Joe Gandleman sent me to this post, which inspired this train of thought which I put (in slightly different form) in the comments:
I'm not sure Kerry's message on Iraq is clear, as Ara claims.
For me, Kerry has two problems. The first is that he doesn't want to commit to a stance and thereby lose votes.
I talked to one of the conductors on Kerry's campaign train who talked to Kerry for about a half-hour. He said:
1) After a little initial stiffness, Kerry warmed up and, in fact, you could drink a beer with him.
2) Kerry had a good understanding of the Amtrak problems. (What else would a conductor talk about?)
3) Kerry was highly critical of Norman Mineta's (the Bush Administration) approach.
4) Kerry would not say what he would do differently, even when asked repeatedly.
As for the second, maybe Kerry is being sound-bitten to death, but he can't seem to manage his message. Given the sound bites, he certainly seems to have changed his mind several times by now. Or maybe the problem is that the Democratic party is still horribly split on Iraq.
It sounds like Kerry's focus is on "bringing the boys home." Bush's focus is on victory. My desire is for victory followed by a nice long cooperative security arrangement with Iraq like we've had with Germany and Japan.
Frankly, Kerry seems to be replaying Vietnam, the Contras and the Cold-War. And he sounds like he wants to make all the same mistakes in Iraq that he made during the Cold War. When is Kerry going to support freedom and liberty? When will he embrace the historic Democratic emphasis on human rights and freedom, for which America will spend both blood and lots of treasure? My examples are Roosevelt (anti-Nazism, anti-colonialism), Truman, Kennedy and Johnson (anti-Nazism, anti-Communism), and Carter (anti-Shah, anti-Communism). Remember, Carter started the big defense buildup that Kerry ran against in 1984. Kerry complains about the 200 billion dollar cost which pales in comparison to Truman's Marshall plan. It pales in comparison to Carter's defense buildup.
I've left out Clinton, not because he wouldn't have spent both blood and lots of treasure, but because, although he did have the chance, he didn't have the necessary wake up call.
I don't want the US to become France or Germany (feeble military, lots of diplomats, plenty of money to buy votes). How horribly decadent. The Kerry trend is not my friend.
The Bush foreign policy is more like those of all the Democratic Presidents I mentioned than Kerry's. When will Kerry get fired up and champion the muscular, involved, proactive America of his Democratic forebears?
I'm looking for, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Nice soundbite! Or maybe, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." Instead I get whining which boils down to "How come we have to pay all the money and make all the sacrifices?" All over a war which is actually low-cost (historically speaking) in both blood and treasure.
Why can't I get a Cult of Personality, here, instead this long-faced dolorous nuance master?