Thursday, July 29, 2004
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Here's what struck me about Kerry's speech:
1) Given the emphasis on a positive message emanating from this convention, Kerry took harder shots than I expected at Bush -- but I thought his foreign policy critique hit home. I was obviously sympathetic to the line, "You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace." This is the section that the Bush team will have to rebut:
2) At one point, Kerry said, "I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities - and I do - because some issues just aren't all that simple." Funny, then, that his comments on outsourcing seemed completely simplistic and devoid of facts.
And yes, I saw Bob Rubin strategically placed next to Theresa, but I really would have liked a camera to have caught his reaction to those sections of the speech.
3) I was underwhelmed with his delivery. He seemed uncomfortable with the teleprompter -- it reminded me of Bush's speech immediately after Gore conceded.
4) The part of the speech when Kerry seemed the most engaged was when he talked about the sixties generation changing the world. That's great, but I'm not sure how it applies now.
5) The articulation of Kerry's "liberal hawk position seemed to me as the most fleshed-out part of the speech:
So where do I stand on the fence? I promised Tyler Cowen I'd start assigning a probability of which side of the fence I'd land. At this point, if p = (probability of voting for Kerry), then my p = .54.
THE MORNING AFTER: James Joyner has a nice collection of links. Matthew Yglesias is just as pissed as I am about Kerry's crap rhetoric on outsourcing -- Robert Tagorda even more so. Robert Hochman was thoroughly underwhelmed -- Virginia Postrel even more so.
The parts of Kerry's speech that appealed to me were the parts that made the same criticisms of the Bush administration that I've made in the past. I can't say the speech made me want to vote for Kerry anymore than I did before the speech -- but those sections reminded me why I'm not too thrilled with the Bush administration at the moment.
LAST UPDATE: Will Saletan seems to be channeling me this week -- or vice versa, as he makes a similar point about Kerry's speech:
posted by Dan on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM
You might want to push that p figure up a bit. Did you notice who was right next to Teresa? Not a guy who gets a speaking place, but a guy who gets the say behind the scenes. The hero of fiscal responsibility, Robert Rubin.
And the outsourcing talk was not about restricting trade, but about making America more competitive.posted by: Rich on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Sure, a decent critique of Bush's foreign policy, but I thought there was an underwhelming lack of positive vision. Not one word about his end state goals for Iraq and Afghanistan, in fact not one word about Afghanistan at all. When he did talk about Iraq, it was mostly about the need to disengage (that's why we need to bring allies in, so we can go home) and about the need not to divert resources from the homefront (no opening firehouses in Baghdad when we close them here.)
I think you're suffering from the same affliction as Andrew Sullivan. You're taken in by the pageantry and assuming that Kerry's record over the past 3 decades actually supports what he said. Since you liked the foreign policy part so much, let me ask you. Exactly HOW is he going to fix Iraq? He never says. He says we didnt have enough troops there to win the peace. OK, I agree, you agree. He says he'll bring in 40,000 more troops. Good idea. But wait, he specifically said they won't go to Iraq. So how does that help us in Iraq? Maybe it will help us in Germany, one of the areas where we are stretched thin after transferring military there to Iraq and Afghanistan, but are 40,000 troops in Germany really essential when it's the two flashpoints that are/were suffering from lack of troops? And he says he'll bring in our allies to help reduce the monetary burden on the US. Thats great, but the high costs of war are affecting the defecit, they're not killing the soldiers. So what are the allies going to do once they split the costs a little better? Sit around and have tea and talk about how wonderful they all are for helping the oppressed escape their plight under the sage and brave leadership of the French? How about some strategy? Some tactical decision on how to solve the problem? Nothing is offered. Bush has spent 3.5 years working on his strategy and there hasn't been an attack in the Us since. He doesn't need to explain himself or his homeland security or counter-terrorism strategy. His record speaks for itself. Come back to reality Dan. You know what came out of his mouth tonight was nothing more than rhetoric that will mean absolutely nothing when (IF) he takes office. Sure, Bush will have some rhetoric too, and he had plenty of it back in 2000. But he's since had 4 years to show where he stands. KErry's 30 years don't give me much hope for a KErry presidency.posted by: Danny on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I won't go on a rant but I can't believe you think a series of lame cliches measn he is serious. The slogan they repeat, "a stronger American at home and respected abroad," revels their priorities. The great irony is that he criticizes tough words without action but then provides tired cliches without substance. Please explain how he will get the French or Germans to committ troops or money to Iraq.posted by: kevin holtsberry on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I'd start assigning a probability of which side of the fence I'd land. At this point, if p = (probability of voting for Kerry), then p = .54.
funny, you can speculate then, cuz the IEM has it as repugs 51¢ and drats 50¢.posted by: glory on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Danny, those forty thousand troops are explictly NOT going into Iraq. Here's the text: "We will add 40,000 active duty troops - not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations."
