Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Kerrying it to far III

This is the kind of thing I am referring to (AP):

"But it is our business when a candidate for president claims the political endorsement of foreign leaders," Cheney said at a congressional fund-raiser in Phoenix. "At the very least, we have a right to know what he is saying to them that makes them so supportive of his candidacy."

That last comment is, of course, an appeal to the "Kerry is a tool of foreign interests" smear that I have been talking about. The clear implication of Cheney's statement is that Kerry has sold out America in order to get those secret endorsements.

I know some Kerry supporters are laughing off my concern about this but I think they are making a serious mistake by doing so. This is precisely the kind of appeal that the Bushies like to make and they do it because it works. This is becoming a serious issue and if Kerry doesn't come up with a good response to it and soon he will be seriously damaged by it.

Update: Josh Marshall seems to be thinking along the same lines as I am:

Now, I don't think there's any question this was an unwise thing for Kerry to say, not least because it's opened him up to all these attacks which are awkward to answer.

It's because this brou-ha-ha has put Kerry on the defensive that it was a bad thing for him to do. As a politician, you never want to be on the defensive (as Bush was in the first two weeks of this campaign). It makes you look weak and opens you up to other questions about your ability to lead.

The reason it's unwise to say this -- or at least say it so bluntly -- is precisely because it's so undoubtedly true. And the fact that it's true is a difficult matter politically for both candidates.

I'm not so sure about this. My impression is that foreign resentment of America amongst our erstwhile allies is primary confined to anger at Bush specifically, not America in general. Kerry would have to heal the wounds once Bush is out of office, but he at least would have a chance of doing so. Bush is hopeless.


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