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September 19th, 2007, 09:02
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
As Mike brought up, however, the reputation Kerry has with many servicemen including my spouse comes from the time when he threw his medals away and started denouncing the war—AFTER the anti-war, anti-Nixon movement became fashionable with the main stream media—to their minds as a tool to get into office, while they were still under fire or returning home to be called baby killers. This is an emotional assessment, and how strictly factual it is I don't know.
It's very hard to know what really motivates someone. Sometimes you don't even know yourself. It's entirely possible that John Kerry realized the horror and futility of the Vietnam war and became a dedicated supporter of the anti-war movement out of personal conviction. It's equally possible that he saw which way the wind was blowing and joined the movement out of opportunism. It's even more possible that both things factored into the decision — after all, it's always easier to work up a good, solid set of principles if it's also a good career move.

In either case, the timing of the move doesn't really say much about it.

My personal impression of Kerry is that he would be much more at home in European politics. He has a nuanced, complex view of things and tends to look at them — and discuss them — from multiple points of view. The advantage is that he doesn't oversimplify complex issues as much as most other politicians. The downside is that it appears to make it very difficult for him to formulate a consistent policy and stick to it. Flexibility and adapting to changing circumstances and new information as it becomes available is one thing; blowing with the wind is another — and I do get the impression that Kerry is too much of the latter to be a very effective president, especially in difficult times.

IOW, had he and Lieberman been elected, I'm pretty sure America would be more or less where it is now — except that he would be taking the blame with the real architects of the problems coming out smelling like a rose.

I wrote this (in a completely different context) in November, 2004:

The best that poor patsy John Kerry could have hoped for was winning a percentage point or two of the popular vote and a couple of swing states on a razor-thin margin — and as likely as not have to face an energized and immensely hostile, Republican-dominated Congress.

And what then? It would still be stuck with the Iraq mess, an economy up to its eyeballs in debt on every level, from individual households to the government, and a currency steadily bleeding off value and only managing to stay afloat because other governments keep buying it to stave off the global recession that would inevitably result from its collapse. I believe all these chickens are coming home to roost before 2008, and when they do, there will be much clucking and snapping of beak.

So, Kerry and the Democrats would get stuck with the bill for a party they didn't (really) attend, and the neo-cons would sweep back into power, only this time with a real popular mandate. No, much better that this particular house falls on the heads of the people who eroded its foundations.

Because the fact is that America is headed for a fall. "Things that can't go on forever, don't go on forever," and America is currently engaged in a quite a number of practices that can't go on forever. It's spending beyond its means, bleeding capital (did you know France is receiving more foreign direct investment these days than America?), and engaged in a military adventure that it doesn't have the troops or the equipment to support or win in the long run. There will come a day when the helicopters will take off from the roof of the American Embassy in Baghdad, and the other governments will find it cheaper to grit their teeth and bear the recession rather than continue buying the increasingly worthless dollars.

None of this can be meaningfully affected by any American administration. It's coming, whoever is at the helm. The only thing the administration can change is something about the "when." And I believe that the sooner we get it over with, the better: the shorter the drop will be, and the sooner we'll all be able to pick up the pieces and start recovering. America will have returned to the ranks of merely mortal nations, but it will continue on a fundamentally sounder path.

And I believe that George W. Bush is the man best suited to ensure that it happens sooner rather than later.

So, my bearded lefty friends on both sides of the Atlantic: weep not, for it is better this way. Really. The shock of the fall ought to be enough to wake up even the American electorate. Come 2008 (or perhaps even sooner), and we might see Bush in a war crimes tribunal yet. Far better this way than having the left pay the price. It will be a sore lesson, but it will be learned — after all, it took all of a generation to forget Vietnam. And to my Republican friends (I know I have at least one), you'll come to your senses yet. I'm counting on you.
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