Nominating Kerry -- Is Democratic buyers' remorse inevitable?

Posted: Mar 19, 2004 12:00 AM

Have you been hearing the increasingly bizarre pronouncements erupting from Senator Kerry's amply angry mouth? In their haste to throw Howard Dean overboard, have the Democrats made a real blunder anointing this pig in a poke?

I was nearly dumbfounded as I watched Kerry launch a cynically brazen attack against President Bush for breaking his promise to increase funding for our soldiers and veterans and failing to provide them with the best available weapons systems. What? Is Kerry banking on the possibility that his supporters are ignorant of his own record and President Bush's?

Or could it be he figures that most of his backers don't care what he has to say to win -- anything to beat Bush?

Either way, for Senator Kerry to misrepresent Bush as being soft on defense and promote himself as the caretaker of our national security is like Walter Mondale running as a tax-cutter and depicting Ronald Reagan as a tax-raiser. Perhaps Kerry's strategy is that if you say something preposterous enough, a significant portion of the people will believe it.

Just as I had concluded that Kerry would have a tough time topping that statement, I saw another clip of him critiquing the president's record on Iraq. Kerry said, "What we have seen is a steady loss of life with no end in sight." How I wish someone in the major media would follow up with questions, such as the following, exploring the logical implications of Kerry's charges:

Senator Kerry: On those days you are against the war in Iraq, could you tell us how you reconcile your support of President Clinton's bombing of Serbia? Are we supposed to forget that you supported the resolution authorizing the attack on Iraq having access to the same intelligence data that Bush had?

As for your record compared to the president's in supporting the troops, how do you explain that Mr. Bush has increased spending on veterans by some 8 percent per year and defense spending by 10 percent per year? And do you expect us to overlook that you, Senator, voted against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation to support our soldiers and finance the rebuilding and democratization of Iraq? (I know you said you voted both for it and against it.)

As for your complaint about the loss of life with no end in sight, Senator, are you unaware that it is a time-consuming enterprise to rebuild a war-torn nation, and by post-World War II standards it is still early in the game? Do you refuse to acknowledge that international terrorists committed to disrupting democracies and the general advance of civilization have converged on Iraq hellbent on preventing its transition to democracy?

Are you really saying that our troops in Iraq would sustain fewer casualties if you were in office or that you could bring them home more quickly without jeopardizing the stability of the new regime?

No, please don't tell us again that you would have voted against the war resolution in the first place if you hadn't been misled. Despite being untrue, it is completely irrelevant because our troops are there now, and even you have stated that if we withdraw too soon, it will create an unstable state in Iraq and represent a setback in our War on Terror. And you've also urged Spain's prime minister-elect, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to stay the course.

What magic wand, then, would you use to insulate our troops from injury and bring them home faster? Maybe you would take away the body armor and weapons systems you defiantly voted against? Or treat the terrorist attacks in Iraq as a law enforcement matter? Or talk your other dovish European leader friends into undovishly committing their troops?

The truth is that Senator Kerry has no idea how we could possibly sustain fewer casualties and still accomplish our military goals in Iraq. His criticisms are manufactured and bogus because he knows President Bush is pursuing the only responsible course of action for the Iraqis, for the world and for the security interests of the United States. But that won't keep Kerry from trotting out the same old antiwar hymnal he sang from on his return from Vietnam, because that seems to be the only way he can make himself relevant to this debate.

With every passing day Kerry's endless criticisms of the president's foreign policy seem more desperate, hysterical and indefensible. I just can't help but wonder whether a substantial number of Democratic honchos and voters aren't beginning to feel an eerie sensation of buyers' remorse. How could they not?