What if Saddam Hussein actually had weapons of mass death, but ultimately refused to disarm? Would John Kerry eventually have invaded Iraq and neutralized the tyrant? Kerry assured Missouri voters last August: “You bet I might have.”
Such a signal could be called, charitably, strategic ambivalence. In less polite company, it might be dubbed Kerryitis, a condition that causes a politician to take an indecisive position, just in case he suddenly has to change his mind. Or perhaps even change it back again.
Imagine if leaders had suffered Kerryitis through history. What might they have said?
Ronald Reagan would have stood beside West German chancellor Helmut Kohl in Berlin and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, maybe you should tear down this wall!”
On the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, the young and vibrant John F. Kennedy would have told the nation: “You need not ask what your country can do for you. Consider asking what you might do for your country.”
With Mindanao vanishing in the background, kamikaze pilots swarming overhead, and a corn cob pipe clenched between his teeth, a defiant General Douglas MacArthur would have declared: “I might return.”
As America struggled through the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt would have comforted his countrymen with the stirring words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I think.”
Worried that the tensions between North and South soon might cause brother to kill brother as meadows became battlefields, U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln of Illinois would have appealed for calm by observing that, “A house divided against itself may or may not stand.”
As the British slipped a noose around his neck for spying, American Revolutionary Nathan Hale would have stirred his fellow patriots by saying, “I regret that I have but one life to risk for my country.”
Could any Lexingtonian’s spine not have tingled upon hearing Paul Revere’s voice pierce the midnight sky as danger loomed? “The British may be coming! The British may be coming!”
And think how Jesus might have formulated a more flexible Golden Rule: “Love thy neighbor as thyself, should thy wish.”
So, when you go to the polls today, be sure to vote for the candidate you believe will lead America with clarity, resolve, and purpose. Or not.