Friday, October 29, 2004
John Kerry has not been presenting himself as a positive choice to the American people. His response to the Osama bin Laden tape is the perfect and latest example of this. All bundled up into one brief verbal episode, John Kerry manages to embody many of the criticisms being leveled at him as a presidential contender. Among them is the ongoing charge that he's a flip-flopper. What I didn't know is that he could flip AND flop in one sitting.
As reported in the Washington Post (hat tip: RealClear Politics), here is some of what he had to say about Osama AND Bush:
Kerry, too, said, "My reaction is that all of us in this city are completely united." But he criticized Bush for not capturing bin Laden earlier, and he added pointedly, "I believe I can run a more effective war on terror than George Bush."
Kerry, in an interview with WISM in Milwaukee, said of Bush, "He didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down Osama bin Laden. He outsourced the job." Kerry has criticized Bush throughout the campaign for failing to capture the leader of the terrorists who struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, questioning U.S. strategy in pursuing bin Laden in Afghanistan.
"Democrat, Republican, there's no such thing," Kerry said. "There's just America and we are all united in hunting down and capturing or killing those who conducted that raid and we always knew that that was Osama bin Laden."
"My policy is there's no such thing as negotiation with terrorists," the Democratic candidate said. "And terrorists, terrorism are going to be hunted down and killed, we are united on that."
"I am absolutely confident I have the ability to make America safer," he said.
Let's start with the obvious. How can someone claim America is united against Osama bin Laden yet, almost in the same breath, turn around and criticize Bush for letting him get away? Either you are united or you are not united. You can't say, "Democrat, Republican, there's no such thing," then say, "I believe I can run a more effective war on terror than George Bush."
Only a genuine flip-flop artist can find a way to flip and flop himself in the same set of comments.
Somebody who was genuinely interested in uniting the country, someone who really cared about putting partisan differences aside to beat bin Laden, someone who believes in consistency and "integrity, integrity, integrity", would stop the campaigning when issuing statements denouncing the enemy. John Kerry doesn't seem interested in anything of the sort.
But it's not just the shameless flip-flopping. It's the foolish chest-beating. What does it say about John Kerry that he feels it necessary to not only trash Bush in responding to Osama, but to claim he can fight a stronger war on terror? If he hasn't made that argument yet, does he really think saying it to Osama now would do the trick? It's like the back-up quarterback, after throwing five interceptions in practice, saying, "I can do better. Just watch me". It's hard to watch when you haven't even been in the game yet.
And it's still unclear just how Senator Kerry, 'the uniter', would do it better than Bush. He says he agrees with the war in Afghanistan, but cherry picks the 'Osama escaped at Tora Bora' line. He says he agrees with the threat of force against Saddam, yet it's the "wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time." He says Saddam is a threat, then he says he's not a threat. He says weapons are missing in Iraq, then he says he doesn't have all the facts.
So, in the final days of the campaign, in response to what he himself considers the greatest enemy to the United States of America, John Kerry manages to flip-flop, chest-beat, and blow in the wind. I think the Senator needs to work on that throwing arm. He just threw a whole bunch of passes to the other team.
UPDATE (Sat. Oct. 30, 8:08am): More like a correction. My reading of the above Washington Post passage led me to believe that Kerry made the flip and the flop in the same statement. I already knew he made the flip. I also knew he made the flop. After reading the article, I thought he made both at the same time. Turns out he made the flip during a statement, then the flop during an interview some time later. Still doesn't excuse the flip or the flop. Just means he had a little more time to deliberate on the flop, after having made the flip. Got it?