EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the October 25, 2004, issue of National Review.
With only a couple of weeks to go, Campaign 2004 feels less like a post-9/11 election and more like a pre-World War II one, something from the mid-Thirties. As Winston Churchill said about Stanley Baldwin, Britain’s “safety first” prime minister, “He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.” That’s what much of the Democratic leadership has been doing these last two years.
Churchill and Baldwin both liked to paint and, addressing the Royal Academy, the former observed of the latter, “I would say his work lacked a little in color, and was also a little lacking in the precise definition of objects . . . Making a fair criticism, I must admit there is something very reposeful about the half-tones of his twilight studies.” Churchill’s “fair criticism” is an excellent summation of John Kerry’s foreign policy.
Kerry’s position is that the reassuring props of the September 10 landscape are all still there–the U.N., the EU, the Quai d’Orsay, the Arab League. All that’s required is a skilled artist to blur everything together again in half-toned nuance. How reposeful it all sounds.
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