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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Bollettino

Must recommend an op ed piece in the Asia Times this morning. The intro graf of Ehsan Ahrari’s piece poses the question:


“If national-security issues are driving the US presidential race - and they certainly are - then why is President George W Bush not doing worse than his numbers currently show? …

The security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is worsening; however, the focus of presidential debate is not whether Bush misled the United States into invading Iraq - by harping on the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, or that he should have stayed in Afghanistan and finished the task of eradicating al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Bush's misinformation about Iraq and his faux pas regarding Afghanistan have been taken as facts. Yet the voters don't seem to want to punish him. At least that is not the case when one looks at these numbers. Perhaps the fault lies with Kerry.”

You think so? Why, Kerry, as all the Dem blogs assure us, is with us – in his heart. Sure, he would have voted to invade Iraq all over again – but that is a nuanced position! Sure, he has no plan to withdraw American troops – but watch him get French troops in there! Sure, his comments about what is happening in Iraq are undistinguishable, for the most part, from Dick Cheney’s – no support for elections, no comment on the American attempt to change, by invader’s force, Iraq’s whole economy in the face of overwhelming opposition, no grappling with the fact that, according to polls sponsored by the CPA itself before its self-administered euthanasia, the most unpopular force in Iraq right now is the U.S. Army – but he isn’t connected to Halliburton! Kerry’s margarine approach is astonishing – by this point he should have figured out that we actually want to hear about the larger problems posed by Iraq – namely, how to get along in a Middle East that is ruled by elites that are having a hard time holding a pro-U.S. line in the face of mass anger at this country. Kerry’s every instinct, when meeting a crisis, seems to be to form a committee. Surely, though, he can’t be that brain dead. And then there is the record on Israel, which it is just as well we don’t examine – it is too depressing.

Kerry’s me-too-ism has had one advantage over Bush – one’ s impression is that he is a more competent man. Even if Bush’s plans and goals are terribly wrong, the wrong is compounded by the way those plans are carried out – with awful and stupid negligence. Kerry has so far given the impression that he isn’t the type to allow an obvious idiot like Paul Wolfowitz to go around chewing out the Commander in Chief over a purely military question. This image of competence, though, is being damaged by Kerry’s response to the Swift Boat nonsense. If he can’t deal with a little dirty campaigning, voters rightly are going to think, the guy isn’t so competent after all.

This is where Ahrari’s piece gets interesting:

“The preceding are some of the reasons Kerry could not establish himself as a distinct and a different leader. But an additional factor should also be considered. The real problem with Kerry's candidacy is that he is a politician whose comfort zone has always been close to the center of a political spectrum. Consequently, he has gotten used to responding to his natural instincts, proclivities and impulses for moderation. In the post-September 11 era, such a politician cannot impress the voters, even when the record of the sitting president on the awesome issues of wars - to be precise, on the post-military campaign performance - in Iraq and Afghanistan is mediocre. The best Kerry seems to be offering to the voters right now is the Democratic Party's version of a mediocre presidential leadership. Why should the American voters defeat the sitting president with a mediocre record on national security and elect a senator who has thus far proved himself to be very much at home with playing it safe, remaining at the center, but never demonstrating courage as a politician to damn the torpedoes and moving full speed ahead on issues of national security? It may still not be too late for Kerry to do just that, accentuate his bold measures, especially regarding Iraq. A 2-5% lead for Bush is entirely spurious; it might dissipate almost instantly, but only if Kerry can imminently articulate the difference between him and his opponent. What should be the specifics of his bold approach? Well, only Kerry can articulate that approach, if he is serious about convincing the voters that there is indeed a Kerry difference that should be in White House for the next four years, instead of George Bush. “

Much better than all the bs that has been emanating, lately, from the lefty cheerleader blogs.

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