What did his opponents do or say they would have done? Well, Dean says he would have opposed the war, and Clark, typically, has said different things to different people but now is steadfastly opposed. Kerry and Edwards expediently voted for the resolution simply because the overwhelming majority of Americans supported it at the time. Kerry later tried to squirm out of his vote, not because he discovered new information or came to believe that Bush lied about the intelligence, but because Howard Dean was making headway on the campaign trail with a fervent antiwar message. And both Kerry and Edwards, also to save face with their base, shamelessly voted against the $87 billion resolution for American troops and rebuilding Iraq.
Kerry offers the lame excuse that he understood the war resolution to authorize military action only as a last resort. But the resolution was unambiguous. And nearly all of the leading Democrats claim Bush misrepresented the intelligence data, though their party leaders had access to that very same intelligence themselves. Would Harry Truman approve of his party's would-be successors to the presidency so dishonorably passing the buck or vacillating on this critical issue?
Regardless of the Democrats' efforts to scapegoat Bush, most of them will have to explain why they wouldn't have invaded Iraq based on existing intelligence at the time -- irrespective of what President Bush did or didn't say about it. Let them try to reconcile this with their pretensions to be bullish on American security.
Democratic candidates are between a rock and a hard place -- caught between their foaming antiwar base and a sober American mainstream that knows we have to take the war to the terrorists and their nation-state sponsors.
The leading Democratic candidates, including John Kerry, despite his heroic record in Vietnam, are committed doves and soft on national defense and American security. When the dust settles from the primary season, it will be interesting to see how the Democratic nominee tries to meet his burden of proving he will make a good commander in chief. A tough burden indeed.