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Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2004 / 14 Tishrei, 5765

James Lileks

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Dems' mixed messages alienate the Center | Worst political rhetoric ever. Appalling! Un-American! Can you believe it: A candidate's supporter suggests that voting for the other guy might get America nuked.

We're talking about Ted Kennedy, of course. He was pitchforking the red meat to the faithful the other day, insisting that the war against Iraq was a diversion that gave al-Qaida free reign, and now they're going to nuke us. It's a Democratic talking point: The moment the troops started massing in Kuwait, the order went out to our Afghanistan troops, "Drop your guns and look at your shoes until further notice. Do not -- repeat do NOT -- pursue al-Qaida."

This notion suggests that dropping armored divisions into the vast raw maw of the Pakistani outlands would make bin Laden pop up like a gopher whose hole had been flooded. But sending tanks to that theater would be as silly as sending Swift boats. Different fronts have different needs.

In any case, the same week Kennedy made his accusation, coalition forces killed al-Qaida notable Amjad Hussain Farooqi, wanted for his role in the beheading of Daniel Pearl. Pakistani forces were instrumental in the action. (Say what you will, but these coerced and bribed eBay nations come in handy from time to time.) Distracted? If Ted says so.

Perhaps Kennedy was sent out to fire up the base with intemperate alarmism. Perhaps the base is all they have left, and from now on all the Kerry campaign rhetoric will write off the moderate middle. Speaking of the president's disregard for the plight of Americans, Kerry recently used some magic words: "Income's goin' down, and (Bush) just doesn't care. He's still fightin' for Halliburton and Enron."

Enron? What other vital, crucial issue might we be hearing about soon? Teapot Dome? The Copper Trust? Vietnam?

This remark gives you a few ideas why Kerry's poll numbers have fallen down the well. Halliburton occupies a strange place in the minds of Bush-haters, as though they cater all the NeoCon parties where Skull and Bonesmen plot the campaign to annex Mexican oilfields for Zionist Freemasons. For those who think American troops are shaking down Iraqi villagers at gunpoint, demanding that they cough up the Cheney Tax, knocking Halliburton has some traction, but these people are already committed voters. For Nader.

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As for Enron, no one cares about that anymore, if they ever did. There are seven people in America who think Bush took the nation to war to divert us from the plight of Ken Lay; while it is rather sweet for Kerry to court their votes, they do not swing elections.

But more to the point: Americans -- specifically American mothers -- are not worried that Enron executives will storm a grade school and shoot the children. These "Security Moms" might well have gone Democratic, if the party had nominated someone who didn't appear to be auditioning for the job of World's Tallest Metrosexual, and who had more excuses for inaction on Iraq than a lazy hungover husband has for not fixing a squeaky door.

Let's recap: Kerry wouldn't have invaded Iraq. He would have done things "differently" and he would have exercised "patience."

Well, patience with Afghanistan and Al-Qaida's Taliban protectors bought us Sept. 11. And "our allies" might just strike the Security Mom demographic as the equivalent of the layabout hubby's two useless friends Pierre and Hans, who might show up to help move the armoire, if they can pry their cans off the stools at the Sports Bar.

Sure, the Security Moms fear a nuke strike. They might also have seen a recent story on Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who said Saddam could have restarted his nuclear weapons program at the snap of a finger. Obeidi also noted that Saddam was quite close to getting a nuke before the 1991 Gulf War.

Security Moms might recall that Kerry was against that war before he was for it, too. Let someone attack American children between now and the election, and they won't want Ted Kennedy or John Kerry. They might want a Putin. But Bush would do.

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


09/23/04: Kerry's almost just about final position on Iraq
09/21/04: Will anyone trust them again?
09/09/04: Now can you name the enemy?
09/02/04: Save America from those who would save it
08/26/04: The character (or lack) behind the Kerry candidacy
08/19/04: Time for Old Media to make like McGreevey
08/12/04: Another Swing Vote: the Sufferers of Sudden Bush Hatred Fatigue Syndrome
08/05/04: Is Kerry's Problem nuance? Or is it obfuscation?
07/30/04: Intimate liability
07/26/04: Sandy Berger's classified wardrobe
07/15/04: Pretty faces, ugly words
07/08/04: Genocide can't happen if we banish the word
07/01/04: Dropping political discourse level
06/24/04: Kerry's Science Buddies and the Silly Sanctity of Life
06/17/04: Behold the Summer of Bill Clinton!
06/10/04: Whatever happened to respect for the presidency?
06/03/04: Tales at the intersection of war and popular culture
05/20/04: Athletes on Notice: Strive Unflaggingly
05/13/04: America likes Rumsfeld, and the Dems can't take it
05/07/04: Kerry Supporters Have a New Take on Vietnam War
05/05/04: New cell phone does everything, but there's a problem...
04/29/04: John Kerry, prisoner of symbolic politics
04/22/04: Shall we grovel? Kerry Plan to Restore America's Place in the World
04/08/04: Sept. 11 Might Have Been Different If ...
04/02/04: Slinging slime or citing facts?
03/26/04: One War, One Enemy
03/22/04: Bloodied Spain Rejoins Old Europe
03/12/04: Why All Those Foreign Leaders Want Kerry to Whup Bush
03/08/04: Introducing the Kerry Doctrine
02/27/04: Introducing the AWOLs: Angry White Outraged Libs
02/20/04: Sifting the headlines of election year 1992
02/18/04: Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004?
01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks