A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Judging from reactions. . .

. . .over at Lucianne.com, people are paying more attention to the media take on the debate than what they saw and heard with their own eyes and ears. Of course, that's usually how it happens.

If the President had done half as badly as some of the comments seem to suggest, he'd be on life support right now. The truth is, unless something utterly embarrassing happens, debates have very little impact on campaigns. Even Al Gore's "Dingell-Norwood moment" and his Buford Pusser tough-guy stride toward Bush didn't change things for more than a day, and Bush suffered nothing even comparable to those two gaffes.

In my mind, the President's performance suffered from one minor problem -- he deigned to defend his positions, rather than simply point to the folly in Kerry's. For instance, instead of explaining why he feels that bilateral negotiations with North Korea are a bad idea, he could have said something along the lines of, "I would remind my opponent that it was bilateral negotiations which produced the agreement that North Korea is currently disregarding, and there's no reason to believe that another round would produce a different result."

What the President really needed to do, but didn't quite accomplish in the debate, was to make it clear that John Kerry has a basic, fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the regimes we're dealing with, regarding proliferation. And, he should point out that the reason we had to act when we did in Iraq was that, given time, the Hussein regime could have developed enough of an arsenal to force the US into sitting across a negotiation table from yet another rogue state with nuclear capability.

Kerry gave the President a perfect opportunity to gut-punch him on this issue when he stated that "the threat's not the issue," with regard to our dismantling of the Hussein regime. All he needed to say at that point is, "If the threat's not the issue, Senator Kerry, what is?"

Kerry had conceded that Saddam Hussein was a threat, and apparently has not backed away from that concession -- yet. But, for reasons only he can explain, Kerry apparently believes that allowing the threat to remain intact so that other nations may decide how to deal with it is in America's best interest. Also, Kerry has conceded that the only way to rein in Hussein was to have the threat of force behind your demands. Where he comes up short is in establishing credibility in that threat of force.

By invading and removing the Hussein regime, that credibility has now been clearly established for all the Arab world to see -- not to mention Iran and North Korea. Is there any doubt that either of those two regimes would have heaved a sigh of relief had Bush decided to accede to the the wishes of France, Germany and Russia? To sit back and allow three nations who were openly hostile to any US-led military action to dictate the terms by which we defend our nation -- preemptively or otherwise -- is tantamount to treason. But that is apparently what is called for in Kerry's "global test".¹

Bush set forth his demands, gave full warning of the consequences if those demands were not met, presented his case to the UN, and backed up his threat. That shows an understanding which Kerry lacks of the enemy we're dealing with -- an enemy that says it will behead American hostages if their demands are not met, and then proceeds to behead American hostages when their demands are not met.

¹ Sentence added later when the blogger (who still has a lot to learn about writing) realized just how jarringly that paragraph ended.

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