October 30, 2004

B.D. Gets Results!

One of the crucial issues of this election is, Which candidate fundamentally gets the evil represented by this man? Which of these two guys understands it deep in his gut - not just in his brain or in his policy statements, but who feels it so deep in his soul that it consumes him?

-- David Brooks, writing today, in the NYT.

George Bush, in my view, understands the nature of the evil we are combating. He understands it deep in his gut, to his very core, and this is why I will be voting for him in November.

B.D., writing on October 17th.

Read all of Brooks' piece. Some money grafs:

Kerry did say that we are all united in the fight against bin Laden, but he just couldn't help himself. His first instinct was to get political.

On Milwaukee television, he used the video as an occasion to attack the president: "He didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down Osama bin Laden. He outsourced the job." Kerry continued with a little riff from his stump speech, "I am absolutely confident I have the ability to make America safer."

Even in this shocking moment, this echo of Sept. 11, Kerry saw his political opportunities and he took 'em. There's such a thing as being so nakedly ambitious that you offend the people you hope to impress.

But politics has shaped Kerry's approach to this whole issue. Back in December 2001, when bin Laden was apparently hiding in Tora Bora, Kerry supported the strategy of using Afghans to hunt him down. He told Larry King that our strategy "is having its impact, and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively, and we should continue to do it that way."

But then the political wind shifted, and Kerry recalculated. Now Kerry calls the strategy he supported "outsourcing." When we rely on allies everywhere else around the world, that's multilateral cooperation, but when Bush does it in Afghanistan, it's "outsourcing." In Iraq, Kerry supports using local troops to chase insurgents, but in Afghanistan he is in post hoc opposition.

This is why Kerry is not cleaning Bush's clock in this election. Many people are not sure that he gets the fundamental moral confrontation. Many people are not sure he feels it, or feels anything. Since he joined the Senate, what cause has he taken a political risk for? Has he devoted himself selflessly and passionately to any movement larger than himself?

Fair questions, these. And ones B.D. has posed before and, I fear, the Sullivans and Adesniks have not factored into their decision-making processes enough (to put it mildly).

UPDATE: Laura says this is David Brooks at his "hackiest." Ouch!

Over in mondo-Laura (one of the very best left-of-center blogs), of course, Maureen Dowd is hitting another nail on its head...never hacky her!

Posted by Gregory at October 30, 2004 06:55 AM
Comments

And what would Kerry be saying if we had nailed OBL in Tora Bora? Probably that we had aprehended the culprit of the 9/11 plot and that we had no need to continue increasing military spending or maintain the tyrranous Patriot Act.

Posted by: Richard Heddleson at October 30, 2004 04:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Kerry did say that we are all united in the fight against bin Laden, but he just couldn't help himself. His first instinct was to get political."

To some degree this instinctual, almost rabid politicizing of each and every theme that pops up during an election is understandable, certainly so as it applies to domestic issues.

But there is a boundary and while it may not represent a bright line that is always obvious for any and all to see (it does have a subject quality to it), I do think J. Kerry has crossed that line nonetheless. He arguably crossed it with the repeated Mary Cheney references. But also with issues related to the War on Islamofascism such as the al QaaQa story where he inflated it and leveraged it in a highly suspect and reactionary manner, even though his primary foreign policy advisor Holbrooke was simultaneously indicating "we just don't know."

It isn't that al QaaQa shouldn't have been part of the discussion and debate (though I question whether Mary Cheney should hve been inserted), it's the knee-jerk reactionary and volatile manner in which J. Kerry made it a part of the debate; that calls his judgement, discernment and motives into question vis-a-vis an aspect of the overall national security debate, not a domestic policy issue.

Posted by: Michael B at October 30, 2004 05:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Should read "(it does have a subjective quality to it)"

Posted by: Michael B at October 30, 2004 05:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

[rant on]

Must we always say "money quote" or "money grafs"? And I'm really getting tired of "elephant in the room." No, it's not just you, Greg... EVERYBODY does this and it's really getting on my nerves!

[rant off]

In my mind, what you want on the battlefield is someone who strikes quickly without hesitation, who is a good muddy boots "sojer" to have at your side in a firefight. But in a general or commander-in-chief, you want someone who acts more dispassionately, who thinks of unintended consequences, who realizes that there are two sides to any war, and when we make a move, our opponent is going to make a countermove. High-level strategy is more like chess, in my view, and you need someone more deliberate who can carry it out. That's why, I believe, the most powerful military traditions in the world have always had a significant element of restraint as part of what they call military discipline.

Posted by: Mitsu at October 30, 2004 06:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mitsu,
I say "Quotable" on my blog. Is that okay?

Mr. Djerejian,
When do you start getting the fat NYT columnist money for this work? LOL. You'd think he could at least give you a hat tip in the online version!!

No matter if Brooks saw it here or somewhere else, you're both right--with a capital R.

Posted by: Birkel at October 30, 2004 07:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

birkel: brooks once gave dan drezner a NYT hat-tip...where's mine?!? that said, i guess "deep in his gut" is pretty common parlance...though the similarities between my bush endorsement and the points brooks makes don't end there....heh.

maybe next time, mr. brooks?

Posted by: greg at October 30, 2004 08:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Fair questions, these. And ones B.D. has posed before and, I fear, the Sullivans and Adesniks have not factored into their decision-making processes enough (to put it mildly)."

Here's another question. Fair or not, I have not idea. Why are the Sullivans and Adesniks not factoring these questions into their decision-making processes?

Let me use a metaphor from the age of analog photography. Reading Sullivan is like seeing a negative of what he wrote barely a year ago." Bush-Bad. Kerry-Good. Red States-Intolerant. Blue States Patriotic." Just click on his archives from a while back and you see exactly the opposite views.

That seems to me to be just a wee bit immoderate. Whether Bush or Kerry is elected ,we will all wake up next Wednesday(let's hope there is a clear winner then) in a world where the U.S. has a tough war to fight in Iraq,which it cannot abandon without winning, unless it intends to cede that country to the barbarians who run Fallujah.

The U.S. can expect little help in Iraq from my country or many of its traditional allies in Europe,no matter who is President.

A large group of people out here in the wider world expect America to protect them from danger and yet feel free to blame everything that goes wrong in the world on American arrogance.

Bush has made his share of mistakes. However, to blame all of the above on him is just plain silly.

It takes quite a leap of faith to believe that Senator Kerry will navigate these dangerous waters with any more skill than President Bush.

Steve

Montreal

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