Where do I begin?
The first debate between Bush and Kerry was basically a wash, I think. Kerry certainly slapped a “new and improved” label on himself, trying to make people forget about his past indecision. He looked more polished than the President, which should surprise no one.
However, this is not a Yale Debating Society tournament. The outcome of this competition actually matters – the future of America is at stake, not to mention the future of a free Iraq and a free Afghanistan. Everyone, including those who support Kerry, know where President Bush stands on ever issue (especially those involving our national security, both at home and abroad). Although Kerry has apparently decided where he stands on the war on terror, he has only done so about a month before the election!
Some notable points:
- I think the President was very effective in arguing that John Kerry cannot be the Commander-in-Chief and bring allies back to the table at the same time that he makes statements like, “the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time” and “[the war] is a grand diversion.” How can American troops follow someone like that? How could our allies engage in something that Kerry calls a grand diversion?
- Some of the talking heads on TV are making an issue of the President’s “reactions” during the debate. Kerry’s minions are saying the President appeared arrogant, annoyed, and aloof at various times during the debate. Democrats will reportedly even release a video of these expressions. Having watched the entire debate very closely, I think the President’s reactions were minimal, and well within the acceptable range of how you might expect a person to react. He clearly feels very strongly about issues of national and homeland security. It’s probably worth remembering that Al Gore’s reactions and expressions were several orders of magnitude more obnoxious than what we saw from the President last night. Not only did he sigh very loudly and actually roll his eyes, but he even interrupted then-candidate Bush several times with statements like (insert snotty tone) “that’s not true!” Let’s keep this in perspective.
I thought this was one of the best exchanges of the debate:
LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry.
What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?
KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.
No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.
But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test….
President Bush’s response was right on target:
BUSH: Let me — I’m not exactly sure what you mean, “passes the global test,” you take preemptive action if you pass a global test.
My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure.
This shows Kerry’s true internationalist colors. How much is enough? 12 years and 17 UN resolutions apparently do NOT pass the “global test” for Kerry. Kerry also said that we have to earn the respect of the United Nations. Quite frankly, I’m not sure we should respect the U.N. after what has been revealed about the corruption between the U.N., France, and Germany in the administration of the oil for food program. As the world’s only superpower, we don’t have to earn anything from the U.N.
This brings me to Kerry’s four point plan for winning in Iraq:
1. Internationalize – bringing more countries to the table.
Again, he is disrespectful to our TRUE allies by saying their contributions both during and after major combat operations are not enough. John Kerry expects to solve all the problems in Iraq by convening a summit. I hate to break it to him, but a bunch of diplomats sitting around a table is not going to make things better. These discussions are currently happening, anyway.
2. Training Iraqi security forces
As the President stated, this is happening already – over 100,000 soldiers and police officers have been trained to date, with an additional 25,000 planned by the end of 2004.
3. Redesigning the reconstruction program
Kerry apparently wants reconstruction efforts to go faster. He wants U.S. officials to “cut through the red tape.” I seriously doubt the Senator is capable of cutting through red tape, or even cutting anything at all, unless it relates to the intelligence budget or military equipment funding.
4. Hold elections next year
The President has repeatedly stated that elections in Iraq will take place in January, regardless of terrorist actions.
In summary, Senator Kerry’s four point plan has nothing new in it. The administrations is presently doing all these things, but Kerry somehow thinks he can do everything “better” without actually specifying HOW he would do so.
In the end, what should voters look at to decide who can best lead this country for the next four years? John Kerry may have looked good at the debate, but there’s one thing he cannot run away from or change: his twenty-year voting record in the Senate that is filled with inconsistency, and being wrong on the issues. I found it amazing that he referred to such conservatives as Ronald Reagan and even George Will during the debate – he actually said “I believe that Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, and the others did that more effectively, and I’m going to try to follow in their footsteps,” speaking about rebuilding our alliances.
Voters should beware: Kerry was constantly against President Reagan’s strategy for winning the cold war, and now he is telling us during the last month of a Presidential campaign that he’ll follow in the footsteps of President Reagan.