Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Kerry’s fix

There is much talk in the Kerry camp about what should be done. Massive confusion rules the day. Whatever confidence they had a month ago, has dissapeared. They now know that if the election turns on the war, Kerry can’t win (unless, as I have always maintained, Iraq falls into a civil war); his attempt to have his convention showcase his record and heroism in Vietnam--to make him acceptable as commnder in chief-- didn’t work. They are now thinking about 1) either focusing all their attention on domestic policies, especially the economy; 2) having Kerry replace Howard Dean the anti-war candidate and call for an immediate troop pullout from Iraq; 3) or, somehow combining #’s 1 and 2 by not only being critical of Bush’s Iraq policy (especially post-war), but by trying to show that Bush’s war on terror has suffered because of Iraq. This is the only possible route; number 1 and 2 will not work. Stuart Rothenberg sees something of the problem and thinks that Kerry has to emphasize domestic issues. "He still has to argue that he has a record that shows he can protect this country. But for a while, it’s been nothing but that. They have to get back to their strengths. If the election is about the war and terrorism and Bush’s leadership, John Kerry is going to lose." Adam Naguerney’s report in today’s New York Times indicates something of this problem; he interviewed many Democrats (Graham, Rendell, Dodd, et al) and the comments are revealing; all of them, one way or another state that Kerry has lost control of the ball, he has to get tough, etc. I thought Graham’s remark was especially insightful: "It’s become a referendum on the challenger." Some fix.

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