Although what Kerry originally said was "We will double our special forces to conduct terrorism operations," it's not Kerry the media loves to deride for mangling his words. Can you imagine the glee if Bush had said that?posted by: David on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Ahhh. So you're the one everyone is to blame for those swing-voters that enduce political pandering and dilute the issues of the 80% who have chosen sides already. Busted.posted by: Neil Shah on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Dan suffers from the same affliction that hit Sullivan. He is too afraid to endorse Bush, or to be seen as a Bush supporter, because Bush at heart offends their cultural sensitivities. It's sad really. It would kill them as intellectuals to support such a simple man. It's just not in them. Very, very sad.
And before I get razzed for this let me note that I am not even from the US: I'm from Toronto. Let me also say that I see positives in both a Kerry or Bush victory.posted by: JFD on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Well, that was pretty strange. After going four days with every speaker trying to avoid mentioning Republicans leaders by name, the Democrats practically fell over themselves trying to imitate them.
The most obvious thing they did was write out for John Kerry a call and response thing that copied Dick Cheney's speech at the GOP convention four years ago. "Help is on the way," Cheney told a military community supposedly neglected by Bill Clinton's Democrats. Kerry didn't just quote this once, he used it again and again, and it wasn't all that compelling when Cheney used it the first time. (There was also the appearance, on cue, of floor signs bearing this very slogan. The Democrats did this during Edwards' speech too, as I noted yesterday, and I still think it's creepy.)
Controlled expectations for the nominee was another similarity. With Bush four years ago many Republicans were just hoping he wouldn't screw up -- a pessimistic view in the event, since Bush performs well from a prepared text. Tonight it sounded like some Democrats and most commentators were expecting Kerry to bomb, or at least to bore the audience. As it was he rushed through a speech that sounded as if it were written by a very big committee, trampling the crowd's applause at crucial points and teetering on the edge of disaster several times like a car going too fast through a series of hairpin turns -- "hair pollution," "Senators and Menators, eh, members of Congress," 40,000 new special forces trained "for terrorist, ah, anti-terrorist action." But he spoke very loudly and made it to the end, and afterwards everyone said he hit the thing out of the park. In reality the speech was an ordeal to listen to, and you had to wonder a) how many of the thoughts in it were Kerry's own and b) whether subconsciously what Kerry really wants is to be elected President of Vietnam. But, he exceeded expectations, which was what counted.
Finally, there were all the military trappings, which one can't really object to in a time of war. More than the rhetoric of some convention speakers (I can just imagine some terrorist watching John Edwards say "we will destroy you" and thinking to himself "How about this? I'm having my life threatened by Richie Cunningham") all the flags and the veterans in full and partial uniform don't just visually resemble the images of the last several Republican convention. The images send a messages about Democratic values aimed at obscuring the message sent by Democratic positions on issues.
Republican appeals to restore respect for the military four years ago obscured George Bush's minimal interest in national security affairs at that time. Democratic embrace of the troops this week is intended to shield them from attack on many issues where Democratic positions would cost them votes. Abortion? Gay marriage? School choice? Tort reform? Delegates at Boston think the first two are self-evidently good and will agree to the last two when Hell freezes. A Kerry administration, or at least the judges a President Kerry would appoint, will follow their preferences to the letter. They just don't want to advertise those positions now. Sound familiar?
Essentially successful modern Presidential candidates are the creatures of their campaign consultants, who all think and do business the same way regardless of which party's candidates they work for. Kerry is trying to do what Bush did four years ago, to make it through the election. As with Bush, a lot of people are in for a big shock when the campaign ends and Kerry governs in a very different way than he is campaigning now.posted by: Zathras on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Was it just me or did anyone else notice Kerry jumping around at the podium like he was a boxer loosening up and getting his heart going before he went into a fight?posted by: Danny on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Sen. Kerry says he will respond to attacks with everything in our arsenal. That is Sept. 10th philosophy. We're going to sit back on our haunches and wait for another attack?
Come election day, Dan, you really have a simple choice. Do you want divided government or not?
The senate is likely to stay R and if not it'll be whisker-close. The likelihood of Kerry be able to appoint hard liberal judges to the Sup. Ct. is just about zero.
In order to get anything done, he'll have to govern from the center, and that includes on foreign policy. and it's not like we're in control in iraq. some of the commenters upthread were looking for tactical solutions. oops . . . we gave up the initiative a long time ago. come next january, whoever is president will need to respond to the facts on the ground.
so both men will commit significant forces to anti-terror campaigns. if you want war with iran, vote for bush. if you're not certain, vote for kerry.
there are serious questions about domestic policy. Bush has shown no interest in fiscal policy. Kerry will have to, in order to have something to campaign on in four years.
divided govt works better. it's the only way these power-mad idiots can control themselves. vote kerry.
Francisposted by: fdl on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Had Kerry been the only one to speak, I might have at least considered him a credible candidate. Had it only been Kerry and Albright, I might actually think they have a serious strategy.
Unfortunately, the first two days of the convention killed it for me (I missed the whole third day). Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, and all the small-timers, yakking it up about how the world no longer looks at the U.S. with longing eyes. Umm, first, it never did, and second, I want leadership that will be doing what needs doing, not checking themselves out in the mirror all the time.
Hillary Clinton's line of "eight years of peace and prosperity" was the last straw. Yes, let's just forget the dead on the Cole and in our African embassies. Let's pretend the first bombing of the WTC never happened. Let's ignore the fact that Osama's boys were all recruited and trained during those peaceful and prosperous years. Well done. Remind me again, which President never admits mistakes?
