The smoking gun
To the Boston Globe's editors, the connection between BC04 and SBVT is perfectly clear:
Benjamin L. Ginsberg is the smoking gun. As national counsel to Bush-Cheney for five years, he has operated continuously at the center of President Bush's political organization. He was James Baker's right-hand man during the 2000 Florida recount challenge.
When Ginsberg aided the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's untruthful, scurrilous attacks on Senator John Kerry's Vietnam War record, he established a strong and obvious connection between the president's campaign and the smear....
Now the politics of the issue seems to be catching up with the facts. The story is no longer Vietnam but the smear. Bush, realizing that the tide has turned against him, is trying to back-pedal and change the subject -- proposing yesterday that both campaigns join in challenging the so-called 527 groups, like the veterans and some Democratic and Republican groups, that use unregulated "soft" political contributions from wealthy donors and special interests to influence campaigns. There is a legitimate 527 issue. The members of the Federal Election Commission, appointed by Bush and Bill Clinton, have betrayed their office by not reining in groups that are too closely aligned with both campaigns.
But that is not the issue with the anti-Kerry veterans. The issue is Bush -- his refusal to condemn a patently false attack, his willingness to try to reap some political reward on the cheap, his utter lack of leadership in brushing off the role played by his close political aides.