Thursday, October 07, 2004

If Bush Were Like Blair . . .

Jim Geraghty, in a "Kerry Spot" entry at the National Review Online, writes:
Now - picture the Democrats nominating a candidate who takes the war on terror seriously, who wants to finish the job in Iraq, and who doesn't see every foreign policy issue as a rerun of Vietnam.

A Tony Blair-style Democrat would probably be trouncing Bush right now. Karl Rove & Co. are very lucky to have the opponents they do.

That's one way to look at it.

Another is this: If Bush were a Tony Blair-style Republican, who could articulate an argument without resorting to rhetoric like this when left on his own:
Of course we're doing everything we can to protect America. I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job.

I work with Director Mueller of the FBI; comes in my office when I'm in Washington every morning, talking about how to protect us. There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so.

It's hard work. But, again, I want to tell the American people, we're doing everything we can at home, but you better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again,

then Karl Rove wouldn't have to worry.

If Bush were a responsible president, who could admit mistakes and level with the American people, then Karl Rove wouldn't have to worry.

If Bush were an honest president, who looked at both sides of the conflicting intelligent estimates he was receiving back in late 2002 and early 2003, if his White House hadn't deliberately suppressed that evidence, then Karl Rove wouldn't have to worry.

But Bush isn't honest, isn't responsible, and certainly, when bereft of prepared text and asked to think on his own, isn't articulate.

He is in short, no Tony Blair.

And so Karl Rove has to worry and thus his campaign runs on one strategy and one strategy only: deny reality and destroy the opposition in everyway possible. So a major policy speech isn't a vision for the future, but a bait and switch (just like the reasons for this war in Iraq), that's really just a castigation of Kerry built on a string truth-distorting one-liners.

Bush is desparate and it shows. He's been caught lying, caught shifting, caught short and is increasingly found wanting. If John Kerry were as forthright as Tony Blair, Bush would in fact be toast. If George Bush were as forthright as Tony Blair, Kerry wouldn't stand a chance.

But Kerry has a chance because as weak a candidate as Kerry is, Bush is that much worse a leader and president. And the facts in Iraq past and present make that impossible to hide. Even for Karl Rove.

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