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Harkin's Heroes

1:47 PM, May 23, 2008 • By KEVIN KUSINITZ
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Break out your love beads, dust off your Moby Grape albums -- it's 1968 again!

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is catching grief for suggesting John McCain's family history of military service makes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee unfit to be commander-in-chief.

Harkin, who has a history of embellishing his own military record, told Iowa reporters last week that McCain's background as the son and grandson of Navy admirals creates a "dangerous" situation because he can only view the world through the prism of the military.

Harkin's slur appears to be a finely-tuned offshoot of the "McCain is nuts" meme currently floating around. It's a rather strange one, since you would think that in this day and age a candidate with military experience might be a plus. That was John Kerry's entire raison d'etre in 2004. Democrats loved him, because Kerry spent 30 years apologizing for serving in Vietnam. Harkin, strangely, never shied away from speaking of his military background. In fact, you might say he was almost too proud:

He served in the Navy on active duty for five years, and remained in the reserves until 1989. But while running for president in 2004, he was forced to admit that he never did combat air patrols or photo reconnaissance in Vietnam as he had claimed.

It seems like Democrats feel OK about their military history, whether inflated or not, as long as they make sure to remind their base that it was all a mistake.