Sunday, December 24, 2006

Kerry flips Bush the bird

Via The Reaction, John Kerry posts an great op-ed in the WaPo today. Michael thinks more highly of the good Senator than I do. I've never really been a big fan of Kerry's myself, but I have to agree that if he had been talking like this in 04, he might have won his spot in the Oval Office. The opening line alone is a stunner.
There's something much worse than being accused of "flip-flopping": refusing to flip when it's obvious that your course of action is a flop.
That would have been a dandy response when he was running. Too late did Kerry learn the Rovian trick of turning your opponent's slurs into an asset. Kerry goes on to bitch-slap Bush seven ways to Sunday. I especially like that he picked up on a point I made a few days ago.
We have already tried a trimmed-down version of the McCain plan of indefinitely increasing troop levels. We sent 15,000 more troops to Baghdad last summer, and today the escalating civil war is even worse. You could put 100,000 more troops in tomorrow and you're only going to add to the number of casualties until Iraqis sit down together at a bargaining table and compromise. The barrel of a gun can't answer the question of how you force Iraqi nationalism to trump sectarian loyalty.

The only hope for stability lies in pushing Iraqis to forge a sustainable political agreement on federalism, distributing oil revenues and neutralizing sectarian militias. And that will happen only if we set a deadline to redeploy our troops.
Exactly right. Bush promised last spring that the summer of 06 would see a huge turnaround in Iraq from the surge they were planning for the summer. We all know how that worked out. The violence has only escalated out of control. Why on earth do they think the result will be different this time? And the point is well taken that the Iraqis have done jack unless they're under pressure to perform. At every "turning point" from the turn over of sovereignty to the formation of the government, the Iraqis have dithered around until we set a firm timetable for them.

Judging from this latest development, nothing has changed. Dashing the Bush administration's hopes of forcing a new coalition in the Iraq government that would margalinize al-Sadr's power, revered cleric al-Sistani "will not bless nor support any new bloc or front. He only supports the unity of the Shiites." As long our troops are there to referee this civil war and run interference with the Sunnis for them, the Shia are not going to turn against the man who is so instrumental in putting together a Sharia-based government for them. That Sadr hates the US is a plus in Iraq, not a detriment.

They all hate us, but as long as we're there pumping money into their coffers and effectively protecting their militias, the people in power who are reaping the benefits are not going to kick us out. Bleeding our treasury and our troops dry suits their purposes, and ironically also suits the purposes of the extremists who don't really care who is in charge of Iraq as long as it causes discomfort to the US and reinforces the Islamic theocracy we helped to install.

[thanks to Memeorandum for the link]
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Anonymous romunov said...

It looked to me like Kerry was running to lose. How can a guy who said " do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?" lose to George 'snorts a lot of coccain' Bush? Hum.

12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I often thought that too Romunov but in the end I think he was really just a victim of really bad consultants.

1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Ott said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:14:00 AM  
Blogger Terry Ott said...

I've thought lots about the Kerry loss and come to rest on one factor above others; most Americans aren't died-in-the-wool Dems/Reps, or Liberals/Conservatives, not to the point where someone wearing one of those labels, or being from this region or that region, is the prime determinant.

I think the key determinant is what I will call "genuineness". One tends to like and trust and root for people who are genuine; we shy away from people who appear less than authentic.

I paid attention to the policy statements, the issues positioning, and the debates, etc. But I think what stuck with people was not catch phrases, or command of the issues, or glibness, or even intellect. What stuck with people were "images". The ones that come to mind for me are Kerry trying to look "military" at the convention (he is not really a military guy), his bitching at the secret service guy about falling on the slopes, his feigned eating with real folks at a greasy spoon and then retiring to his campaign vehicle (bus, rv, whatever) to dine "for real" with Theresa on some quail and wine or whatever. And the windsurfing. And the report of his bitching about a windpower propellor fouling the view from one of his residences. In fact, on a more general level, a guy who is opportunistcally living in the lap of luxury but who talks about Joe Sixpack's rigors and how he is going to "fight for him" is just short of coming across as Monty Pythonesque I think.

My doubts formed about Kerry the candidate even before the convention back when we started to talk about his being the "most electable" in the field. I said then, "those people are CRAZY". He might win, I thought, but it will have to be in spite of his persona and track record, not because of them. In short, because his opponent was so horrible, and his opponent's campaign so inept, that he was virtually asking to be replaced. And that almost happened.

So my theory is not that Kerry lost to Bush, but rather that Kerry just did not "ring true" to so many of us. So far off from the "genuine article" that he was the ideal opponent for the Republicans to face. The GOP never had to go beyond watering the seeds of his own demise.

So, this time I say to those who make a difference in the Democratic Party, job #1 is to find a man or woman who actually enjoys burgers with onions, who doesn't look like a stiff outside a factory gate, who can joke around with the office staff where you work, who worked for a living at one time and came from some nondescript lineage. That's the kind of person we want to be around, and will trust to do the right things. S/he doesn't have to be "perfect", and it helps to be especially gifted and astute, but above all s/he has to be "real".

1:17:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well said Terry. I think you nailed Kerry's problem and you're exactly right about what kind of candidate the Dems need to field in 08.

So far, I'm thinking Webb and Tester would a good choice.

8:55:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:57:00 AM  

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