The Democratic National Convention might be one of the slickest orchestrated shams since President Clinton's Senate impeachment "trial." But the $64,000 question is whether John Kerry is tacitly conspiring with convention delegates to hoodwink the public or trying to con the unwitting delegates themselves. Either way, there's a whole lot of fraud going on -- a great deal more than at the usual party conventions.
On first blush one might assume the party honchos and delegates are engaged in a grand deceit to convince swing voters the swift boat captain will not only be tough on terror as president, but more aggressive on Iraq than President Bush has been. And, in fairness, Kerry has been trying to sound like a hawk for some time now.
He could actually be sincere that he's going to send in thousands of additional troops to Iraq, even though he failed to support the troops already there when it really counted (the $87 billion resolution to support the troops and help rebuild Iraq) and has said that under his leadership we could reduce the burden on American troops by persuading other nations to shoulder more of it.
On the other hand, we also know (from polling, as well as common sense) that the overwhelming majority of the delegates, who are at least pretending to drool over Kerry, were opposed to the action in Iraq and favor American withdrawal.
And we know that the hottest attraction among these we-support-the-troops-by-undermining-their-cause-and-prove-our-patriotism-by-constantly-bashing-Bush's-America types prominent at the convention is Michael Moore. Are Kerry and these fawning delegates winking at one another, or is Kerry flimflamming the delegates?
If Kerry is duping these delegates (and Michael Moore), he could be in for a rough ride if elected, given Moore's promise to turn the camera on him as soon as he's inaugurated. Then again, Moore may not have near the influence with his enablers against Kerry as he has had against Bush, even if Kerry fulfills his promises to be hawkish on Iraq.
So what if Kerry goes sideways on them and really does what he has pledged to do in Iraq but what his core supporters seem to be counting on him not to do -- stay the course in Iraq until the job is done?
Except for the hard-core pacifists, they would still probably not hold him accountable since their antiwar impulses would likely take a back seat to their loyalty to him. The Democrat rank and file is not nearly as appeasement oriented when their guy is in charge, as with our attack against Serbia. (Remember during Clinton's first inaugural when fighter jets flew over the Lincoln Memorial in formation and actor Ron Silver was troubled at the display of militarism until it dawned on him, "Hey, those are our planes now"?)
But what if Kerry does break his promise, reverts to his dovish ways and abandons the burgeoning Iraqi democracy? That would certainly please his antiwar base. But unless things are a lot worse than they are now, he probably couldn't afford to do it because it would be suicidal for his reelection and legacy.
"Aha," you say. "Then what difference does it make (concerning our national security) which of the two candidates are elected?" It matters a great deal, because this war did not begin in Iraq and won't end there.
In evaluating the national security credentials of the candidates we know that President Bush has been consistent, resolute and decisive in the War on Terror. We know where he stands and can be reasonably sure who we're voting for when we vote for him.
But with John Kerry we have witnessed inconsistency, irresoluteness and indecisiveness. We've seen him talk out of both sides of his mouth throughout the war on terror: "the threat's exaggerated," "we're not doing enough in thewar on terror," "I am in favor of the resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq," "I would never have voted for the resolution had I known he was going to attack before allowing the weapons inspectors another couple of decades to do their thing," I was for the $87 billion resolution before turning against it."
Assuming John Kerry has core beliefs beyond the conviction that he needs to become president to fulfill his lifelong ambition, we are entitled to know what they are -- especially those bearing on our national security.
What principles would drive his approach to the war on terror other than meaningless platitudes about international cooperation and keeping hope alive? What if he can't charm his French cousins to join us?
Senator Kerry needs to come clean, if not with his die-hard supporters, with the rest of us.