And then, as if to underscore the point, you have Ted Kennedy's line about how "the world" wants to return to those years of peace. Well, yeah, I'm sure it does. No doubt France wants its oil revenue back. But that "peace" turns out to have been an illusion, and regardless of Ted's fetal-position wishing, we're not going back there. And I don't really care if ridding the world of Islamism upsets Belgium and makes Brazilians slightly less willing to take my tourist dollars. I've got other priorities. Clearly, the Democrats do not.posted by: E. Nough on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
At least your on the right side of the 50%. However, by now it oughta be 80% / 20% for you (personally p=0.99, Kerry). Bush has had FOUR years in office -- and apparenntly his campgaing is having a hard time having him run on his record -- so perhpas you could help them out and let us his concerete accomplishments so we know why we should pull the Bush lever. Even the British now (I know, they hate America, but just listen) think that BOTH IRaq and AFghaninstan are on the brink of becoming failed states. HMMM. So where is the record?? Someone -- annyone?posted by: Jor on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
NOT to mention Today's July surprise right on schedule! An admininstraiton that knows no bounds.posted by: Jor on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
When it comes to outsourcing, you don't have facts, you have data alleged to be true, often provided by uninformed economists like Catherine Mann, or data alleged to be relevant, which actually is not, such as the recent survey which claimed to show that few jobs are lost because of offshoring, when it actually showed no such thing.posted by: Jon H on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I agree that Dan may be operating under the same illusion that Andrew Sullivan is still struggling with, but I think the real mirage is Bush's alleged ability to fight a war on islamic terrorism. Everything he's done demonstrates that he and his administration are fundamentally incompetant when it comes to eliminating al qaeda and the real threats facing this country.
Bush and his deputies allowed bin Laden to escape when we had him surrounded; now even the Bushies admit bin Laden is alive and plotting major attacks against us. But instead of actually getting bin Laden we got distracted by Iraq and are so tied down there that we can't send in the troops necessary to secure Afghanistan and actually find Bin Laden. This is protecting us?
Bush and the Republicans in congress have been underfunding the Nunn-Lugar nonproliferation programs since before 9/11 and, amazingly, continue to do so. This is the single biggest threat facing our country; hundreds of thousands of Americans could die if terrorists got their hands on one. Kerry would make it a priority to lock these things down and usefully employ or at least distract former soviet scientists who might otherwise sell their services to rich saudi terrorists. Bush would rather play star wars and pretend that an untested, fundamentally unworkable 'shield' will protect us from ICBMs, completely ignoring the real threat of a loose nuke sailing into one of our cities.
Bush's people have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to establish reasonable priorities when it comes to defending this country. For all his swagger and bluster about smoking out the terrorists, they're still out there, we're still unprotected, nukes are still loose, and much of the world that once looked up to us now reviles us. Bush's real record - not the rhetoric - shows a failure of unprecedented proportions.posted by: Chad DeChant on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
"Did you notice who was right next to Teresa? Not a guy who gets a speaking place, but a guy who gets the say behind the scenes. The hero of fiscal responsibility, Robert Rubin."
Wow, this must thrill the followers of Howard Dean. Are they aware of their marginalization? The Deaniacs represent at least one third of the Democratic Party. That's a lot of people who are being asked to shut up and go along with an economic program they find repugnant.
posted by: David Thomson on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
“I think you're suffering from the same affliction as Andrew Sullivan. You're taken in by the pageantry and assuming that Kerry's record over the past 3 decades actually supports what he said.”
Both Dan Drezner and Andrew Sullivan have so far dodged (unless I missed it somewhere along the line) John Kerry’s record of appeasement during the Cold War. What in hell is going on? Why is Kerry’s wimpish senatorial record being ignored? The man was a full grown adult when he opposed Ronald Reagan’s fight against the Soviets. Is there a memory hole where inconvenient facts conveniently disappear?posted by: David Thomson on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Oh boy. Just when we were about over all the SARS crap. Lookit, JFD's comments aside, Toronto's actually very intellectual-friendly. Please, come visit.
Kerry's speech was excellent, but not bulletproof. And it couldn't possibly be. He aimed where he needed to (memes re the war, patriotism, "family values") and ducked potential distractions (his "complex" senate voting record).
It's an acceptance speech, people. A pleasing political infomercial. Judge it on it's actual purpose (read: rallying, consolidating the troops) and not on what it left out. There'll be plenty of time to get into the record over the coming months. No panic. He'll have to deal with it at some time, but I don't think this time and place would've been prudent.
Give him his due. He accomplished his mission.posted by: memer on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
“Give him his due. He accomplished his mission.”
I did not watch the speech. Hugh Hewitt, however, is somebody I greatly admire and this is what he concluded:
“But he (John Kerry) didn't bore people, which was a real concern. His timing was often off, but not fatally so. So he gets a B. Not a home run, but a solid single. He needed a home run.”
