Skip to comments.The doomed defeatist John Kerry is a loser and a bore, says Mark Steyn
Posted on 09/25/2004 12:28:26 PM PDT by BritishBulldog
The doomed defeatist
John Kerry is a loser and a bore, says Mark Steyn, and the only thing he is consistent about is his opposition to the projection of US power in Americas interests New Hampshire
I see even the editor of The Spectator, after his deplorable flirtation with Tories For Kerry, has decided to stick with Bush. So would most of those Tories for Kerry if they had to spend ten minutes in the senators company.
As I wrote last December, the only real question next November is how badly the Dems will do. But even I didnt expect them to be doing quite this badly with little over a month to go. Hardly a day goes by without some new poll shocker: Bush within five points of Kerry in New York, a state Al Gore swept by 25 points! Bush tied with Kerry in Maryland, which Gore carried by 17 points! Bush leads Kerry by four points in New Jersey, which Gore won by 16 points! Ive been on heavy medication for the last few weeks and to be honest my fevered pharmacological hallucinations of a Republican landslide are having a hard time keeping up with the cold grim non-drug-fuelled reality of soaring Bush numbers across the map. All my Democrat friends are profoundly depressed. At this rate, Dubya will win the election so decisively that they wont even be able to whine about how he stole it again. Or, if he did, hes getting a lot better at it.
I dont expect Bush to take New York or even Maryland in November. Kerry is a good closer, say his pals, which is their explanation for the way he struggles through the campaign and then wins narrowly even in the one-party state of Massachusetts. But these polls will force the Democratic candidate to spend time and money on turf he should have had sewn up months ago, and down-ticket Dems senators and governors and congressmen are beginning to ponder the question of whether their doomed Presidential candidate will have negative coat-tails. The so-called battleground this election season is all Democrat states.
Kerry has spent two months doing everything wrong, beginning with his choice of running mate. His Vietnam nostalgia-night reporting for duty convention speech was described by yours truly in the Telegraph as verbose, shapeless, platitudinous, complacent, ill-disciplined, arrogant and humourless. But most observers seemed to think it was a stroke of genius, and attributed the unprecedented lack of a post-convention poll bounce to the fact that Kerry was so good and so ahead of the game hed gotten his post-convention bounce before the convention. This is an example of a phenomenon Ive noted for a couple of years: the principal effect of Americas so-called liberal media bias is that the Democratic party and the pro-Democrat press sustain each others delusions.
It happened again a week after the convention. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth began their anti-Kerry campaign. The senators people assured the media that the charges were all false, the media assured the senators people that nobody in the press was going to go near the story. Partly as a result of this insulation from reality, by the end of August the underfunded veterans had driven Kerrys numbers down, extracted crucial retractions of many of his most celebrated war stories, and forced the candidate into hiding, unable to risk giving an interview even to sympathetic TV softballers.
Desperate for payback for his month of SwiftVet hell, the thin-skinned Kerry demanded that his campaign went on the attack about Bushs fitful National Guard service back in the Vietnam era. Nobody cares. But Dan Rather and CBS did a big story on whether Bush failed to show up for a physical in the War of 1812, and the Kerry campaign promptly lost most of September because Dans case had been built on laughably fake memos supplied as part of a convoluted deal involving the network, a man of dubious mental stability and key Kerry campaign contacts including Joe Lockhart, the former Clinton press secretary who was brought on board to get Kerry out of last months mess, not land him in this months.
In normal circumstances, youd send the vice-presidential nominee out to serve as your attack dog and savage your detractors. But because Kerry is aloof and cold, he chose a running mate to supply all the warmth and charm and feel-good fluffiness he himself lacks. Whatever John Edwardss strengths, hes no attack dog. While Dick Cheney went around the country snarling devastating cracks about Senator Flip-Flop, Edwards was reduced to pleading for Bush to call off the SwiftVet ads. He looked as though he was about to burst into tears.
There is an attack dog on the Kerry team. Unfortunately, its his wife, and folks dont like that in a prospective First Lady. Teresa Heinz Kerry dismisses her husbands critics as idiots and scumbags, and Kerrys new advisers seem eager to limit her visibility. Ive lost count of the number of Democrat women whove said to me that they cant stand her.
So that was the state of play in mid-September: a candidate in hiding, a lightweight running-mate way out of his league, and a motor-mouth wife duct-taped and tossed into the cellar.
