Jonah Goldberg

The logical Mobius strip of Kerry's thinking twists even further. The man denounces President Bush's "unilateralism" in Iraq, saying again and again we need to work with our allies. But in the case of North Korea, he wants us to abandon our multilateral approach in favor of "bilateral negotiations." In Iran, he also wants more aggressive unilateral diplomacy, even though we've been letting the Europeans take the lead in dealing with the Iranians and their nuclear program.

Now, this isn't to say that Kerry has no good ideas. Rather, his good ideas are completely unconnected to good arguments for them. It's like his position against the death penalty. He says life in prison is a tougher sentence than death. OK, but he's ignoring the fact that criminals themselves don't think so. Moreover, he's in favor of capital punishment for foreign terrorists. So, by his logic, he supports tougher sentences for American criminals than for foreign murderers.

Now, I'm sure that Kerry's confusion isn't the result of a mental defect or even glue-sniffing. Rather, I think he just wants to be president really, really bad. Even his friends say that he's been running for president for decades. He used to go by "JFK" in college, and, dang, that hair really is very presidential.

For these reasons and others, Kerry believes he needs to do two things. He needs to beat Howard Dean, who's crushing Kerry by 30 points in New Hampshire, and he needs to do it by being more like Howard Dean than Dean himself. So, Kerry apes Dean's unhinged rage and translates it into equally unhinged lugubrious nonsense.

One reason why all of this matters is that Dean gets a free pass for his rage because he's an outsider. Kerry is a spokesman for what is supposed to be the loyal opposition inside the halls of power.

When he relinquishes reasoned arguments in favor of long-winded sputtering, he accelerates the intellectual self-immolation of the Democratic Party. And as enjoyable as that might be, it's not good for the country.

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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