If Hewitt is correct---then Kerry blew it big time. The Massachusetts senator is only up three points in the most recent Rasmussen daily tracking poll. What happened to the big convention bounce? No, Kerry needed to hit a grad slam. A so-so speech won’t get the job done.posted by: David Thomson on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I am not sure how you determine when a program is underfunded, but regardless, Nunn-Lugar is not the only nonproliferation program. Here is a link from Bush's website discussing his various nonproliferation initiatives. For example, in 2002, the G-8 agreed to form the Global Partnership which was to spend $20 billion over 10 years on nonproliferation programs, with half of the money from the U.S. For Fiscal Year 2005, Bush is requesting $1 Billion for initiatives related to this. Also of note is the Proliferation Security Initiative. These seem like they are significant, fully-multilateral initiatives. On what basis do you make the claim that nonproliferation is being underfunded or, by implication, not being made a priority? I have no idea why these programs haven't been given more publicity, but that is no excuse to accuse the Administration of being incompetent on these matters.posted by: Michael Messina on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
That has been a huge applause line for Kerry for months, but...
In the panel discusiion with "undecided voters" that MSNBC runs with Frank Luntz, several people immediately wondered how that notion related to Yugoslavia and Kosovo.
If Kerry really is a liberal hawk, but really is inclined to apply this rule, where might we fight?
He actually extended the rule here (later in the speech):
As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.
Now, I am reasonably certain Kerry supported Kosovo. Would anyone care to explain how this all fits together?
(With a better theory than mine, which is, Kerry likes to hear the applause, but knows it is BS.)
posted by: Tom Maguire on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
If details were missing from Kerry's outsourcing comments, couldn't it be because he was not reading a policy statement, but rather giving a motivational campaign speech?
Kerry's point about the sixties generation changing the world applies to the bigger goal behind his speech and the whole convention; to introduce John Kerry and to describe what drove him to become the man he is. Trying to understand how "this applies now" is pointless.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
“Now, I am reasonably certain Kerry supported Kosovo. Would anyone care to explain how this all fits together?”
It doesn’t. There is no rational way that one can reconcile John Kerry’s rhetoric with Bill Clinton’s decision to fight in the Balkans. I supported the former president in that military action---as I do President Bush in Iraq. We had to invade Iraq. Only a mentally challenged individual would claim otherwise. Saddam Hussein was violating the United Nations restrictions and all of the major spy organizations throughout the world thought that there were weapons of mass destruction. Based on the available evidence, the probability was that this was indeed the case. Iraq is the size of California and a thorough search can only be made by invading the country. Furthermore, we may still find the missing WMDs! There are many areas of Iraq that have yet to be searched. And if we don’t? The answer is very simple: it’s better to be safe than sorry. My argument seems air tight. Of course, anyone has the right to find holes in it? Let’s see if they can.posted by: David Thomson on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
...to say Kerry "hit it out of the park"would be over-estimating the speech to the omp degree..
Did John Kerry give a good enough speech? The proof will be in the pudding. By no later than Monday, the polling data should tell us one way or another. What do the swing voters think? That’s all that matters. The rest is mere abstract speculation.posted by: David Thomson on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I read his speech. (Listening to Kerry for an hour was less appealing than watching a mediocre Howard Keel movie on video.)
I agree with Andrew Sullivan -- what Kerry cares about is bringing the troops home, and somehow snookering Europe into "sharing the burden." Democracy in Iraq is just not a priority for the guy.
As I have said before, history will force Kerry's hand, and he will not be pulling troops out of Iraq before a decent regime is able to secure control. But there's no question his heart is in the wrong place on this issue.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I think we need a clever java writer to create a p-ticker with updated 'p' values from various bloggers. It can scroll across the top of your browser, sort of like this:
DeLg 0.91(-0.2) Drz 0.54(+0.6) Drm 0.88(nchd) Inst 0.17(-0.4)
Or maybe not.posted by: Independent George on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
What p-value would you give Kerry if he said:
"The conventional wisdom is that economic sanctions do not work in international affairs. If so, why do countries wield them so often? Paradoxically, countries will be most eager to use sanctions under conditions where they will produce the feeblest results. States anticipate frequent conflicts with adversaries, and are therefore more willing to use sanctions. However, precisely because they anticipate more conflicts, sanctioned states will not concede, despite the cost. Economic sanctions are thus far less likely to be effective between adversaries than between allies."posted by: praktike on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Delong at .91 and Drum at .88? I think they're each at .99... What's SLVN at?posted by: Al on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Well, Kosovo was prior to 9/11, when engaging in a full-scale war with multi-hundred-billion dollars costs did not mean you were sacrificing some other opportunity to capture, kill, and minimalize terrorists in another nation--say, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, or Iran. Kosovo was a military campaign that resulted in 0 casualties, a mini-hostage battle, a true NATO effort, and was carried out through an awesome display of coordinated air attacks, while Milosevic was captured within weeks. There, the war was fought within a matter of weeks and sizable insurgency and fighting did not continue for a year and a half--it was over. Personally, I find this line more credible than the hawks that now say Iraq was a moral obligation and that allowing Saddam Hussein to reign over his country and torture his people must be morally obtuse. In fact, these are the same "hawks" that opposed the Kosovo operation, where genocide was a word that was being used regularly. I'd question their positions on Rwanda as well.posted by: Neil Shah on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I love you guys who insist Kerry has to offer a detailed step-by-step powerpoint about what he'll do in Iraq.
