose (for example, from this week’s Newsweek: Scalia likes to hire liberal clerks who spar with him in his book-lined chambers.”)). And, quite frankly, I would be of the opinion that anyone who was bright enough to clerk for any SC Justice, liberal or conservative, is almost automatically not a “hack"-whether they are libs or cons. (Further, the suggestion is that Rehnquist himself is a “GOP hack"-which it ridiculous on its face).

Now, clearly, O’Neill is a conservative, and a Republican. Yes, Nixon thought him the perfect foil for the young Kerry, but none of that makes the man a “hack.” And the fact that seems to scandalize Kos the most is that one of O’Neill’s law partners was a General Counsel to Governor George W. Bush-which hardly means much of anything vis-a-vis O’Neill. Indeed, having now read the information that Kos provided, I am more prone to take O’Neill and the Swift Boat Veterans far more seriously.

I am not arguing for a return to the debates of the 1970s (as I have noted before), but it seemed worth noting who at least one of the more prominent SBVs is-and to defend him from unfair characterizations.

Here’s the link to O’Neill’s firm: Clements, O’Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign
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  1. Kos can ID a hack but does not recognize himself as one.

    Does he not see himself in the mirror when he shaves?

    Comment by Tim — Friday, May 7, 2004 @ 4:31 pm

  2. I don’t believe your characterization of O’Neill as “clearly a conservative and a Republican” is necessarily accurate. I’m sure I’ve heard him in an interview make a point of noting that he was a Democrat in ‘71 and told Nixon himself that he had voted for Humphrey in the election. He has also been clear to separate his organization from the Republicans and emphasized that they are of mixed political beliefs and not anti-Democrat. They seem genuinely ticked off at Kerry’s post-war behavior and have stated that if the Democratic Party dumped Kerry they would all go home.

    Comment by Gerald — Saturday, May 8, 2004 @ 12:39 am

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