Jewish World Review Jan. 26, 2004 / 3 Shevat, 5764
Kerry wins debate by being mediocre
BY VIRTUE of some humorously bad
competition, John Kerry is once again the
Democratic Presidential frontrunner. At
Thursday night's debate at Saint Anselm
College, the droopy Boston Brahmin we once
thought was washed up looked the most
Presidential of any of the contenders thanks
to the recent blunders of Howard "Meltdown"
Dean and Wesley "Who Am I?" Clark.
What a difference a campaign season makes.
Coming off his big win in Iowa, John Kerry is the
new place for Democrats to rest their hopes for
defeating George W. Bush in November. How
sad for them.
Kerry no longer seems slightly unstable for all his years of pretending and dancing
around the truth. Now he's a rock of stability compared to Dean, who looked in
Thursday night's debate like he might bite his own head off (instead of someone
else's, for a change), as his chin sank down towards his shirt collar while his eyes
widened and his eyebrows rose up to his scalp in apparent ecstatic frenzy.
He announced he had a cold, but wasn't that foam in the corners of his mouth? Dean
succeed in not losing it, as he did in Iowa, but from the look of him, keeping his temper
was no small feat. Maybe wife Judy, also a physician, prescribed something for the
Deaniac before the debate.
And Kerry's chronic flip-flopping on important issues such as voting for the
resolution to invade Iraq, then criticizing the President for invading Iraq is but a
venal sin now that Gen. Wesley Clark, a much more grave offender, is in the spotlight.
ABC's Peter Jennings asked Clark to reconcile his virulent criticism of Bush's handling
of the war in Iraq with an April 2003 article he wrote for The Times of London, lavishing
praise on Bush for his prosecution of the war. Clark mumbled about not wanting to
criticize Bush overseas, but why publish an article at all then? If Clark's authorship of
the congratulatory article doesn't reveal an advanced case of Kerryesque
double-speak, it represents a particular kind of disingenuousness and brown-nosing
that might explain the rise to rank of general by a soldier described as having
"character and integrity" problems by the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen.
Clark further embarrassed himself by refusing to denounce supporter Michael Moore's
claim that President George W. Bush, who served in the Texas Air National Guard
during Vietnam, was a "deserter." Jennings asked Clark if accusing Bush of "desertion"
wasn't going too far, but Clark only responded that he's heard the desertion charge
"bandied" about. Clark must have also heard it "bandied" that Bush is a Nazi (a
favorite charge of limousine liberal George Soros and his friends, a smear widely
covered by the media); is that charge also fair game? Democrats probably hoped a
West Point graduate and retired Army general would make an honorable and serious
candidate; alas, Clark is no serious candidate. And where is his honor?
Kerry, in quiet contrast to the other frontrunners, appeared Thursday night as a
serious candidate on the debate stage: the only candidate wearing an American flag
pin on his lapel, the only candidate of the seven who didn't make you want to giggle or
gag when he answered. (Two possible exceptions: The sober Joe Lieberman made you
want to ask, "Why are you running as a Democrat?" And John Edwards made you
want to ask, "Why don't you get a few more years' experience under your belt and try
again in 2008?")
Kerry's answers may have been wrong (such as admitting he would raise taxes), but
they were decisive, earnest, and to the point. What a welcome relief.
Flanked by Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich, two bumbling Bolsheviks who
generously contributed more than their fair share of comic relief to the debate, Kerry
positively sparkled as a statesman.
But still. Kerry's ascendancy to front-runner status is attributable more to the fact that
the other candidates are so poor, rather than because he is so good. Again, how very
sad for Democrats.
Comment on JWR contributor Bernadette Malone's column by clicking here.
01/19/04: "Old style politics" has gotta go?
01/12/04: Prez mocks legal immigrants
01/06/04: New year, but the chattering class' ennui already kicking in
11/10/03: Time for "diversity" for GOPers?
11/03/03: Two cheers for loopy loudmouth Sharpton
10/20/03: And who can blame them?
10/07/03: Irony seems to have been lost on most in leakgate
09/30/03: Will the Dems finally produce an alpha male before it's time to name a nominee who can scare Bush?
09/23/03: K Street will reinforce American cynicism
09/09/03: When real life starts to imitate virtual reality, itís time to reboot
© 2003, Bernadette Malone