Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Brooks Brothers, and our Uncle Mel

Babble on.

We Brooks boys stick together. OK, we don't really stick together, but it sounded good in my head. The truth is that David Brooks of the NY Times wouldn't know me from a high-end clothier (Ha! Get it? If you're scratching your head, e-mail me and I'll walk you through the joke step by painful step. Mel I'm not. Badoom boom. C'mon that was funny! Alright, alright...I'm done with the lame jokes, I promise.).

Back to my point, which is that David Brooks and I agree about John Kerry's speech yesterday. Synopsis? It was a good speech. It was a terrible position. We'll have to see how it works with voters on November 2nd.

Politically, as William Safire has pointed out (turn to item four in your text), Kerry needs to "recognize that the war is the switcher issue, and take a position [he] can stick with for at least six weeks." When Safire's admitting the Great Democratic Hope has trouble staying the course, it's time to give up the ghost.

David and I agree John-John is more likely to get elected by taking the wrong stand on Iraq than by taking no stand at all. Here are some of Brooks' better lines on the subject:

Yesterday John Kerry came to New York University and did something amazing. He uttered a series of clear, declarative sentences on the subject of Iraq. Many of these sentences directly contradict his past statements on Iraq, but at least you could figure out what he was trying to say.
Rhetorically, this was his best foreign policy speech by far (it helps to pick a side).
Substantively, of course, Kerry's speech is completely irresponsible. In the first place, there is a 99 percent chance that other nations will not contribute enough troops to significantly decrease the U.S. burden in Iraq. In that case, John Kerry has no Iraq policy. The promise to bring some troops home by summer will be exposed as a Disneyesque fantasy.

More to the point, Kerry is trying to use multilateralism as a gloss for retreat. If "the world" is going to be responsible for defeating Moktada al-Sadr and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then no one will be responsible for defeating them. The consequences for the people of Iraq and the region will be horrific.

Finally, if the whole war is a mistake, shouldn't we stop fighting tomorrow? What do you say to the last man to die for a "profound diversion"?

But that is what the next few weeks are going to be about. This country has long needed to have a straight up-or-down debate on the war. Now that Kerry has positioned himself as the antiwar candidate, it can. (Babbler's Bold)

Of course, this could all backfire on Kerry. Before, he was just an indecisive, flip-flopping liberal. Now he's a weak, dovish, doormat of an indecisive, flip-flopping liberal. It's a big gamble. But hey, if he wants to stay in the game, he has to place the bet.

Babble off.


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