But October looms and now were told Kerry is back in the game, thanks to his bold new stand on Iraq. It contradicts several previous stands, but dont worry: he plans to hold this one for at least a week or two. Finally, Kerry Takes a Stand, cooed an approving headline in the New York Times. The fact that hes taken a clear stand seems to be more important than the stand hes taken. But, if youre interested, his new stand on Iraq is that its a disaster and hell pull out, beginning next summer.
At one level Kerrys strategy makes a lot of sense the campaign strategy, I mean, not the Iraq one. Something bad happens in Baghdad pretty much every day, but were into the final stretch of Campaign 04, so if Kerrys talking about prescription drugs plans for seniors, the car bomb in Sadr City is going to be a quickie footnote in the World Briefs section if it gets in at all. To make the car bomb part of the election coverage is just good politics by Kerry: The Democratic candidate today renewed his criticism of President Bushs record in Iraq ka-boom! footage of burnt-out cars, husks of buildings, etc. No doubt the terrorists, now theyve got Kerrys withdrawal date to work towards, will be happy to do their bit to ensure he gets to stick to his schedule.
So, as a crude way of casting a pall over Bushs optimism, the Kerry tack might be effective. But I cant see the message itself Were losing anyway, so Ill surrender faster having much appeal to the American people. We must make Iraq the worlds responsibility, he says. But, if its an American quagmire, why should anyone else get stuck in it? Even if Kerrys deft nuanced touch with the Franco-German outreach is as effective as he insists it is, its asking a lot to expect them to pick up the slack for what he calls the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why, Jean, youre right, mon brave, Mr Chirac will say. Your men have died in vain there. Its only fair that ours should, too. And, even if you accept the dubious logic that Franco-German troops would be less provocative to Baathist dead-enders than Anglo-American ones, has Kerry done the math? Say there are 140,000 US troops in Iraq when he takes office. He announces plans to bring home 10 per cent within two months. By what stretch of the imagination does he think the French and Germans are capable of producing 14,000 troops to replace them?
I wrote a column the other day saying the glass in Iraq is about two thirds full. Its not great, but its not as bad as the naysayers suggest. The bulk of the violence is confined to one province and parts of Baghdad. The majority of Iraqs provinces are calm. Many have functioning local government, under mainly secular or moderate representatives. There is no civil war. If there was, the Kurds would already be on their way out the door, since theyve the most to lose by sticking with a non-functioning Iraq. If there were 100,000 people agitating against Allawis government, CNN and the BBC would be showing it. But there arent, so they cant.
For my pains, Andrew Sullivan, Sunday Times columnist and blogger (if you dont know what a blogger is, ask Boris Johnson, as hes one of them), said that Steyn is such a partisan hack. Guilty as charged, mlud. I want a Republican President elected in November, and as many Republican senators and congressmen as possible. I feel rather sad about that. This war against Islamist terror will go on for many years, and in a healthy democracy that means that politicians from both parties will wind up conducting it. But at the moment the Democratic party is simply not credible on the issue. Its delegates in Boston were 8090 per cent anti-war and they anointed John Kerry as their candidate not because of his position on the war but because his biography supposedly inoculated the party on the issue. There are a few unambiguously, fiercely pro-war Democrats, but, as Joe Lieberman can tell you, they poll in single digits.
Kerry himself has held every conceivable position on Iraq. His current line is that he wouldnt have gone near the joint: Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. A year ago, it was: It was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein. And when the President made the decision, I supported him. Who knows what Kerry really thinks about Iraq? I dont think he thinks about it much at all. I think he thinks about John Kerry most of the time. Thats one reason hes such a bore.
But, in so far as one can divine anything from his thin Senate record, its a 20-year aversion to the projection of American power in Americas interest. I dont reckon this is the man, temperamentally or intellectually, to finish the job in Iraq and to face down Iran and North Korea. In that sense, Andrew Sullivan is a non-partisan hack: hes adopted the pose of a sagacious analyst judiciously weighing the pros and cons of two approaches to the war on terror. But its total piffle: one party is just not interested in engaging with the issue.
If you look at the broader picture, the Democrats made a disastrous error in the years since 9/11. One reason theyve been in decline for a decade is that, on all kinds of matters, theyre in thrall to unrepresentative interest groups to the radical feminist lobby on abortion, to the teachers unions on education, to the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton ethnic-grievancemongers on black issues. These groups effectively exercise a veto over any serious thinking on the relevant issue. Since the Afghan campaign, the party has allowed a new grouping the Michael Moore crowd, MoveOn.org, the Hollywood Left to swell into a veto on any serious thinking about war and national security. If you want the relationship distilled into a single image, fish out a picture of Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy Carter in the Presidential box at the Democratic convention. A weak vacillating man at the head of a party deeply ambivalent about the war is not the kind of guy whos going to be putting the screws on Musharraf or the Saudis.