And Bush's plan is . . . ?
Obviously at this point we're stuck with a "declare victory and get out" strategy whoever gets elected, but it's your boy who got us in this position.posted by: Brian on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Dan wrote: Funny, then, that his comments on outsourcing seemed completely simplistic and devoid of facts.
What were his "comments on outsourcing"? Did he "comment" on outsourcing?
All he said was:
We're told that outsourcing jobs is good for America. We're told that new jobs that pay $9,000 less than the jobs that have been lost is the best we can do. They say this is the best economy we've ever had. And they say that anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist. Well, here is our answer: There is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can't do better.
Let me paraphrase: If outsourcing leads to the replacement of one job with another that pays $9k less, then we should work hard on improving that situation.
Do you disagree?
And then he continued:
We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves and we can do it again.
Yes, that last sentence is simplistic. But it's not about outsourcing.
It seems to me that it's you who has a simplistic knee-jerk reaction to whenever Kerry uses the word "outsourcing" anywhere at all. You don't even listen to what he actually says anymore.
Then again, you also took that "fear of hell" piece of crap study seriously yesterday.
Now, I am reasonably certain Kerry supported Kosovo. Would anyone care to explain how this all fits together?
The charge in Kosovo was genocide. NATO intervened to prevent a Rwanda-like development.
An intervention in Sudan (Darfur) would seem justified at this point for similar reasons. Heck, if we weren't tied up in Iraq, we might have already sent troops there.
Of course, it shouldn't always have to come down to the US to act. Other countries should intervene in Sudan and not wait for us.
Kerry stands solidly for reaction and Bush solidly for pre-emption. That is your choice. Siding with Kerry is a rejection of pre-emption.
I see there aren't as many hawks around as they used to be. I can't say that I see how stopping judges from instituting gay marriage or not giving federal funding to stem cell research can possibly mean enough to anybody to dictate how tthey vote. Yet it seems to, so what do I know.posted by: Reg on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
If what was going on with the marsh arabs in Iraq wasn't genocide, what is? There was reason to intervene in Iraq on those grounds. that's the problem with the Farenheigt 9/11 crowd -- they choose to forget that Saddam wasn't just your garden variety brutal dictator.
Problem with Bush is not that Iraq wasn't justifiable, it's that Bush chose to justify it on dubious grounds, and then forgot to plan for the reconstruction. Going to war, for him, was more important than doing it right.
John Kerry pretending that he will be tougher on defense and protection of our country than Bush is like Don Knotts saying that he can kick Mike Tyson's ass.posted by: big booner on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Andrew Sullivan seems to be coming back down to earth, his reaction was exactly what mine was:
"No mention of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan. No mention of the terrorist forces that are amassed there. No reference to the elections scheduled for January. No mention of Iran. And the whole point is about process - about how to wage a war, not whether it should be waged. This is a man who clearly wants the U.S. out of the region where our future is at stake, and who believes that simply by taking office, other powers can somehow pick up the slack. Memo to Kerry: no other powers can pick up the slack. They don't have the troops or the technology or the will. His strategy is pure defense. This sentence is his strongest threat: "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." So let's wait, shall we?"
Exactly. The wavering are going to read into Kerry's speech whatever they need to, but the firm reality is that this was classic Kerry. The speech managed to say nothing but convey plenty.
Kerry mentioned 'terror','terrorism' or any derrivitive 5 times.
Kerry mentioned 'democracy' twice, neither time in context of Iraq or Afghanistan. Read what you want into it.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Wow, this must thrill the followers of Howard Dean. Are they aware of their marginalization? The Deaniacs represent at least one third of the Democratic Party. That's a lot of people who are being asked to shut up and go along with an economic program they find repugnant.
As a Deaniac, I must say that if Kerry's got Bob Rubin on his team, then that's one more reason to vote for him. Dean hammered about the need for fiscal responsibility time and time again during his campaign, and if Kerry's got Rubin on his side, then it's quite obvious that fiscal responsibility is going to be taken very seriously by the Kerry administration. Marginalized? Hell, the party moved over to us and I couldn't be happier.posted by: Trickster Paean on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
The problem for Kerry is that he has a record -- no matter what he says, he usually ends up taking the appeasement position.
In 1970, said that US forces should only be used when permitted by th UN. Uhh, 1970 was the cold war, with USSR and China having veto power... we could only react to communist aggression if the commies let us?
He purposely gave false testimony to congress about Vietnam, with the willful intent of sapping political support for a war that had already been won militarily.
He bought into the promise from Ortega that the Sandinistas would not make Nicarauga a Soviet outlier state if congress would not support the Contras. Two days after securing the deal, Ortega flew to Moscow to collect his $200 million aid package from the Soviets.
He voted against liberating Kuwait in 1991.
He now says that he would have voted against liberating Iraq too, but was tricked by Bush. We already know that he voted against the support and reconstruction money.
