Kara posts a link to fiery speech from the floor by Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan. Kara asks when Kerry is going to take his cue from that and get a little spine. The problem is that he has spine, he just doesn’t agree with Ryan. Last night’s debate made that clear. He’s running on a Republican ticket, just not a neocon one. His proposals and values are exactly that of the compassionate conservative he ridicules as a label. How often during the last two debates has he resurrected Reagan as a the core of his foreign policy?
Go back and read the New War. I read it when it came out. Thank God, I thought, someone in Washington is recognizing the threat of global organized crime, and looking to the future problems in managing it. I didn’t like his willingness to toss aside the rights of Americans to do it, but at least he was approaching the problem. Now, when Bush makes clear his position is to declare war on “terra,” Kerry says little more than “gee, sounds like a good idea.”
This is the second debate in which Bush has brought up the International Criminal Court. If I were in the debates, I would point out that after Abu Ghraib, it seems even more clear why the US refuses to answer to such a court. Kerry lets it slide, twice. Kyoto accords: not “We should have endorsed a treaty we agreed to,” but “it needs some fine tuning.” PATRIOT: not “Wrong law, wrong time, wrong place,” but “we should make some small changes.” Iraq: not “Negotiate a removal of troops over a year. placing as the mission the safety of a temporary regime, and keep a close watch,” but “win the war whatever it takes.” Terrorism: not “investigate, track down, arrest, and prosecute,” but “kill and find” them, as he said last night.
Why has this candidate not mentioned Gitmo? Why can’t he come out and say that while gay marriage isn’t popular right now, it’s the right thing to support? Why is he promising something he cannot reasonably deliver (read my lips, no new taxes)? Why, when the president says “I’ve been working hard,” does he not bring up the fact that he has had more vacation days than any president in 70 years?
The real problem is that, as I’ve noted before, Kerry was put forward as a third person candidate: no, we may not agree with him on the issues, but he is “electable”; he can draw the undecideds. Bush is right. This is a candidate who was selected in large part because of his polling, and is shaped by those polls. His time in the senate has put him in the position of elevating the doable over the ideal. And that is a hard candidate to vote for. When I see people supporting Bush, I can’t help but think that they are lacking in moral character. But I wonder how many of them are voting for Bush because they are thinking “Anybody but Kerry”?
No, I’m not voting for Bush next month. But I will be holding my nose if I cast my ballot for Kerry.