In reading the bizarre missives from Sen. John Kerry contaminating my inbox, I have to wonder whether he's operating as a foil for Hillary Clinton. Is he saying especially stupid things about the war because he believes them or to enhance the presidential prospects of latter-day warhawk Hillary?
Of course I'm being facetious, since John Kerry is not about to sacrifice himself intentionally for anyone, even Hillary. But Kerry's recent statements on the war, including his gratuitous speech at Georgetown University Wednesday, again remind us just how close we came to a national train wreck in almost electing him to be commander in chief. Juxtaposed against Hillary Clinton's pro-war pronouncements, they also illustrate that the Republican Party is not the only party with its set of problems.
Despite all the debate among conservatives over the Harriet Miers nomination and the hint of scandal in the air, Democrat leaders, in their most candid moments alone, must realize (and agonize over) the woeful state of disarray they find themselves in over this war.
Besides, Republican fighting over Miers does not represent a major schism in the party. Republicans are virtually unanimous in believing that the next Supreme Court nominee should be a competent, constitutional originalist. They just disagreed about whether Miers fit the bill, or whether she should be entitled to a stronger presumption in that respect until the confirmation hearings.
Assuming President Bush nominates a strong, non-stealth originalist this time around, Republicans are likely to unite behind him with a renewed enthusiasm that will only grow stronger to the extent that Democrats obstruct the nomination.
So before Democrats get too sanguine about 2006 and 2008, they should remember they are still the antiwar party during wartime.
When you review Kerry's latest statements on the war you can't escape the impression that he is still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
He so desperately wants to recapture the loyalty of the antiwar Democrat base, but every time he tries to fashion a coherent policy toward that end, he finds himself running head-on into the brick wall of reality. Every time he tries to articulate an Iraq policy sufficiently distinct from President Bush, he finds himself hamstrung by his own previous inconsistent positions and by his mortal enemy: common sense.
Kerry called on President Bush to withdraw 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holidays, assuming the parliamentary elections in December are successful. Never mind his earlier harangues about President Bush's irresponsibility in having too few troops in theater.