Monday, October 18, 2004

The Wrong Man at the Wrong Time

Hugh Hewitt asks: Why vote for Bush and what’s wrong with Kerry?

John Kerry is half-right in one sense. This is a single-issue election about getting more of the same. Based on experience, you can reasonably expect that a re-elected Bush will renew the foreign and domestic policy goals he pursued in his first term. His campaign has been a continuation of his record of four years. With Bush, what you see is what you get.

Kerry’s campaign has been a string of unresolved inconsistencies alternately true to and at odds with his twenty-year record of raising taxes while undercutting national defense. Based on experience, you can reasonably expect that a President Kerry will be both liberal and inconsistent, i.e. more of the same. With Kerry, you can believe his election year promises or you can believe your lying eyes.

The single issue for Bush supporters is that we must win the war on terror now. The single issue for Kerry supporters is that we must replace George W. Bush with a Democrat now. There are a slew of other issues of varying degrees of import in the national campaigns and on ballots throughout the land. But they all add up to a hill of ash when a jihadist drops a dirty bomb on your neighborhood.

John Kerry told New York Times Magazine that 9/11 did not change him, his approach to terrorism or his opinion that it is a containable "nuisance," implying that a certain level of terrorism is acceptable. His chief advisors are holdovers from the Clinton administration, which portends that the Kerry years could be 1998-2000 all over again. You may recall that Clinton, in response to terrorist attacks on our interests abroad, authorized missile strikes, got gun shy after a few setbacks and then kicked the can down the road.

There is nothing in Kerry’s record, policies or character that suggests he is prepared to ride out the inevitable setbacks in the war on terror. When President Kerry gets spooked and calls a time-out, we already know the terrorists won’t take their balls and go home. If you don’t think that’s a likely outcome, just ask the anti-war voters why Kerry’s their guy.

Kerry would like to redefine Bush’s gritty resoluteness as inflexible stubbornness and his consistency as a lack of nuance, but those are the two qualities that reassure Americans no terrorist can rest easy on Bush’s watch. When your home and family are under assault, you don’t want the police officer that comes to your door to be a weak-kneed braggart who boasts about his honors at the Academy to compensate for his lack of accomplishment since. You want an experienced cop who will apprehend the bad guys and make sure they never threaten your safety again.

If you want to know which candidate the terrorists fear, just watch what they do in these final days to influence our election like they did in Spain. My hunch is that they gave a free pass to Afghanistan and Australia for a bigger payoff in Iraq or here, if they can pull it off. As valuable as the coalition support has been, John Howard and Tony Blair cannot wage this war successfully without our full commitment and our enemies know it. If we lose this battle and Kerry wins the election, the costs of recovering later will be much greater than 9/11.

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