Jonah Goldberg

Now, I'm really not being facetious here. Especially in the wake of the mishaps of the Iraq war - no WMD, a wobbly reconstruction only now picking up steam - this country could use a really good debate about foreign policy. John Kerry thinks mending fences with France and the UN is his first foreign policy priority. He thinks "jobs" - whatever the heck that means - and education and the environment and "energy independence" are his job(s) number one.

Kerry's vice presidential pick reinforces all of that. Kerry is the most liberal Senator in the U.S. Senate, according to the respected National Journal, and in 2003 Edwards was the fourth most liberal. Edwards also voted against the $87 billion Iraqi reconstruction bill even though he voted for the war. Clearly, Kerry doesn't want to "balance" his ticket with a moderate, he wants to reinforce it with another liberal who can sell Kerry's message.

Indeed, as my colleague Byron York notes, Edwards' "Two Americas" speech, which earned him so much popularity among the Democratic base and which in turn bought him the nod from Kerry, does not mention terrorism at all. It was a crowd-pleasing speech for a party that wanted the whole issue of foreign policy just to go away. In fact, both Kerry and Edwards constantly appeal to the nostalgia of voters - "let America be America again" is Kerry's motto - for an imagined time when there were no serious challenges in the world, be it the 1990s or John Edward's childhood.

The two Johns believe that America's problems lie in the White House, not overseas. They believe that there's a rich supply of "allies" who would take bullets intended for Americans, if only George Bush had better manners. They believe, despite the fact that George Bush has increased spending on education by 60 percent, and despite the fact that the environment is cleaner now than any time in more than fifty years, that what America really needs more than anything is an education president, an environmental president. Meanwhile, as our enemies lop the heads off our citizens and plan more 9/11s, George Bush says we need a war president. Sounds like the makings of a great debate.


Jonah Goldberg

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