Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, March 18, 2004  

From out of his spider hole, Dick goes on the attack:

In one of Senator Kerry's recent observations about foreign policy, he informed his listeners that his ideas have gained strong support, at least among unnamed foreigners he's been spending time with. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry said that he has met with foreign leaders, and I quote, " who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that." End quote.

A few days ago in Pennsylvania, a voter asked Senator Kerry directly who these foreign leaders are. Senator Kerry said, "That's none of your business." (Laughter.) But it is our business when a candidate for President claims the political endorsement of foreign leaders. At the very least, we have a right to know what he is saying to foreign leaders that makes them so supportive of his candidacy. American voters are the ones charged with determining the outcome of this election - not unnamed foreign leaders. (Applause.)

What's interesting here--well, there's so much, but anyway the most interesting--is how Cheney's echo chamber has deadened his ears to irony. This is the Veep of the President who looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and saw him as a kindred spirit. A Veep who has spent three years in hiding, trying to avoid releasing information about his own secret dealings. Secret dealings that, of course, directly affected US domestic and foreign policy.

What follows in the Cheney remarks are 1200 words of anti-Kerry rhetoric. As I wrote yesterday, they are textbook examples of fear mongering. The Bush team is prepared to pull out all the stops to call Kerry a traitorous, cowardly fool. It's harsh, harsh stuff.

Even if we set aside these inconsistencies and changing rationales, at least this much is clear: Had the decision belonged to Senator Kerry, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, today, in Iraq. In fact, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly still be in control of Kuwait. (Laughter.) ...

If such dismissive terms are the vernacular of the golden age of diplomacy Senator Kerry promises, we are left to wonder which nations would care to join any future coalition. He speaks as if only those who openly oppose America's objectives have a chance of earning his respect....

On national security, the Senator has shown at least one measure of consistency. Over the years, he has repeatedly voted against weapons systems for the military. He voted against the Apache helicopter, against the Tomahawk cruise missile, against even the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He has also been a reliable vote against military pay increases - opposing them no fewer than 12 times....

Whatever the explanation, whatever nuances he might fault us for neglecting, it is not an impressive record for someone who aspires to become Commander-in-Chief in this time of testing for our country. In his years in Washington, Senator Kerry has been one vote of a hundred in the United States Senate - and fortunately on matters of national security, he was very often in the minority. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. The President always casts the deciding vote. And the Senator from Massachusetts has given us ample doubts about his judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security.

There's the playbook. It's going to get ugly; all of these themes and more are going to be the central theme of the election. They're going to come from all sides--cronies in the GOP, media lackies like Rush, hit piece ads. They want to hang a label on Kerry, and this how they're going to try to do it. Kerry must work just as hard to present himself as a can-do guy with a plan.

I guess the upside is that now we know what's coming.

posted by Jeff | 8:18 AM |
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