The Windsurfer & the Kerry Doctrine
Patrick J. Buchanan
October 6 2004
If George Bush
loses this election, the turning point will have been those 90 minutes
of debate at the University of Miami, where camera cutaways of the
president showed expressions ranging from exasperation to petulance to
Letting his face betray his feelings was a Bush blunder. But his
sentiments are understandable, for he is frustrated almost to
incoherence by the endless contradictions of John Kerry.
"The only thing consistent about my opponent's position is he's been
inconsistent," protested the president in one of his better lines.
Kerry's inconsistencies need to be explored, for when they are all taken
together, the only conclusion one can draw is that here is a man of no
principles. There is no position he will not abandon. For decades, John
Kerry has been a windsurfer on the waves of American politics.
Consider: Kerry voted to give Bush a blank check to go to war when the
country was burning with war fever, then voted against the $87 billion
to finish the job, when he was losing ground to Howard Dean.
With Dean dispatched, Kerry tacked to windward. At Miami, he spoke of
victory in Iraq. Following the debate, he said: "He [Bush] keeps trying
to say, 'Well, we don't want somebody who wants to leave [Iraq].' He
says: 'We don't want to wilt and waver. Well, Mr. President, nobody is
talking about wilting and wavering. We're talking about winning and
getting the job done right."
Kerry is for "winning" the war? But he has said he would send no more
troops. How – when six nations have pulled out and enemy fighters and
attacks have quadrupled in one year, can you be certain of "winning" the
war – if you have ruled out any more U.S. troops?
Kerry calls the Bush decision to invade one of several "colossal
failures of judgment" and calls Iraq the "wrong war in the wrong place
at the wrong time." Yet, when moderator Jim Lehrer asked him his own
question from 1971, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for
a mistake?" Kerry answered that Iraq was not a mistake.
How can a "colossal error in judgment" not be a mistake?
No wonder Bush seemed frustrated and peeved.
Which takes us back to Vietnam.
Nixon's policy was to turn the war over to the Vietnamese, but not cut
and run and pour down a sewer everything for which 50,000 Americans had
already died. By April 1971, when Kerry was raging against him, Nixon
had already reduced by half the 525,000 troops he found in Vietnam. He
was on the way to bringing them all home, and did so by the end of his
Thus, Kerry attacked and still attacks Nixon for too-slowly ending a war
Kerry thought a mistake, but Kerry is now committed to "winning" a war
he calls a "colossal error in judgment" and "the wrong war in the wrong
place at the wrong time."
Why does Kerry still call it "Nixon's war"? Why does he make Nixon the
villain when it was Nixon who reduced to zero in four years troop levels
JFK and LBJ had built up over eight years to 525,000?
Answer: expediency. Nixon has few, if any, defenders among those to whom
Kerry is appealing. JFK and LBJ still have many.
During the debate, Kerry declared again, "I defended this country as a
young man, and I will defend it as president."
Fine statement. But if Kerry was defending his country when fighting in
Vietnam, why did he come home and throw his ribbons over the fence? Why
did he come home and call the war a moral atrocity?
There is only one explanation for all Kerry's inconsistencies and
contradictions. It is that his first political principle is opportunism.
From Vietnam to Iraq, he is hawk or dove, pro-war or anti-war, depending
on the constituency he is currently courting.
When he went into the service in 1966, the establishment and Democratic
Party were pro-war. When he turned anti-war radical in 1971, they had
When America was hawkish on Iraq, Kerry was hawkish. When he needed
anti-war votes to combat Dean, he became a fluttering dove, then
born-again hawk in Boston, when he needed Middle America.
How does he get away with it?
The Big Media want him to win and will not hold him to account. George
W. Bush is not a skilled debater. The nation has a short memory and even
shorter attention span. And John Kerry believes, like H.L. Mencken, that
no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American
During the Miami debate, however, Kerry made one mistake. He
contradicted himself – in a single answer. He would never cede America's
right to act unilaterally, said Kerry, but added that any U.S. decision
to act unilaterally must first pass a "global test."
This sounds like Kerry would give a veto over U.S. unilateral action to
the United Nations or the "international community." The president is
calling it the "Kerry Doctrine," and the windsurfer is already tacking
back to the right.
© 2004 Creators
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