I watched the GOP convention fairly closely, and I don't recall hearing Kerry's patriotism attacked. In fact, I heard several speakers explicitly praise Kerry for his service to his country. On the other hand, blasting those who received student deferments as "refusing to serve when they could have" does strike me as an attack on their patriotism.
I agree. I also watched Kerry's speech right after the convention and I got kinda pissed that he would attack President Bush's service when all Bush has done is praise Kerry's service. It's Kerry's peers from Vietnam who question Kerry's record. I don't remember anyone questioning Kerry's patriotism. Granted perhaps the Bush Girls (still not tired of that phrase) attacked his patriotism, I wouldn't know, I couldn't stand to watch them anymore than a I could a tv commercial; BORING. So if they did I would have missed it.
Perhaps Kerry used a Lapham machine and reviewed the text of the speeches that way, rather than studying them himself. Perhaps Michael Moore wrote the speech for him. I'm thinking that what is likeliest is the kind of projection I've been seeing from the left for a while now. It's the kind of thing Kerry and the Democrat Coalition would say, so they assume that's what Bush would say. Perhaps that explains Boston Democrat strategist Mary Anne Marsh's attack. I have friends who, unlike Bush, Kerry, Edwards or Cheney, volunteered for the active duty army, and during Vietnam, who ended up serving his whole stint in Germany. She thinks he betrayed his country.
The purple heart band-aid thing at the Republican National Convention was in poor taste, it was stopped very quickly by the RNC chairman. I noticed most news outlets utterly failed (or chose not) to mention that part. Myself, I'm not as classy as Bush, or the RNC Chairman. I thought the band aid was pretty funny. Especially since I removed a metal splinter, a jagged bit of steel, from my hand just the other day, whose dimensions matched the one Kerry got a purple heart for. Certainly it's nothing compared to the shrapnel that ripped my father's kidney out in Vietnam.
Kerry attacking Bush's military service brings up another point. You'd never know without the blogosphere, that Kerry wanted to have more in common with Bush and Cheney regarding military service, but his luck in those days didn't seem very good. He wanted to get yet another education deferment, like Cheney did, after getting a couple others so he could leave the US to study. When that didn't come through he joined the Reserves, kinda like Bush. When he got stationed in Vietnam he volunteered for the least dangerous service he could find there, but once again his bad luck kicked him in the butt, and after he volunteered the swiftboat mission changed and became a dangerous line. I guess that was the point he decided to stop trusting on his luck and trusting more in his subterfuge and lack of honor.