Kerry's Attempt to Finesse Iraq Issue May Backfire -- More on Kerry's dumb "Yes" answer
On the 8-10-04 post below appears: "Kerry said what about Iraq? -- Be careful here Senator" concerning the headline "Kerry says Bush was right to invade Iraq." The post predicts that "We will hear more about this Kerry "yes" between now and November than his earlier I did but I didn't."
Frankly, I was then and remain in shock that this was the response. Maybe there was some purpose in the response that was going over my head, that I was missing. I mean after all, it wasn't like the Senator responded to a question at a news conference that he had no clue was coming.
[The post goes onto to quote a New York Times article that says the call on his answer was made by Kerry himself. I conclude the post with the following:]
I once heard a joke about a guy praying to the good Lord that he win the lottery. After much prayer, he heard a deep voice from above saying "Help me here, buy a ticket."
Senator Kerry, help us here. Buy some advice; listen to some advice; do something.
Back to the Washington Post article. It notes:
President Bush's rationale for war in Iraq continues to crumble, but it seems that Sen. John F. Kerry has his own war problem.
While the effort to tar Kerry's Vietnam record has not been a positive development for the Democrat, it has obscured media coverage over a more current subject -- Kerry's position on the conflict in Iraq.
In case you missed it, Bush forced Kerry into a corner earlier this month by demanding he answer a simple yes-or-no question: "Knowing what we know now [would Kerry] have supported going into Iraq?"
If Kerry answered no, then the Bush campaign would take the sound bite and make the argument that Saddam Hussein would still be in power if Kerry had been president. If Kerry answered yes, they would argue that his position was essentially the same as Bush's position and that his criticism of the president's Iraq policy was hypocritical.
[Well, it was not that limited. The prior post notes:
Mr. Kerry's answer is being second-guessed among his supporters, some of whom argued that he should have been more wary of the trap.
"I wish he had simply said no president in his right mind would ask the Senate to go to war against a country that didn't have weapons that pose an imminent threat," said one of Mr. Kerry's Congressional colleagues and occasional advisers.
Oh, well, that's behind us. The Washington Post writer continues:]
"After months of attacking President Bush's motives and credibility during the Democrat presidential primary, going so far as to declare himself the anti-war candidate, John Kerry now says knowing what he knows now he would still have voted for the Iraq war," said Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie at a news conference this week. "Senator Kerry's ever changing positions on Iraq are not the kind of steady leadership we need in these times of challenge and change. And we're going to continue to make that point between now and November 2."
Whatever the case, Kerry's position on Iraq is similar enough to Bush's to make the most important issue for most voters a non-issue. This might help Kerry with some independent voters in key battleground states, but a question remains over just how fired up the party's base will be able to get for a candidate who has an almost indistinguishable foreign policy from that of a president they strongly dislike.
Kerry's unwillingness to disavow his vote for the war has meant that he also hasn't been able to take advantage of dissent from some in the president's party. More and more members of Congress -- including conservative Rep. Doug Bereuter, a Republican from Nebraska -- say that they wouldn't have voted for the war if they knew then what they know now.