Kerry can say whatever he wants -- his record tells me that he's a habitual good-will appeaser along the lines of Carter, and will make America just as much of a joke.
If what was going on with the marsh arabs in Iraq wasn't genocide, what is
Oh come on. The killings in Kosovo were ACTUALLY HAPPENING when we intervened.
By contrast, the Iraqi Shiite (your 'marsh arabs') rebellion occurred in 1991, after Bush's father encouraged the Shiites to rebel and then sat idly by with half a million troops in Kuwait while Saddam smacked the Shiites down.
Are you really saying that, after sitting on our hands while the Shiite supression was actually happening in 1991, in 2003 there was suddenly an overwhelming necessity to run to their rescue twelve years too late?
The ex post facto justifications for this war get more bizarre every day.posted by: Night Owl on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
You said you weren't sure how someone would measure the extent of underfunding of nonproliferation initiatives, so i thought you'd like to see this:
"An estimated total of $1.043 billion has been asked for international non-proliferation programs in the Bush administration’s fiscal year 2005 (FY 05) budget request. While this sum barely meets the U.S. obligation of providing $1 billion a year to the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, it falls very short of the $3 billion a year called for by the 2001 Baker-Cutler report."
The Baker-Cutler report was bipartisan (Howard Baker, former republican senator). And it was before 9/11, when these threats seemed remote even to those who paid attention, so the $3 billion figure could only be higher if the report were issued today.
By comparison, Bush is requesting more than $10 Billion for next year's star wars programs when the threat of an ICBM is virtually nonexistant since basic deterrence principles mean only an incredibly suicidal leader/country would launch a weapon with a return address. But Bush spends ten times as much on that imaginary threat as he spends on what the Baker-Cutler report called 'the most urgent unmet national security threat the US."
Bush surely wants to be able to claim with great fanfare at his convention that he's developed a missile shield to protect us so he prioritized that over real threats. Politics over security. Irresponsible and shortsighted, but if all you care about is reelection, I guess it makes a perverse kind of sense.posted by: Chad DeChant on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Bush and Kerry have no real policy differences in the War on Terror. Kerry says he will engage the French and Germans. I doubt that that will actually happen. The French and Germans won't cooperate.
The real fight in this election is over the racial and sexual quota systems. This is where the candidates have a discernable difference.posted by: Stephen on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
"By comparison, Bush is requesting more than $10 Billion for next year's star wars programs when the threat of an ICBM is virtually nonexistant since basic deterrence principles mean only an incredibly suicidal leader/country would launch a weapon with a return address"
You're willing to stake San Francisco against a suicidal/lunatic/idiot ever taking power? I can think of a few historical examples.
Appalled Moderate: If what was going on with the marsh arabs in Iraq wasn't genocide, what is? There was reason to intervene in Iraq on those grounds
Well, yes, and I have actually said this myself in the past.
But we didn't intervene when it was happening, Bush didn't state this as the reason for the war (as you also observed) and Saddam was no longer engaged in genocide for all we could tell (whether that matters or whether a war to punish genocide retroactively is justified is a different question).
There are other countries higher up on the mean-dictator-genocide-intervention-necessity list. Just as there are other countries higher up on the terrorist-supporter list. Bush knew this, that's why he made it all about WMDs and imminent threats for us. (And I'm sure this will be the cue for David Thomson, Bithead et al. to come out and assure us it wasn't all about WMDs, because Bush did occasionally throw in other reasons; and it wasn't about an imminent threat, because Bush never said this and only let his press secretary confirm it.)
"There are other countries higher up on the mean-dictator-genocide-intervention-necessity list. Just as there are other countries higher up on the terrorist-supporter list."
Which ones did you support using force against?posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
"By contrast, the Iraqi Shiite (your 'marsh arabs') rebellion occurred in 1991"
You're mixing up your Arabs. Shiites and Marsh Arabs (Ma'dan) are two distinct groups. Husseins ethnic cleansing of the Marsh Arabs was an ongoing program for better than a decade, and that alone killed more muslims than were murdered in the Balkans. Ongoing starvation, relocation, expulsion, and flat out murder. They are not unique in this, Hussein almost certainly murdered more Iraqis in any given year in his common course than Milosovich ever did. I find this 'reinvisioning' of Husseins barbaric rule distateful, if not uncommon. The man was a butcher, the fact that he rarely matched him mass murder levels of the 80s and 90s (hundreds of thousands) in recent years ('just' tens of thousands) is an insane rationale for trying to make the guy look not quite so bad.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
While Neil Shah's "9/11 changed everything" argument might be quite telling in another context, it falls short as a defense of Kerry's inconsistency. For that purpose, it's not sufficient to show that Kosovo was different from Iraq; you'd have to show that Kosovo met the specific criterion laid down by Kerry ("We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.") And it doesn't. That Kerry referred to this position both as a "time-honored American tradition" and as a lesson he personally drew from Vietnam both militate against the idea that he justifies it with an eye to the special requirements of the War on Terror. Perhaps he should, but he doesn't.