And, just in time for the change of policy, comes a new ad from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth focusing on another cheery snapshot from the John Kerry scrapbook of 35 years ago. This one is about Kerrys trip to Paris to meet negotiators from the North Vietnamese communist government and the souths Provisional Revolutionary government. He was a Naval Reserve officer at the time, and many of my correspondents regard it as treason. Im not in favour of having Senator Kerry put on trial and executed; soccer moms and other swing voters may see that as over-reaching. But John ONeill, the Swiftees spokesman, says, It would be like an American today meeting with the heads of al-Qaeda. Even if that line doesnt catch on, the ad is nicely timed with Kerrys Iraqi withdrawal strategy to paint the senator as the candidate of American defeatism, then and now.
I dont think theres a majority for that position in the country or in any of the battleground states. But, if youre John Kerrys campaign staff, what else is there? The Boston Globe had a story this week with the sub-headline: Advisors Strategize To Boost His Likability. Good luck with that one.
All skerry needs is a black top hat and a cut away coat, black ofcourse. That should complete the image
Says spodefly, too.
Seems to be something about that 1960s Surrendernik mentality that quagmires ones brain.
The Edwards choice was foolish, he was losing even in his home state. Who was behind that choice, Hillary?
The ones who made sense...Gephardt, Graham, even Clark, or a governor of a state.
Psalm 144:6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Send out Your arrows and confuse them.
I am so worried about this election, it's too easy!
Great Steyn, as usual. He has a Bush sweep of 44 states forecast.
Senators traditionally make lousy presidential candidates. But putting two senators on the ticket is un believable.
What awesome writing.
moi Kerri got another sharp stick in his crooked eye this morning.
Former Oregon Gov/Senator, Mark Hatfield, a real peacenik, had an oped published in the very liberal Oregonian. Mr Hatfield defends GW, puts down Kerry and says that he will vote for GW. That is the equivalent of hell freezing over.
Mark O. Hatfield: For me, choice for president is clear: Bush
The Oregonian ^ | 9/23/04
Posted on 09/25/2004 4:02:24 AM PDT by kattracks
As a young Navy officer in World War II, I was one of the first Americans to see Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. That experience lives with me today, and it helped to shape the view I held during my public service career: a view that war is wrong in nearly every circumstance.
As Oregon's governor, I was the only governor in the nation who refused to sign a statement supporting President Johnson's Vietnam War policy.
As a senator, I joined with Sen. George McGovern in an unsuccessful effort to end that war. I was the only senator who voted against both the Democrat and Republican resolutions authorizing the use of force in the 1991 Gulf War.
In my final years in the Senate, I opposed President Clinton's decision to send American troops to Bosnia.
During my 30 years in the Senate, I never once voted in favor of a military appropriations bill.
I know that this record will cause many to wonder why I am such a strong supporter of President Bush and his policy in Iraq. My support is based on the fact that our world changed on Sept. 11, 2001, a day on which we lost more American lives than we did in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I know from my service in the Senate that Saddam Hussein was an active supporter of terrorism. He used weapons of mass destruction on innocent people and left no doubt that he would do so again. It was crucial to the cause of world peace that he be removed from power.
Having seen atrocious loss in World War II, I understand the devastation of armed conflict. We have paid dearly with American and Iraqi lives for our commitment, but we cannot afford the alternative. Nor can we afford a president who puts a wet finger in the air and turns over his decisions to pollsters.
President Bush has indeed taken heat for his resolve in pursuing the war on terrorism and efforts in Iraq. His steadfastness and resolve in the face of his critics are deserving of praise.
As terrorists continue to plot against our country and our interests, the American people must choose between action and inaction, between security and insecurity.
I believe the choice is clear. I will proudly cast my vote for President George W. Bush.
Mark O. Hatfield served as a Republican U.S. senator from Oregon from 1967 to 1997.
"Teresa Heinz Kerry dismisses her husbands critics as idiots and scumbags"
As hubby correctly pointed out, there is something inparticulary ugle about a woman using the word "scumbag".
Hatfield's endorsement ought to nail the door shut against Kerry in Oregon.
I wonder how long it will take Andrew Sullivan to recover from that one.
Another great Steyn piece.
The 'Better Red than Dead" bunch!
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