While many, myself included, are pointing out the numerous inconsistencies in Senator Kerry's recent positions on the issues, I think we also ought to look at his disturbing consistencies from the Vietnam era to the present.
It is true that Senator Kerry voted to authorize a military attack on Iraq and then later tried to squirm out of his vote. Senator Kerry decried Republicans for criticizing candidate Clinton for avoiding the draft but is now exploiting questions about President Bush's Air National Guard service. Kerry has conveniently retreated from his position against capital punishment for terrorists. He shamelessly attacks the Patriot Act, though he voted for it a few short years ago. And he's all over the board on the gay marriage debate.
While this small sampling of Kerry's many contradictions reveals that he is a rank opportunist, it tells us little about his driving ideology. But we have other evidence from which a clearer picture emerges as to his true ideological rudder, especially with respect to his fitness as a commander in chief.
President Bush is already a tried and tested commander in chief with whom the majority of the public feels secure despite valiant Democratic efforts to tarnish his credibility. Because the War on Terror is foremost on voters' minds, Democrats became desperate to find a candidate qualified to be commander in chief.
What were Democrats to do? Well, a faction of them tried to draft General Wesley Clark to inject instant defense credibility into the party notorious for its softness on national defense. For a number of reasons that was a bust. At the same time, on a parallel track, Senator Kerry began to milk his Vietnam service for all it was worth, which so far has been a successful ploy.
And so the logic has been established: John Kerry was a war hero 30 years ago, and George Bush saw no combat, therefore John Kerry is better equipped to lead the nation at war than George Bush.
But for Democrats to get any traction here, they have to explain the lack of military experience of our other successful commanders in chief. More significantly, they have to explain how military combat experience qualifies one to lead the nation on foreign affairs and national defense. Perhaps this wouldn't be so difficult if the combat veteran in question had not demonstrated such hostility toward the military and national defense, like Senator Kerry has since he returned from Vietnam.