Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bob Perry (1932-2013)

By Richard K. Barry 

Bob Perry was the money behind the insidious "Swift Boat" ad campaign attacking John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, in 2004. Perry, a homebuilder, started as one of the largest campaign donors in Texas before branching out nationally. 

He died at the age of 80 at his home in Nassau Bay, Texas, near Houston. 

In 2004, he gave $4.4 million to a group called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." They used the money to launch a baseless ad campaign accusing John Kerry of embellishing his military accomplishments and discrediting others who served with him. 

The New York Times gently suggests that the ads were "widely criticized as misleading." In truth they were simply a pack of lies, but they did their job. They made some voters doubt the facts behind Kerry's war record, a record for which he was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. 

Though one cannot say for sure that he would have won a close race against George W. Bush in 2004 had Perry kept his checkbook in his pocket, there is a decent chance he would have. 

Whatever good Mr. Perry may have done in his life, he will be best remembered as the man who bankrolled one of the biggest lies in American electoral history. Quite a legacy. 

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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