David Brooks makes a good point: It is to John Kerry’s advantage that the Swifties show their ad wherein Kerry’s words (and images) from the 1971 Senate Foreign Relations Committee are shown because that ad reveals that Kerry had an opinion matched to a passion. He is shown as a conviction politician. Alas, that hasn’t been true since. "Kerry’s speeches in the 1990’s read nothing like that 1971 testimony. The passion is gone. The pompous prevaricator is in. You read them and you see a man so cautiously calculating not to put a foot wrong that he envelops himself in a fog of caveats and equivocations. You see a man losing the ability to think like a normal human being and starting instead to think like an embassy.
Tough decisions are evaded through the construction of pointless distinctions. Hard questions are verbosely straddled. Kerry issued statements endorsing the use of force in the Balkans so full of backdoor caveats you couldn’t tell if he was coming or going. He delivered a tough-sounding speech on urban poverty filled with escape clauses he then exploited when the criticism came.
Most people take a certain pride in their own opinions. They feel attached to them as part of who they are. But Kerry can be coldly detached from his views, willing to use, flip or hide them depending on the exigencies of the moment."
Joshua Muravchik walks us through Kerry’s Cambodia whopper, and reminds us that this is something he has repated his whole adult life, yet it was not true. John O’Sullivan explains that the Swifties are after him because of his testimony is 1971, and that is not something Kerry can hide from; it’s on film and it’s not a re-enactment.
Rich Lowry says that Kerry is taking an enourmous risk calling the Swifties liars; this is a civil war between Vietnam vets, and the vast majority of vets are not going to forgive him for what he said and did in 1971.
Jeff Jacoby says that the media want Kerry to win: "what is true for most people is true for journalists, too: When you want something badly enough, it shows." Mark Steyn adds a few thoughts of his own on how Kerry told everyone to "bring it on!" and now he is demanding that it be called off. I like these lines: "I said a couple of weeks back that John Kerry was too strange to be President, and a week or two earlier that he was too stuck-up to be President. Since I’m on an alliterative roll, let me add that he’s too stupid to be President. What sort of idiot would make the centrepiece of his presidential campaign four months of proud service in a war he’s best known for opposing?" Chris Lynch chronicles how not to run a campaign.
He may not be the EMOTIONAL conviction politican that he was (but that was necessary to launch his career in politics -- and wasnt so necessary by the 1990s), but just look at his Senate votes and you see that yes, hes remained a conviction politician -- and on foreign policy, always has seemed to be supporting the wrong party (in most cases, what conservatives would call the enemy). Kerry is an opportunist, yes, and will mold specific policy stances and rhetoric to fit the moment, but he remains a reliable liberal. That he is a self-serving one ought not to have so confounded Brooks.