Thank you for the link. I'm not sure it quite answers my question. Merely because it is funded at less than a past recommendation does not mean the program is "underfunded". You can always spend more on a program. But more results can not always be achieved in any given year, as there are limitations in regards to trained personnel and other non-monetary resources/limitations. I don't think $20 billion over 10 years compared with the $30 billion over 10 years (unless the report assumed international funding as well) represents a lack of priority funding-wise. I guess my question is: If the budget was increased by $1 billion for next year, would more get done? The answer isn't necessarily "yes". However, if it is, then I agree that $1 billion there is probably more worthwhile than in missile defense (assuming that a tradeoff between them must be made), although I am not as dubious as to the latter's value as you are.posted by: Michael Messina on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
" If NK decides to start selling nukes on the open market, how can we stop them if they can vaporize the west coast?"
What makes you think a missile defense system will prevent that?
What makes you think Bush's *intentionally untested* missile defense system will prevent that?
It's a potemkin shield, not a real defense.posted by: Jon H on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
"John Kerry pretending that he will be tougher on defense and protection of our country than Bush is like Don Knotts saying that he can kick Mike Tyson's ass."
You've got that backwards. Bush is the cringing, fumbling, coward from the sticks, not Kerry.
Bush is like any coward who talks tough, knowing he'll never have to back it up.posted by: Jon H on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Am I the only one to notice a curious lack of over-night polling? Maybe I just missed it.posted by: Aaron on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Was watching Kerry's speech on Fox. The Fox people cut to Rubin as Kerry mentioned outsourcing. Rubin looked to his left and I thought I detected a slight smirk. He certainly wasn't applauding with the rest of the crowd.posted by: LP on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
"What makes you think a missile defense system will prevent that?
What makes you think Bush's *intentionally untested* missile defense system will prevent that?"
First, the concept has worked before. The _threat_ of a missile defense causes the opposition to spend resources on potential countermeasures. NKs resources are very limited, hence every penny they spend ensuring they can penetrate our missile defense is a penny they arent spending on other nasty things. The Soviets fell into the same position. Secondly, claiming the defense will never be technologically feasible is a famous last words situation. Go look up what doubters said about every Cold War weapons system. People forget before GW1 countless critics claimed half our inventory was useless starting with the stealth fighters that led the attack. Famous last words.
posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
I'm not bothered to learn that Kerry supported Kosovo but now states he would require an immediate security threat to the US before committing troops. Our Kosovo intervention was a gift to the Euros, period. It was a fine and noble deed, but it was of next to no significance to our nation and such a circumstance-- a grave humanitarian crisis on European soil that can only be resolved through overwhelming US military intervention-- is unlikely to happen again.
What concerns me is whether either candidate has any clue as to how to handle Iran, or China, or a Saudi implosion, or Dr AG Khan. Clearly pre-emption is no longer available to Bush, so there's no difference between the two candidates there. And regardless who wins in November, our humint in the middle east will remain almost nonexistent for several years. Also, as long as Chirac is weak, it will be to his advantage to score cheap political points by frustrating any US president's efforts to pressure Iran.
I'm increasingly of the opinion that, in the foreign policy sphere, there's no longer much difference between the post-Iraq handoff Bush and the post-convention Kerry. Funny, but I might vote on domestic matters, mainly the deficit, after all.
Wouldn't be such a bad thing to go back to a Repub-controlled Hill and a Dem White House. Especially if vulnerability to foreign capital (namely Japanese-Chinese-Korean central banks) poses a huge risk to our economy and thus our national security. Perhaps we're not focused enough on the risk of a downward spiral of dollar weakness, Asian sales of Treasuries, reduced consumer purchasing power causing reduced US imports and therefore less Asian dollar holdings seeking Treasuries etc etc....
Why is John Kerry not going to have runaway spending? He can crater the economy by rolling back the tax cuts. At least at one point, he was committed to rolling them back, in total.
That will help to reduce tax receipts, as the economy and job growth will be slowed.
Next, he wants to add all these social spending programs. They have to be paid for, either by running up bigger deficits or by greatly raising taxes.
John Kerry's record doesn't give one much hope that he would be fiscally responsible. If you think that John Kerry saying that he will be fiscally responsible is enough, then you are welcome to vote for him.
You seem bound and determined to vote for John Kerry, so why pretend that there is any question about it. I assume that you are driven partly by the anti-Southern and anti-Evangelical Christian bias of the Upper Midwest, and partly by being "Social Liberal" (see yesterday's Wall Street Journal).posted by: Jim Bender on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
As with several others, Dan, I just don't get it. Kerry's criticism of Bush's having no plan to win the peace, whether it echoes what you have been saying or not, is a slogan without substance. Preparing for the aftermath of war a strategy must account for hundreds of different possibilities, including civil war and the sudden participation of unexpected countries. Once we absorb that thought, continuing the conventional criticism of Bush actually constitutes a claim to more military knowledge than either you or I have. We are left to rely on those we read, weighing our trust of their various arguments. On that score, the Bush critics haven't offered a lot (People died!). Oh yeah, and some nice retrospectives.
Are you really leaning toward Kerry, or just trying to make sure we know that Bush gets some things wrong?posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Missile shields aren't just for us, they are also for our allies, and are strategically crucial. Japan and S. Korea need solid defenses in order to neuter the N. Korean missile threat. Isreal needs one. We need one to protect against a retrograde Russia or a destabilized China, too.
