Linda Chavez

 "'There are all kinds of waters,' (Kerry) said finally. Pause. 'Saratoga Spring.' This seemed to have exhausted his list. 'Sometimes I drink tap water,' he added." It's a funny episode, but also telling.

 As is Bai's description of the one subject that seems to elicit any passion from Kerry: diplomacy. "The only time I saw Kerry truly animated during two hours of conversation was when he talked about the ability of a president to build relationships with other leaders," says Bai.

 "He leaned his head back and slapped his thighs. 'A new presidency with the right moves, the right language, the right outreach, the right initiatives, can dramatically alter the world's perception of us very, very quickly,'" Kerry gushed to Bai.

 But are world leaders likely to trust Kerry, a man so reticent, so conflicted about what he truly believes?

 Bai's piece has generated a great deal of attention because Kerry is quoted in it saying, "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance." Kerry went on to compare fighting terrorism to fighting prostitution, gambling and organized crime. He argued that we need to reduce terrorism to the degree where "(I)t isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

 Reading Kerry's words I had the feeling he'd finally said what he really believes. And suddenly I understood why he's so desperate not to reveal himself.


Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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