Saturday, October 02, 2004

John Kerry: Wrong Every Time (for The Hugh Hewitt Virtual Symposium)

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UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt asks: "Did Kerry blunder in denouncing nuclear bunker busters? If so, why? If so, how great the damage to his candidacy?" Hugh would like any bloggers interested to post responses.

1. We'll start with the first question. Was it a blunder? I think so, but it I am unaware of any polling data on this subject. Maybe Kerry has some, and that's the vein of public concern or opposition he is trying to tap. Or maybe he was just feeling his oats in a debate he could sense was going well, and decided to hold forth on nuclear weapons. I have a hunch it was the latter.

2. Why was it a blunder? Because Kerry's newly announced opposition to any further nuclear weapons development shows his true dovish colors. Dovishness has not exactly been carrying the day lately; the entire drift of public opinion over the last 20 years has been in favor of deterrence of all kinds, and everyone pretty much acknowledges the success of Reagan-style "big sticks." As noted earlier, my favorite friendly heckler, Anonymous, takes exception to my argument. Here's why Anonymous is wrong:

3. How great the damage to Kerry's candidacy? I think it might be substantial, but it will not be immediate. Here's why:

*The American people are deeply concerned about nutty foreign dictators (Kim Jong Il, the Iranian Mullocracy) with nukes. Those nut cases need to know that they will not be able to hide in a super-secure location (like a bunker!) if they are ever foolish enough to use nukes against the U.S. or a U.S. ally. That's the thinking behind the bunker buster nuke. In the Cold War they called that a deterrent. This will resonate with Americans.

*In the Cold War, of course, John Kerry was for a nuclear freeze, just like he apparently is now. It will not take much to tie Kerry to that unpopular, unsuccessful, and now-discredited movement. This simply weakens him on the most important issue in this election-- national security. Fortunately Kerry's point of view did not prevail in the 1980's. With a nuclear freeze, the Soviet Union may well have been able to survive.

*Of course, the good Senator was opposed to the Gulf War in 1991 too. Even the French were involved then. In fact, Bush's father had a huge international coalition, including all of Europe, and had explicit U.N. Security Council approval for the war. Kerry still voted against it. What was his excuse then?

*Let's see, Kerry was against the nuclear buildup that beat the Soviets. He was against the Gulf War that threw Saddam out of Kuwait. And now he's against the Iraq War (at least I think he is; it's so hard to tell).

So in John Forbes Kerry's world: (1) the Soviets would probably still be in power, (2) Saddam would still be in power, and (3) Saddam would still be in Kuwait.

The point here is that all this is very revealing about John Kerry's foreign policy "vision." I do not think this helps him win the election in the current national security environment. That's why his anti-nuke rant was a huge blunder, whether it was spontaneous or planned. Will the negative impact be immediate? I think not. There will need to be some pounding on this and similar issues by the President in his stump speeches, by V.P. Cheney, by the Bush campaign generally, by its surrogates, and by conservative bloggers.

So let's all pound away!


4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm hurt actually to simply be called a heckler. Although if I am a heckler I'd like to think that you picture me like those two old men in the balcony on the muppets show shouting "amoeba" towards the stage. But if my fate is to simply be a heckler, let me do some heckling. You have stated previously:

"I don't know if you were around and of draftable age during the Vietnam War (I was), but there was a lot of behavior that went in that era that is impossible to understand unless you "were there." Most of us who faced those issues have a kind of pact among ourselves that whatever decisions people made then about serving are now part of the past."

Now the last person drafted in this country was inducted on June 30, 1973. Let's assume for the moment that this person was drafted the first day he was required to register, that would make him 49 plus years old today. The heckler doesn't think you look a day over 49. And even in that last year of the draft only 646 people were drafted. So unless you are at least 50 I'd have to say that your comments about a "pact" are a bit of revisionist history and/or memory enhacement to add some credibility to your minimalism of the Bush National Guard record. By the way, I don't for a minute believe that Bush didn't take that physical because he wanted to avoid serving a few more weekends. I think he didn't want the urine test to show what type of "substances" he was ingesting on a frequent basis.

Now that is heckling. Post your birth date and I'll let you know who I am.

Saturday, October 02, 2004 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

October 21, 1954. I needed to be 2-4 years younger to really be in the thick of things, but I had a draft lottery number (over 300), and turned 18 in 1972. By then they weren't sending people to Vietnam, even those drafted. All my friends, my brother, my friends' brothers, and just about every male I went to church with and was in Boy Scouts with, etc., were subject to the draft. One enlisted and joined the Special Forces. One got into the National Guard. One was in ROTC. We were all talking about what we would do about the draft. Everyone my age was doing that. The discussion became much more academic as Nixon's "Vietnamization" took hold, but it was part of everyone's life. I think you know this. So that is the background from which I speak.

Nowadays, when I talk with my friends about those days, no one criticizes anyone for choosing the National Guard, or ROTC, or whatver they did (except taking off to Canada). So that's what I mean when I talk about the "pact" among people of that era.

By the way, Bush signed up to be a fighter pilot in the Guard. The guys I knoew who got into the Guard beame welders or language specialists or disaster relief specialists, or something along those lines. I think asking to fly jets is an order of magnitude higher on the scale of gutsy things to do. I also understand that the number of men signing up to fly jets was so low that Bush did not need any special influence to get into the Texas Air National Guard. That actually sounds reasonable to me and seems to demand a rebuttal of some sort.

I'm a little fuzzy on what your point is? I have a hunch I know you, so no hard feelings. I actually enjoy the debate.

Sunday, October 03, 2004 8:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does a certain potato chip magnate come to mind when you read my occasional attacks on your posts here? Someone has to interrupt this little Bushfest you've got going over here with reality and if I have the time I feel I "owe it to you".

Sunday, October 03, 2004 8:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, heckle away. I put some new code into my comments function that allows anyone to post without having to be either anonymous or registered with Blogger. So you can give yourself whatever name you want. But I like Chip. 

Posted by Hedgehog

Monday, October 04, 2004 6:32:00 AM  

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