First, many voters as they go into the booth will likely have in mind what each man would do in Iraq. Here Sen. Kerry faces a quandary: He has committed himself to increasing the participation of allies in our coalition, yet he has called our existing allies the “coalition of the bribed and the coerced,” and the Iraq campaign nothing more than a “grand diversion,” wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. Against that backdrop, it would require the combined skills of Metternich and Beelzebub to persuade new allies to join the effort.
Second, his assertion that U.S. moves should pass a “global test” may give some voters pause. While he truly does believe in the morality of diplomacy, ever since George III most Americans have disliked the idea of asking a foreign potentate for permission for anything.
Third, it does appear that Sen. Kerry’s position on the war in Iraq has changed. My own view is that the antiwar John Kerry is the real John Kerry, and that what Sen. Kerry is now saying is what he believes. The difficulty, of course, is then to explain why he did not vote against the use of force in Iraq, just as he had voted against the first Gulf War resolution in 1991. The suggestion from President Bush is that the senator’s vote for the war, which predated the rise of Howard Dean, was based on a domestic political calculation.
Fourth, President Bush is not distorting Sen. Kerry’s voting record when he says it is among the most liberal in the Senate. Sen. Kerry was ranked the No. 1 liberal by the National Journal, which has no dog in the presidential fight. One can scarcely imagine the screams of outrage if the GOP chose as its candidate the most conservative member of the Senate. “Out of the mainstream!” would be just the opener.
Fifth, the fact is that President Bush has an ample record to run on: a resolute stand against global threats and enemies, a tax cut that virtually all economists agreed was helpful in pulling the country out of recession, major achievements in education (No Child Left Behind), health care (prescription drug benefit for seniors) and law enforcement (Patriot Act), and interesting new salients like the faith-based initiative for social programs.
I have posted about Kerry’s essential silliness, of his loathsome stance on the Varela Project, and of his “acute sense of America’s fallibilities”. Ignoring that we are at war (one war, not local wars), Kerry acuses republicans of fear-mongering, and proposes “a plan” while alienating our true allies and asking if we feel “safer”.
It is a new world and exceedingly dangerous. Everything is at stake. We are now deeply engaged in a breastbeating exercise for not having connected the dots before 9/11. And yet here we are three years after 9/11, the dots already connected themselves, and we are under a powerful urge to ignore them completely.
Then yesterday John Edwards declared that if Kerry is elected president, then they “will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating diseases” and will enable the crippled to “get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.” As I pointed out last July, the Bush administration has been the first to fund stem cell research. Edwards, who made his fortune winning malpractice suits through junk science, wants us to believe embryonic stem cell science has advanced enough that cures are just around the corner. That is simply not true.
Fabulists both, Kerry and Edwards are running a campaign of illusions.
Update: A commenter at PoliPundit points out: “Right now adult stem cells have been proven to have value treating 56 types of medical problems, while embryonic stem cells have proven so far to have ZERO effectiveness.
It could very well be that this whole debate over embryonic stem cells is foolish and a distraction from the real stem cell research that actually works and gives results.”