September 24, 2004
FROM THE I-THOUGHT-KERRY-WAS-A-DIPLOMAT DEPARTMENT: Charles Krauthammer joins the list of those wondering why Kerry is dissing our allies:
The terrorists' objective is to intimidate all countries allied with America. Make them bleed and tell them this is the price they pay for being a U.S. ally. The implication is obvious: Abandon America and buy your safety.
That is what the terrorists are saying. Why is the Kerry campaign saying the same thing?
UPDATE: It just gets worse:
Democrats moved quickly to fuel skepticism, denouncing Allawi's message in unusually pointed terms.
While Kerry was relatively restrained in disputing Allawi's upbeat portrayal, some of his aides suggested that the Iraqi leader was simply doing the bidding of the Bush administration, which helped arrange his appointment in June.
"The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips," said Joe Lockhart, a senior Kerry adviser.
This is behavior that is absolutely unacceptable coming from a Presidential campaign in wartime, and it's not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of such behavior. Joe Lockhart should apologize for these remarks, and Kerry should fire him. Otherwise you're going to hear a lot of people questioning Kerry's patriotism. And they'll be right to.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Greg Djerejian calls Lockhart's comment "disgraceful," and observes:
Remember, Kerry may need to work with this so-called "puppet" in the future. Regardless, this is astonishingly irresponsible campaign rhetoric from a key member of the challenger's campaign team. To malign the serving PM of Iraq as appearing a "puppet" plays right into the handbook of insurgents operating in Iraq. I'm truly shocked Kerry would ostensibly authorize such an inflammatory statement (ie., not in the Casablanca 'shocked, shocked' kinda way).
I think that statements like this are more evidence that the Kerry campaign -- or at least the Clinton folks running it -- expects to lose. Hence, they don't have to worry about who they'll be working with, but they want to fire up the anti-Bush base. That doesn't make it any less disgraceful to be going around uttering comments that might as well be designed to undermine America's alliances, of course. This sort of stuff is appalling.
MORE: Roger Simon thinks there's no strategy here, just the desperate flailing of a drowning campaign:
I think it's more a product of "Hail Mary" desperation than a conscious desire to bring out the base. The isolationist anti-war left, noisy as they are, do not constitute a large enough minority to be useful in that regard. Bad strategy all around. It might even be a turnoff, because it leaves us with these Profiles in Courage to compare:
1. Awad Allawi - a man who was once left for dead (1978) in his Surrey home after having been bludgeoned with an ax by one of Saddam's henchman who thought he had killed him. Allawi then spent a year in a hospital. He is still said to walk with a limp and is now the object of, one would imagine, daily assassination attempts.
2. John Kerry - a man who left the Vietnam War after 4 1/2 months after having been "seriously wounded" - a description that now even his biographer finds dubious.
Indeed. Whatever it is, it's disgraceful, and if Roger is right I suspect that the Democratic Party will pay a stiff price for it in November. If Kerry keeps this up -- making statements that are not merely anti-war, but that are deeply destructive and useful to our enemies -- you'll see Democratic candidates -- and not just Tom Daschle -- scampering to distance themselves from Kerry and embrace Bush.