Jonah Goldberg

There's one thing we can all agree on when it comes to Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. He's got very important hair. Beyond that, opinions vary.

My opinion is that Kerry's got no chance of becoming president of the United States. But unlike many Democrats running for president, Kerry still matters. He's a respected member of the Senate, considered a statesman by many and a serious man by many more. Again my opinion differs from that consensus; though, in politics, you have to take seriously the people who are taken seriously by others.

But I've got to say Senator Kerry does his best to make that as hard as possible.

Kerry's problem, in a nutshell, is that he thinks if he wraps a great many words around a nonsensical or factually loopy position it will become smart and/or true.

Consider Kerry's recent onslaught against President Bush's foreign policy. "Simply put," Kerry declared at the Council on Foreign Relations, "the Bush administration has pursued the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in modern history."

That's tough stuff. And, there's nothing wrong with saying that if A) you mean it and B) you have an actual argument to back it up. I don't think either apply to Kerry. Let me put it this way: There's nothing wrong with saying Osama bin Laden is an evil maniac. But if your rationale for that statement is rooted in the fact that bin Laden doesn't like Pop-Tarts for breakfast, well, then it was nice talking to you.

Kerry's arguments are closer to Bush-doesn't-like-Pop-Tarts than a serious case from a serious candidate.

First of all, Kerry voted for the war. But let's put that aside for the moment.

In his speech, Kerry said that he was worried Iraq would turn into some kind of long-running quagmire. "As we discovered in Vietnam, success on the battlefield, or even in a series of battles, can often be the beginning and not the end of a conflict."

OK, fair enough. But then he said, "I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election, the administration is now considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy."

Um, which is it? Are we in for too long a haul, or are we cutting and running?

The fact is that short of buying a ranch outside Baghdad, President Bush couldn't be more clear that we're in Iraq for the long haul. And if Kerry were concerned about the problems of bugging-out of Iraq, you'd think he would have voted for the Iraq reconstruction package. No, instead, Kerry voted for attacking Iraq but not rebuilding it. Then later, he turned around and criticized both the war and the lack of reconstruction.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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