Harold Simmons is dead at age 82.
His death has drawn a lot of attention in political circles. The billionaire Texan was a big contributor to Republican candidates and causes. That’s fine. I don’t begrudge that one bit.
What I do begrudge, though, is the $4 million he gave to a particular GOP effort.
It occurred during the 2004 presidential campaign between President George W. Bush and U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry. Simmons kicked in the big dough to a group dedicated to smearing Kerry’s reputation, which he earned while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth thought it would smear Kerry’s war record with lies, suggesting he didn’t really earn the medals for valor while serving during that long-ago war.
It was a disgraceful display of rotten politics — which can be pretty rotten even without this kind of defamation.
Simmons played a hand in that slander, which must not go unnoticed as the political world bids good bye to 2013 and to this individual.
I’m quite aware that both parties are awash in lots of money, much of which is used as ammo to smear candidates from the other side. None of it is appealing. None of it is fair.
The “swift boating,” of John Kerry, though, will stand for a long time as an example of how politics can stink to high heaven.