The heroic John Kerry on the trail - and heading out

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Sep 16, 2004 12:00 AM

Briefs from the Kerry campaign as it seemingly heads for the exits. . .

What was Vice President Cheney saying? For months he and President Bush have been insisting the nation is safer under the Bush presidency, which embraces pre-emption against declared enemies, than it would be under a Kerry presidency. In Des Moines Sept. 7, Cheney was unscripted and spontaneous:

It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today . . . we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the point of view of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset . . . that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war.

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Is it lunacy to suggest a vote for Kerry is a vote for more terrorist strikes? The Washington Post's Bob Woodward has put it another way: "The missing piece (is) how would Kerry respond" in the terror war? Yet Kerry running mate John Edwards termed Cheney's remark "un-American." Al Gore termed it "sleazy and despicable." Kerry adviser and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright termed it verging on the McCarthyite. Such comments may do nothing so much as lend credence to what Cheney said.

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This from a Democratic Convention story in the New York Times-owned Boston Globe: "At a meeting of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered Caucus at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, (Teresa) Heinz Kerry told the group: 'You can call me Mama T anytime.' As the crowd cheered, she said: 'At least, if nothing else, you will have a mom in the White House that will love you.'"

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Here's Kerry in an MTV interview on how he would romance reluctant U.S. allies:

Question:

Your exit strategy for Iraq is based on the idea that if you're elected, you'll be able to bring all of our traditional allies back to the table to help our cause. But what if they say no to you?

Kerry:

Well, I have a lot of tools available to me. This president has not done the statesmanship and has not shown the leadership necessary to bring other countries to us. Iraq, and their resistance to Iraq, is not only based on Iraq. It's based on the fact that we walked away from the global warming treaty and we dissed 160 nations that worked 10 years to try to build a cooperative attitude. . . . In addition, the president has done almost nothing to reduce the increasing clash of radical Islam with moderate Islam and the rest of the world's religions. We need to reach out to people and isolate the fundamentalist extremists, not have them isolate us. That's a big difference.

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Kerry is blasting President Bush for letting the 10-year congressional ban on the sale of certain assault weapons expire. Bush favors the ban's extension. How diligently, over how long, did Kerry toil with his Senate colleagues to extend the ban?

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On the consistency front, consider this: On Sept. 7, Kerry said weapons of mass destruction were the "only legitimate reason" for going to war. In August he said, "Yes, I would have voted for the (presidential) authority" to take the nation to war against Saddam even if Kerry had known no WMDs would be found.

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President Bush said Sept. 10 that if Kerry "had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be a threat to the security and to the world." Bush added that Kerry has "more different positions than all his colleagues in the Senate combined."

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Democratic Sen. (and Republican Convention keynote speaker) Zell Miller - campaigning with Bush - termed Bush the "one man I trust to keep my family safe." Describing Bush as "never wavering, never wobbling, never weak in the knees," Miller added: "I wish my party had the same will to win this fight that this good president does."

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Kerry's 1971 speech to the Fulbright Committee deploring America's presence in Vietnam and accusing all American military serving there of committing war crimes is widely discussed. Less well known (and now acknowledged by the Kerry campaign) is that about a year earlier, in possible violation of the Logan Act prohibiting private citizens from engaging in foreign policy, the young Kerry met privately in Paris with representatives of Ho Chi Minh.

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On the noisome barricades with Kerry in those days was, among others, Jane Fonda. The actions of such people gave aid and comfort to the enemy and thereby may have extended the war - simultaneously extending the stays of American POWs held by the Vietnamese Communists. In 1988 even Fonda acknowledged:

I would like to say something . . . to the men who were in Vietnam who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did. I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it. . . . I want to apologize to them and their families.

That's an apology the heroic John Kerry so far has proven unable to summon the moxie to make.