Thursday, September 30, 2004
John Kerry's problem: John Kerry has mostly avoided talking to real journalists over the past month.
Sorry, as John Stewart himself acknowledges, his is a fake news show, thus making him a fake journalist.
Usually candidates can count on softball interviews from the likes of Stewart, Leno and Letterman, and even occasion the morning news shows on the Big Three networks.
But even Diane Sawyer, a journalist not known for particularly hard-hitting interviews, gave Kerry more than he could handle -- and he can't handle much.
DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?
JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today.
DS: So it was not worth it.
JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that depends on the leadership. And we need better leadership to get the job done successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American people — plain and simple. Bottom line.
DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?
DS: But right now it wasn't [ … ? … ]--
JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that we've done what he's — I mean look — we have to succeed. But was it worth — as you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? That's the question. The test of the presidency was whether or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.
DS: But no way to get rid of him.
JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.
DS: So you're saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .
JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don't twist here.
I'm a pretty smart guy, but this is much too nuanced for me. This interview occurred the day before the big foreign policy debate. Can anyone give me a coherent version of John Kerry's plan for Iraq? After you've outlined that for me, please send it to Kerry, he needs it now.
A relative of mine has likened Kerry's obsfucation to Richard Nixon's "secret plan" to get the U.S. out of Vietnam. (Because Nixon used it, it apparently makes it acceptable for Kerry to use it?) That line may have worked then, but I doubt it will sway swing voters in 2004. And frankly, if that's the best defense you've got of Kerry's foreign policy position(s), then Kerry's in big trouble.