First a group calling itself "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" took to the airwaves with a TV ad that disputed Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam war record. Then "Texans for Truth" countered with an ad that renewed the attack on President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard. More defenders of truth are preparing to emerge in the next few weeks. Here's a preview:
Boston-Washington Hairstylists for Truth
Get ready for much ado about Kerry's famous 'do. The men and women of the hairstyling industry have had enough. They don't want to say too much before their ad campaign begins airing next week on the Hair Channel, but group spokesman C.C. Mousse dropped some hints at a news conference in her Georgetown salon. "Some people think that great head of hair is au naturel," Mousse said. "But I've seen his hair up close and, well, let's just say that without our help, his hair would be flip-flopping all over the place."
Yale Trust Fund Children for Truth
Yale alumnus Porter "Trey" Drinkwater III just rolls his baby blues when he sees classmate George W. Bush doing his Texas good ol' boy routine. "I can't believe that's the same guy I went to school with," says Drinkwater. "When I knew Georgie, it was all pullovers, penny loafers and erudite discussions of inheritance tax law."
Vintage Corvair Owners for Truth
Former owners of the early '60s GM vehicle will be challenging independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's record as a crusading consumer watchdog. The group says the ads will feature "new" documents on Nader's "research" methods, which it claims have been authenticated by the man who picked up Nader's trash when he was writing his book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Indignant car buff Harv N. Gin told a news conference in Detroit: "Consumer advocate? All he did was make trouble for a lot of Corvair owners."
Bush 41 Political Appointees for Truth
Based at think tanks around Washington, this group will be speaking out about their former colleague Dick Cheney, who served as secretary of defense during the first Bush administration. "This is not the Dick Cheney I knew," sniffed J. Edward Bennington IV, former assistant deputy secretary of state for unresolvable political conflicts. "I remember a nice, peaceable guy who advocated multilateral action. I just don't recognize the fire breather we see today."
Ambulance-Chasing Lawyers for Truth
This small group of North Carolina trial lawyers is going public with revelations about Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards. "He tries to come off as some caring fighter for the little guy," said Charlotte personal injury lawyer Chase M. Down Jr. "But Edwards was just as much of a hustler as the rest of us. We don't want Americans to forget what John Edwards really is _ a lawyer."
Truth-Tellers for Truth
Embarrassed that a noble American value has been appropriated by those seeking crass political or other advantage, this grass-roots collection of parents, teachers, historians, philosophers and children have been holding bake sales and selling lemonade in hopes of raising enough money for an ad campaign tentatively titled "The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth." The group plans to hold an Election Day rally on the Mall, featuring readings from famous expounders on truth (including Aristotle, John Keats, Tom Paine and Jon Stewart) and a one-act play based on the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers ("If you ever injected truth into politics, you'd have no politics.")
David Martin cannot tell a lie: His collection of satiric pieces, My Friend W, will be published this year by Arriviste Press.
Special to the Washington Post