06 July 2008

Former Democrat Presidential Candidates Say the Darnedest Things

Following closely on the heels of Wesley Clark, Senator John Kerry stepped up to the plate on Face the Nation today and delivered some sharp criticism of Senator McCain. One must wonder why – but more on that later. To be particular, Mr. Kerry is quoted as saying (in italics) with my comments following (in normal type):

“John McCain … has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he’s made about the war.”

That’s a pretty sweeping statement. I assume that Mr. Kerry has full knowledge of Mr. McCain’s “every judgment”.

“Wrong about the Iraqis paying for the reconstruction, wrong about whether or not the oil would pay for it…”

Interesting that one of the more liberal members of congress would be against paying for reconstruction of a country which, with the possible but not probable exceptions of Afghanistan and Serbia, has absorbed more tonnage from the US military than any other country in the last 18 years. What other countries have paid for their own reconstruction after a war? Aren’t there very valid arguments that one of the roots of WWII was the horrendous reparations payments required of Germany? Perhaps the US and coalition forces should have left Iraq immediately after overthrowing Saddam…and demanded reparations for being tied down in containment operations over Iraq since 1991. (Note: sarcasm.)

“…wrong about Sunni and Shia violence through the years, wrong about the willingness of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves.”

What would happen when the Baathist cork came off the bottled up hostilities between Sunni and Shia populations within Iraq is, without a doubt, a huge oversight on the part of all involved in the planning and execution of the war and its immediate aftermath. One might add the Kurdish population into that equation as well. Though this is not an excuse, it is a mistake which stretches back at least until immediately after the first Gulf War. And although this may seem a rather callous statement for me to make, this sort of mistake is one that must be learned from and not forgotten. Iraq is not the last time this problem will be encountered.

Mr. Kerry’s capper, though, is an oddly worded, slightly twisted statement:

“This is want-to-be president John McCain. The result is that John McCain has flip-flopped on more issues than I was even ever accused possibly of thinking about.”

What? For the man who flip-flopped his way out of the presidency, it seems excessive for him to claim that Mr. McCain has done so more than he. The wording speaks volumes about Mr. Kerry’s seriousness. The hyperbole is laughable. It demands the listener – or reader – to believe that either Mr. McCain goes back on his decisions beginning with breakfast and the practice goes on all day. Or – equally unbelievable – that Mr. Kerry wasn’t accused of flopping on much of anything.

What does Mr. Kerry have to gain from this? Rumors abound that Mr. Kerry wants to be Secretary of State in an Obama administration. Certainly Mr. Kerry performs an attack function, at the moment, which candidate Obama will not do himself. In order to appear above the fray, Mr. Obama has outsourced his attacks on Mr. McCain’s fitness to be president. Mr. Clark did not do a very good job. I don’t think Mr. Kerry did, either. Both are preposterous.

But as with Mr. Clark, who incidentally made his remarks on Face the Nation as well, Mr. Kerry performs what amounts to political theater during an intermission of serious campaigning. The trouble is that the electorate may not see a return to serious campaigning during this election cycle. If the recent comments of Mr. Clark and Mr. Kerry are any indication, serious debate may well fall to sound-bite shots from proxies. Mr. Obama may well rest on his “big speeches” (another one coming in Germany soon, perhaps), will avoid going head-to-head with Mr. McCain face to face if at all possible, and will try to “hope” and “change” his way into the Oval Office.

To use Mr. Kerry's words, perhaps this is "want-to-be-president" Senator Obama: the "above the issues" man who turns a blind eye when it serves his purpose.

1 comment:

beachmom said...

Kerry knows McCain better than most people. You do not serve yourself well by dismissing what he says. As recently as 2002, Kerry and McCain were writing bills together. It is stunning how much McCain has changed. And it is also true that the only known video that we have of McCain visibly showing anger during this campaign, is when Kerry's name was mentioned: