Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Rugrats Politics

This was excerpted on one of the big-deal anti-war/anti-Bush blogs. It comes from a like-minded blogger whose site has "bushlies" as part of its URL. It described the blogger's advice to a Kerry staffer about Iraq:

On a Washington street corner, he now asked me how he had done. You have a tough job, I responded. The Bush campaign has succeeded in convincing the mainstream media that the key question is, what is Kerry's plan for Iraq? Not, say, what is Bush's plan for Iraq?

Notice how the election has three components: Bush, Kerry, media. People -- voters -- are just passive observers. Both sides may do that, but I hate it. But notice, too, how the whole thing starts to look like that old TV commercial about two little kids arguing over which one is going to eat the "cereal that's supposed to be good for you." Does this person really think that if I want to know Kerry's plans for Iraq, that means I don't care what Bush's are?

If Kerry is so fortunate to win on November 2, he won't take office until January 20, and the situation in Iraq could be dramatically different. Any specific plan he tossed out now could be--and probably would be--totally irrelevant at that point.

Yes, we know the calendar. And most of us out here in passive voter land are smart enough to understand that the situation could change. But we'd still like to know just a teensy bit about what your candidate might do if confronted with the present situation. We promise to take it in the spirit of a hypothetical situation, OK? Because Iraq might be totally different in a few months. Or it might not.

Or Kerry could pick some moment in the past year and say, with hindsight, in general terms, "this is what I would have done different in setting up an Iraqi government," or "this is how I would have handled the Fallujah problem."

Instead, Kerry always seems to stop at the water's edge of the decision to topple Saddam. He'll tell us what he would have done at that point -- which is to overthrow Saddam ... or maybe not -- but nothing more. So if I have a choice between the current bungling and someone who won't even give me a hint what kind of bungler he might be, I'm sticking with the evil I know.

Yet Republicans and echo-chamber reporters keep asking Kerry to state precisely how he would undo Bush's mess.

Ah, bingo. "Bush's mess." That "little kid" attitude again. "I didn't do it. It's not my fault." That's exactly what I don't want in a leader, and exactly what I fear about Kerry, whatever he may say. This war isn't his legacy. If he succeeds in Iraq, he'll just be polishing Dubya's image for history, at the cost of time and effort he could have devoted to building a legacy of his own. Men who get themselves nominated to the presidency have enormous vanity.

The kid stuff continues:

"I have two young daughters at home," I said to this Kerry aide. "If one takes a glass jar and throws it on the ground of their bedroom and smashes it into thousands of pieces, I don't point my finger at the other one and say, 'Okay, what's your plan for cleaning this up.' "

Nope. You take the one who "didn't do it" out of the room, and you keep the one who "did it" in charge of the situation till the mess is cleaned up.

Good strategy, guy.