The point I made last night about how Kerry kept playing into the President’s hands with his comments about this being the wrong war (paraphrasing) were echoed in today’s Washington Post. I wrote last night:
The President was very effective in nailing the fact that Kerry denigrates our allies by calling them a ‘coerced’ coaliton and by questioning Allawi’s credibility. I was hoping he’d do that and he did. Remember, Kerry is the one who keeps saying, and did so repeatedly tonight, that he’ll do a better job at bringing our allies to the table. Kerry kept playing into the President’s hands with his comments about the coaltion not being a ‘genuine’ coalition. Secondly, the most effective point and I think the “theme” to the President’s message tonight, was the “mixed signals” comments he kept talking about that Kerry gives off with regards to his position on Iraq. As we all know, he’s been all over the map on it. Bush said those mixed signals confuse our allies and make our troops second guess while they’re there – neither of which should be done, obviously. What he essentially did was attack Kerry’s tone towards our allies and towards our troops and the signals that sends out to the world, something I blogged about last week.
From the WashPost:
The center of the debate was Iraq, though the candidates differed more on past actions than on future plans. Mr. Bush stoutly defended his decision to go to war and its results; Mr. Kerry forcefully criticized that decision and the war’s management and offered himself as a more competent commander in chief. But Mr. Kerry had a more complicated position to defend, and it showed at times. He called the war a mistake and a diversion, but later said that American soldiers were not dying for a mistake. He implied that money being spent in Iraq could be better spent on prescription drugs for seniors, but insisted, “I’m not talking about leaving. I’m talking about winning.”
Mr. Bush was skillful and relentless in underlining these “mixed messages,” and in arguing that a president who sent them could not effectively lead U.S. forces or recruit allies. “So what’s the message going to be? Please join us in Iraq for a grand diversion?” he demanded at one point. Mr. Kerry seemed not to have an answer to this challenge; his argument that “the real war on terrorism [is] in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden” seemed to us unconvincing alongside Mr. Bush’s repeated insistence that success in Iraq and on other fronts is equally vital to U.S. security. After all, not so long ago Mr. Kerry said he, too, believed that Saddam Hussein represented a grave threat that the United States could not afford to ignore.
Every once in a while, I do get one or two things right
Click here for more of my thoughts on the Kerry tone.