Since LI has been slamming Kerry, fair play (as well as Pavlovian psychology) suggests that we praise him for good moves. So let's get it up for the speech on Iraq yesterday. Sure, he should have made it two months ago. Sure, the delay was inexplicably self-subverting… But the speech was firm, just, and outlined what Bush did badly and what Kerry will do to fix those mistakes. We now actually have two candidates with two positions. It is like having ... a democracy.

Our only complaint is that he should connect, as clearly as possible, what William Saletan, in a rather smarmy summary of Kerry's speech in Slate, calls "opportunity cost." We call it the failure to confront reality. We are talking about the subordination of the war on terrorism part of the war on terrorism to a sideshow. Kerry should learn to say Osama bin Laden's name. And then he should say it a lot. He should take a hint from this column by Joe Conason in the NY OBS commemorating bin Laden's survival and flourishing three years after 9/11. Three years ago we were promised that bin Laden would be taken dead or alive; as Conason reminds us, the dead, here, don't include Osama, but do include 1,000 U.S. GIs, and 10-13,000 Iraqis. It's a joke served very coldly to us this 9/11.