Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 22, 2004
POLITICS: Then Again, Don't Bring It On

John Kerry hasn't even sewn up the Democratic nomination, and already he's complaining that he can't handle criticism from President Bush and Republicans on his national security record and his actions after Vietnam. Of course, the hypocrisy of Kerry wanting to take Vietnam off the table after making it part of his answer to nearly every question is mind-bending, like if Howard Dean had suddenly claimed that the Iraq war shouldn't be a political issue. So much for "BRING IT ON!"

Me, I prefer Jonah Goldberg's approach. And come to think of it, so did Kerry's surrogates not so long ago.

UPDATE: Kaus catches an even more egregious attempt by Kerry to bully his opponents into silence:

Kerry responds:``I don't know what it is about what these Republicans who didn't serve in any war have against those of us who are Democrats who did."
Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Yeah, Kerry’s new tactic seems to be to hide behind Max Cleland:

How many times are people going to have to point out that prior military service is entirely admirable but it does not provide lifetime sovereign immunity against criticism of your record on current national security issues?

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at February 22, 2004 9:41 AM

Interesting. I read the article you link to and I can't for the life of me see how you can interpret Kerry's remarks as evidence that "he can't handle criticism from . . . Bush." He's simply answering some Bush criticisms. Fairly normal, it seems to me.

Could it be that the Bushies finally realize that their man stands a great chance of being beaten? Could they be emerging from their self-congratulatory cocoon of the last three years to learn that most of American doesn't agree with Bush policies domestically, and many now think he plays fast and loose with the truth?

Posted by: Brian at February 22, 2004 4:03 PM

Kerry's just presenting a whine about Bush raising the issues, rather than actually dealing with them. He certainly doesn't sound like a guy who actually wants a debate on the subject.

Posted by: The Crank at February 22, 2004 5:56 PM

He's not even whining about Bush raising issues. It's a classic strawman argument. No one's questioned his patriotism or his military service. In fact, I think Republicans have acknowledged it, without denegrating it. (Most of them, anyway)

Questioning a voting record is legitimate. If Kerry has a problem with that, he can explain why he voted the way he did, without resorting to thinly-veiled counter attacks and arguments.

Posted by: Chris at February 23, 2004 9:31 AM

Kerry challanges Bush to debate their Viet Nam experiences....but the Crank hardly thinks he sounds like a guy who wants to debate the subject?

I'll tell you what Kerry's doing, he's preempting Bush. Kerry's peace activities after the war WERE going to be attacked by the RNC while they trumpeted Bush's flyboy outfit.

Now it is more difficult for the RNC to legitimately attack Kerry's post combat actions, and Bush on the carrier has the ability to be parodied like Dukakis in the tank.

Conservatives have gained strength and vigor via the aggressive strategies they've used over the last ten years. It seems they're a bit stunned at being preempted this time.

Posted by: C Giddy at February 23, 2004 12:15 PM

PS - Kerry has also admitted to not only smoking pot, but also enjoying it, upon his return from combat.

When do you guys think the GOP'll make a big to do about that?

Hah! You're absolutely right! Hardly likely to happen! Or to at least gain traction. And its not because they're above it all, its because their own guy's got his own skeletons in the closet that he doesn't want to revisit. If the GOP opens this door, Bush's party days are fair game once again.

PPS - Always thought Clinton was a spank for saying he smoked but didn't inhale.

Posted by: C Giddy at February 23, 2004 3:26 PM

I'm with you, C Giddy.

I don't agree with many of Kerry's strategies, and I don't find this one admirable or inspiring, but I think this course has proven successful thusfar. It certainly seems to have Bush & the RNC off balance and on unfamiliar ground.

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 25, 2004 12:36 PM
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