Folks that think the push for missile shield is somehow indicative of poor leadership are self-identifying as strategic waterboys.
Dan, I think you should vote for sKerry. He says what you want to hear, but then again he says what any of his potential supporters want to hear. When you are on all side of the issue it is easy to be on the same side with your supporters.
sKerry says he is going to bring the allies together and then proceeds to tell all the allies that are assisting us in Iraq that they aren't there. He tells the Saudi's they are running our foreign policy which I guess will make them happy. So he has pretty much told the whole world, except for Germany and France that their contributions don't matter. He says outsourcing is bad and that pisses off countries that have trade with us. I guess he really is a uniter and not a divider.
As the gentleman said earlier, sKerry said he would respond to any attack on the US, funny isn't that what the Dems said President Bush did wrong? I thought he had the intel to stop that attack.
Yeah that sKerry, he is a uniter.posted by: Michael Mainello on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Don't kid yourself thinking that our intervention in Kosovo was purely humanitarian. Yes, I favored the intervention there as well as in Iraq. And yes, part of it was a recognition after the debacles of Rwanda and Bosnia that we had an obligation as the world's superpower to prevent genocide (although I think we do). There were also strategic explanations, some specific to the situation in Kosovo and some completely unrelated. With regards to the former, genocide creates a refugee crisis. Refugee crises usually implies spillover into neighboring countries. In Rwanda there was spillover into Congo which sparked additional crises that still continue today with Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and others, and just last month threatened to erupt into an all-out war between no less than 4 African nations. Now Africa is no example of peace and stability, but believe it or not, things could get worse there and we don't want that. Clinton didn't recognize that, and neither did the UN or the rest of the Western world. In the case of Kosovo it meant spillover into other EUROPEAN countries (hint: BAD). It doesn't matter whether they were the European powers or not, the very fact that this can be happening in Europe is beyond comprehension in our time. Furthermore, Greece is also sitting right next to Albania, and Greece IS one of the stronger European nations, not to mention a NATO member. Then, of course, there was the guilt trip from our royal screw up in Rwanda. If we let that happen again we'd have no credibility left at all. Finally, there was the matter of NATO. What was it's purpose in the post-Cold War? Was it obsolete? Was it time to wrap things up and disband the pact as the Warsaw Pact nations did? Some Western European countries thought so. The US, however, sure as hell wasn't going to let that happen. Not with EU economic power on the rise with France at the helm. The US would lose official input into all matters European. Clinton (wisely) was not going to let that happen. Fortunately for him, this Kosovo matter came along at an opportune time. It could have been any problem, and it was just extra luck that it happened to be happening IN Europe. Furthermore, when the issue came before the UN, the reluctance shown by China and Russia let Western officials insinuate that perhaps they weren't quite fully on our side yet, and therefore NATO was still relevant and necessary. Don't go fooling yourselves thinking Clinton was some great humanitarian. He did the right thing there (though I don't think he executed the war properly) but don't get it in your mind that he's a better person because of it since there "Was no US interest." There was, just not as direct a strategic interest as traditionally exists when going into war.
Furthermore, don't get it in your mind that Clinton was a great warrior because we got Milosevic. We got Saddam, but that doesnt mean everything is peachy with Iraq now. Kosovo isn't even CLOSE to peachy. And the way Clinton waged the war was all wrong. It epitomizes the basic US mantra on defense that began before Clinton but continued with great enthusiasm under his administration: that is the idea that a war can be won entirely with electronic toys ands gadgets. Sure, no US soldier was killed, but c'mon, we didn't do much in the war. There still hasn't been any satisfactory end to the war, it's still festering there. We got Milosevic, the media stopped covering it, so everyone assumed it was over. This reliance on technology over what Joe Klein calls "closework" (men on the ground) is exactly what's wrong with our intelligence system. You can only do so much with technology. Clinton failed in this area (as did Wesley Clark, which is why I could never see him as commander in chief) It's no coincidence that US military debacles (Somalia) and indecisive "victories" (Kosovo, Gulf I) have increased in proportion to the increase in the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs. And that's not a good thing. The Bush team realized this and compensated during the actual fighting, which was an impressive victory for the coalition. But it wasn't enough for the post-war nation building. Just imagine if Clinton or Clark were running the war. We'd be trying to fix Iraq with a couple of bombers while giving vague promises to the Iraqi gov't about when they'll get their country. (Kosovo still isn't an independent, autonomous country and the once-legitimate Rugova government has been completely marginalized within Kosovar society for not pushing for autonomy)posted by: Danny on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
Bush knew this, that's why he made it all about WMDs and imminent threats for us. (And I'm sure this will be the cue for David Thomson, Bithead et al. to come out and assure us it wasn't all about WMDs, because Bush did occasionally throw in other reasons; and it wasn't about an imminent threat, because Bush never said this and only let his press secretary confirm it.)
Perhaps you were unaware that Bush's first order as Predient was the elimination of AQ?
Rethink, and recalculate.posted by: Bithead on 07.29.04 at 11:31 PM [permalink]
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