Monday, June 07, 2004

SacBee Columnist Dan Weintraub Scorches Me
After reading my extremely weak latest Eye on the Pie column, the ever Arnold-phantic Dan Weintraub comes back with this (which is, incidentally, a more succinct compilation of similar thoughts expressed by Vince Marchand):

Nice column, even with the gratuitous slap at your favorite SacBee columnist. Your trust in Kerry is touching, but it does seem a bit out of character for you. I don't picture you as the "save me!" type, but more as the engaged citizen who knows what she wants and demands it from her government, even if it is a government she trusts. Actually, while you were reading the Economist, Kerry was starting to answer the question himself. And it is starting to sound as if he and the Hated One almost agree on the future of Iraq at this point. Provide security. Get the UN and other nations involved. Get out as soon as possible (stay as long as needed and not one day more). As badly as Bush has screwed up on the details to date, I really don't think there is much difference between them about how they would proceed going forward. I think the real questions for them to debate are 1) was it right or wrong to invade in the first place, 2) knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again, and 3) would you ever do something similar in another country. I think Bush's answers are yes, yes and yes. Best I can tell, Kerry's are no, no and no. And that difference, not who should be the minister of finance in Baghdad, is where the real debate should be engaged. I would pay big money to see it.

My response: while I agree in large part that it is somewhat out-of-character and distasteful for me to rely on the politician to provide the answer, in my defense I want to steer my readers to the end of the column where I clearly stated that we had to force Kerry to articulate this clear position.

I disagree vehemently with the assertion that there's no difference as to how Bush and Kerry would proceed going forward. I think there's a decent chance that they might issue disturbingly similar sounding statements about what they'll do in the future, but their actions in interpretation of those statements and their likelihood of success will be radically different.

And here's where trust is a big issue again: He who is "missing his Herbert" has demonstrably lied to the American people more than once on this war; he has destroyed decades of credibility and diplomacy; he has blown apart important world alliances and burned bridges.

JFK will not do this. His record in Congress unequivocally shows that he can and will do this right.

Karl Rove and his merry men are working double-time to convince Americans that John Kerry is a wishy-washy flip-flopper. I can tell you from working in Washington as a public-interest lobbyist that this is far from true.

Like Horton (when he hatches the egg), Kerry has a record of saying what he means and meaning what he says. He has a record of doing the right thing, or, when he's wrong, admitting it and taking responsibility for correcting his course.

As someone who has worked with a multitude of politicians at all levels of government, I can tell you that this quality matters, ultimately, more than any other.

Perhaps, it is why, when the nation finishes mourning the loss of our greatest B actor, you will hear attack after attack on exactly that fundamental and extraordinary truth about John Kerry.