Blog4kerry - He's the Real Deal

A quote from former Senator Warren B. Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire sums it up, "I think he's a moderate Democrat — very liberal on social policy and reasonably conservative on foreign policy and defense matters."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I’ve been screaming for months that Kerry should not run to the left of Dean on the war (see 11/24, etc.). We let Dean run around all summer misconstruing and confusing the voting public about other candidates’ positions (and his own). The Kerry campaign never answered in the summer or fall and tried to campaign on a mistaken position of “who is the best to get us out of the Iraq situation now.” The problem with trying to run on a forward-looking vision is that people will not trust you to solve Iraq’s problems if they think you were wrong before about getting us into it.

Finally, the Kerry campaign is getting it right and attacking Dean on his inconsistencies and his positions that leave America vulnerable. Dean’s best known position on the war (of many), leaves America unable to respond to threats. (see my 9/8 blog among others)

Also I really like the new message about showing how Bush and Dean’s are extreme polar opposites with the truth somewhere in between. Hopefully, the campaign will continue to refine the message and phase out the references to the United Nations in favor of simple international legitimacy (could be broad but ad hoc like Gulf War 1, could be NATO, etc.) Even though the Senator is right when he talks about the need for the UN, there is no love between the American people and that international organization. However, Kerry can try to change how Americans look at the UN to a more balanced perspective after he is elected using the bully pulpit. Lets not let it be used by Bush as a stumbling block to Kerry in the general election.

I’m also hopeful to see Kerry is referencing his nuanced and right foreign policy positions back to great American leaders to draw the historical link. American history has certainly influenced Sen. Kerry, but he has at times done a poor job communicating his wealth of understanding to the American people. While showing how Dean’s positions are harmful to America’s interests is quite easy (if attempted), Kerry’s complex, but necessary positions are more difficult to explain.

Often people can better understand a complex position with a parable. Use ideas or stories of past great America leaders to gain legitimacy and trust. In the article, Kerry's well thought-out lines are a leap forward in rectifying this problem.

Here in Des Moines, Mr. Kerry sought to draw a contrast between Dr. Dean's posture and those of earlier Democratic presidents, citing Jimmy Carter's "commitment to human rights" in the same breath as Franklin D. Roosevelt's fight against fascism. "None of them would have ever given others the power to prevent America from defending our interests or our ideals," he said.

"To follow the path that Howard Dean seems to prefer is to embrace a kind of `Simon says' foreign policy where America only moves if others move first," he said. "And that is just as wrong as George Bush's policy of schoolyard taunts and cowboy swagger."

The senator repeatedly painted Dr. Dean as an extreme opposite of Mr. Bush. "Americans deserve better than a false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force," he said. "We need to take a third path of foreign policy: a bold, progressive internationalism, backed by undoubted military might, that commits America to lead in the cause of human liberty and prosperity."

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