The reaction from many on the left to accusations by some of John Kerry's former fellow-soldiers is quite instructive. Most leftists seem to think it's no big deal if 10%/50%/90% (whatever) of the people you served with think you're a lying traitor (which is essentially what the charges amount to). In my opinion, it's quite significant that so many of Kerry's former associates think he's unfit to be President -- these people knew him well, and saw how he behaved under pressure and without interference from campaign handlers. Compare that to the reactions of the same people to the possibility that George Bush didn't show up for some training exercises, and their derision for the rest of Bush's service record.
The idea that "it's a wash" (as one commenter wrote) just because it's he-said/they-said is nearly delusional. It seems to me that many leftists are in a state of total denial, bolstered by polls and media coverage, and I'm sticking to my prediction that George Bush will win in a landslide in November. This attack by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth is devestating, and now that Kerry has the official Democratic nomination watch for more ruinous revelations from his past of this same sort. There's plenty of material, from his 20 year Senate career to the recent Democratic primaries, and we're going to see and hear it all. Leftists hoping for similar revelations about Bush are likely to be disappointed; all those cards were played in 2000, including the most devestating: his DUI.
Never forget that the Clintons are manuvering the DNC towards a meltdown of monumental proportions. Kerry has, tellingly, kept Terry McAuliffe at the helm of the organization, and McAuliffe is wholly owned by the Clintons, who want nothing more than for Hillary to run in 2008. They're likely stoking the flames by building up the hopes of the Democratic faithful, but watch for later positioning that will allow the Clintons to pick up the pieces after November 2nd and remake the party in their own image. Frankly, I think this will be a good thing, for the Democrats and for the country.
The expected response by leftists is, of course, that I'm the one being delusional. Well, there's no way to know for sure for a few months, so I'll just say "we'll see". Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the Democrats are due for the kind of fundamental realignment the Republican party went through in the early 1990s -- but of a much larger magnitude because the Dems have been stagnant for more than six decades. It's exciting to watch, and once the dust settles I expect the left to be more (more, but I don't know to what degree) libertarian than what is considered "modern liberal". I can envision a future in which I'm torn between the parties because the left actually has rational positions on important issues and isn't held hostage by the loons.