Friday, October 15, 2004

The Man Who Was Unchanged

A number of people have commented on the division 9/11 created in the country. For many of us, it was a wake-up call, a tragic refutation of the idea that we had reached "the end of history", that the post cold-war era was going to be one long party.

For others, the events of 9/11, while tragic, had no special significance; there was no reason to change how we lived our lives or how we looked at the world. No reason for the Patriot act at home or to reassess who our allies truly were in the world.

The October 10th issue of the New York Times Magazine carried an interview with Senator Kerry on foreign policy by Matt Bai. The story mainly garnered attention for Kerry's quote that our goal should be to reduce terrorism to "a nuisance" and for his analogies of terrorism to prostitution and gambling.

Yesterday, in the LA Times, Max Boot wrote about the root cause of those comments: The Man Who Was Unchanged:
Kerry is offering Clinton redux. This focus on diplomacy and law enforcement, on treating Al Qaeda as if it were the Medellin drug cartel, may have been a plausible posture in the 1990s, when terrorism appeared to be a low-level nuisance. But 9/11 changed everything. Now we know that the jihadists would gladly incinerate one of our cities if they could get their hands on a nuclear bomb and they won't be deterred by the prospect of being arrested afterward.
Boot admits to being a "one-issue voter". I think many of us are in the same boat. We may argue about whether we should be cutting taxes or increasing domestic spending (or both, as Bush has done) but, in the end, we're going to vote for the candidate we think will best handle the War on Terror.

This doesn't have to mean a Republican. There's a long list of Democrats who stood up and fought against America's enemies during the Cold War. However, as Zell Miller has pointed out, those days seem long gone. Senator Lieberman, the one Democrat who looked happy when we captured Saddam, was probably the only presidential hopeful who might have fit the bill. Unfortunately, he had about as much chance of capturing his party's nomination as he had of being elected Prime Minister of Iraq. With the nomination out of the way, and the need to triangulate back to the center for the general election pressing, Kerry's been trying to shore up his credentials:
John F. Kerry has been doing a credible imitation of a Lieberman-type New Democrat. In the debates, he has sounded tough and focused. He promises not to give a veto to the United Nations over our security and not to wimp out on preemptive action. That's reassuring. Maybe, I've been starting to think, this guy wouldn't be so bad.
The comments in the Times Magazine have blown his cover:
Bush gets it; he was transformed by 9/11. His policy implementation has been shaky, to say the least, but at least he has shown a sense of urgency in combating terrorism and weapons proliferation that was missing in the 1990s. Kerry claims a similar sense of purpose, but he told the Times that the attacks on America "didn't change me much at all." That's a lot scarier than having a president who's clueless about "the Internets."
Commentary on Kerry's Times Magazine Interview

Blogs For Bush

John Kerry is not a bad or unpatriotic man. He simply is wired to not understand the terrorist threat we face today and has congenital inability to act as firmly as a Commander-in-Chief must. This is the Hamlet-like portrait we get from The New York Times Magazine's lengthy piece on Kerry last weekend.

Hugh Hewitt

Kerry's "this is not the sands of Iwo Jima" line continues to amaze me. Perhaps he's been fixated on Iwo Jima since the cover of New Soldier came out, Kerry's anti-war book with a staged anti-Iwo Jima Memorial cover shot including an upside down American flag.
The Kerry Spot

I am sure the New York Times did not set out to torpedo the Kerry candidacy when it published Sunday's New York Times Magazine article on his views on the war on terror.
And yet, reading it, part of me wonders if this article - and the ads that have resulted from it - will mark a turning point in the final month of the race.


Past Posts on how 9/11 changed everything

Stongmen and Banana Republics
9/11 Remembered
America at War - Down the Rabbit-Hole
America at War - The 9/10 Democrats
America at War - Blixful Amnesia
America at War