John Leo’s recent column begins this way:
On his popular blog, Andrew Sullivan made this case for John Kerry: “9/11 has changed things—even within the Democratic Party”; the war on terror “has to be a bipartisan affair”; Kerry clearly says he won’t relent in that war; electing Kerry “would deny the Deaniac-Mooreish wing a perpetual chance to whine and pretend that we are not threatened.” These are serious arguments.
“9/11 has changed things—even within the Democratic Party”
While it’s fair to say that the September 11th attacks changed some Democrats, my sense is that they did little to change the Democratic Party, at least in the way Sullivan or Leo mean. There is a difference between being shocked and being changed. The Left, like the Right, was shocked. They fell in line behind the President for a time, but when the shock wore off, they rapidly returned to form. Liberal philosophy is alive and well. Democrats still don’t take the threat of terrorism seriously. As far as they are concerned, this was nothing more than a global drive-by shooting. You find the guys that did it, pronounce the “crime” solved, then wait for the next one. This isn’t change. This isn’t understanding. It’s an old way of looking at a new world.
To the extent the Party has changed, the movement has been in the other direction. The far Left have been emboldened. The tempered voice of people like Joe Liebermann can no longer be heard above the rants of Howard Dean, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, and the Democratic masses that embraced “Fahrenheit 9/11” as “fair and factually based.” If they have “seen the light” it is merely the light of the moon at which they bay.
“The war on terror has to be a bipartisan affair”
Democrats are not going to support the Bush Doctrine. They have an entirely different philosophy on what the threat is and what should be done about it. To say that the effort needs to be bipartisan is to say that the Bush Doctrine is to be abandoned. If that happens, this war will take much longer and will cost many more lives. This war, like the Cold War, will be won in spite of liberal philosophy, not because of it. Americans have a choice: they can reelect a proactive president who will keep the pressure on the terrorists, or they can play kick the can until the problem grows larger and more deadly—and then elect another proactive president to resume the fight in earnestness.
“Kerry clearly says he won’t relent in that war”
In all seriousness, what does what Kerry says have to do with anything? Even his proponents can’t reconcile all the statements he’s made about the war. What matters is what Kerry is going to do, and the best indicator of that is what he’s done in the past. Over his 30-year Senate career, we’ve seen Kerry support fascist dictators over U.S. interests. He held unauthorized meetings with the enemy in conflicts like Vietnam and Nicaragua. He favored cutting weapons systems and intelligence funding throughout the Cold War. He even voted against the first Gulf War, despite it’s passing the “global test.”
Now recall that Kerry said in a recent interview that the September 11th attacks “didn’t change me much at all,” and that his advisors are on record as saying we are not in an actual war on terror. Just last January, Kerry declared that the terrorist threat has been exaggerated. It’s simply foolish to believe that John Kerry will execute the war with the same verve and resolve as Bush.
“Electing Kerry would deny the Deaniac-Mooreish wing a perpetual chance to whine and pretend that we are not threatened.”
This is perhaps the most absurd argument of all. A Kerry victory will simply encourage the far left wing of the Democratic Party. They will take a Kerry victory as validation of both their extreme beliefs and their vile tactics. They will claim credit for electing an inferior candidate and take it as a mandate for their practices. More moderate Democrats will be heard, of course. But come next election, precedence and pragmaticism will rule the day and we will see far worse than we’ve seen in this election.