Jonah Goldberg
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The most Nixonian of Kerry's traits is his obsession with secrecy and conspiracies. In August, Kerry announced he had a secret plan to get America out of Iraq. When George Stephanopoulos said it sounded like Nixon's secret plan, Kerry responded with Nixonian combativeness: "I don't care what it sounds like. It's truth. I don't care what it sounds like."

OK, fine. But at the same time, Kerry has accused Bush of having more secret plans than SPECTRE from the James Bond movies. As the blogger Slings and Arrows has documented, Kerry has accused Bush of having secret plans to privatize Social Security, slash social services, wage nuclear war, fix oil prices at the Saudis' behest, cut VA Benefits, cut education funding, send jobs abroad and, of course, bring back the draft. On Monday the Associated Press reported, "John Kerry told voters in America's Dairyland... that President Bush had a secret plan that would hurt milk producers after the election."

Because Kerry Syndrome can cause dementia, it's not always clear whether Kerry thinks he's running as Nixon or against Nixon.

And other times it seems he's running as George W. Bush. It's hard to remember a time when one presidential candidate so completely controlled the agenda of the other. If they were cellmates, Kerry would be doing Bush's laundry by now. John Kerry's whole foreign policy is cemented to the notion that allies are everything. And yet he spends precious time ridiculing America's allies as a "coalition of the bribed" and letting his surrogates call the Iraqi prime minister a Bush puppet.

The Kerry campaign accuses the White House of fear-mongering with its talk about mushroom clouds; it moans when Dick Cheney's warns that a loss for Bush would be a setback in the war on terror. Then Kerry puts Ted Kennedy out there this week to warn that another term for Bush would make - you guessed it - "mushroom clouds" more likely. The Kerry playbook should be subtitled, "I know you are but what am I?"

Kerry even seems to want to speak like Bush. Just this week, Kerry called a Wisconsin audience's attention to Bush's negative ads. "I'm calling them 'misleadisments,' " the candidate declared, so lamely it makes your heart ache. When Kerry starts scripting Bushisms, you know the syndrome is in its final stages and the end is near.

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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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