The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kerry's response to the Bush speech

I was really impressed with Kerry's rejoinder to speech Bush gave this morning, and I'm glad to see that this is the part getting most attention from the press:

"This debate is not about an artificial date for withdrawal," Kerry said. He said a Nov. 15 Senate resolution, which called on the administration to hasten an eventual U.S. pullout by turning over more control to Iraqis, did not advocate "an artificial date for withdrawal" but sought to "set an estimated timetable for success which will permit the withdrawal of our troops." The resolution, which passed 79 to 19, said 2006 should be "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty," creating conditions for "the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq."

"No one has ever suggested or believes that we should run in the face of car bombers or assassins," Kerry said, referring to a passage in Bush's speech. "No one is talking about running in the face of a challenge. We're talking about how to win, how to succeed, how do you best achieve our goals? That's the choice here. And what the president did not do today again is acknowledge the fundamental reality of the insurgency."

Perfect. Rather than being weak-kneed or conciliatory, Kerry turns the tables and points out that Bush's argument is a total red herring. Instead of making an actual proposal, Bush was sloganeering. Bush didn't have a plan, he just chose to fabricate a bogus argument and manufacture talking points.

Kerry seems to have learned-- probably too late-- the lesson that Gore took away from 2000 and Kerry himself had to face over the Swift Boat attacks. Namely, that although the press is eager to give Dems a pasting for any perceived insincerity, the public responds to a man willing to stick up for his principles and be a fighter.

He wants the nomination in a big way, but he's got a long way to go to be a contender with his image already cast as a waffler and opportunist. Fair? Not really. But that's the way it is. And as much as he wants the nomination, there are a lot of other Dems who are eager to get it as well.