The Corner

Re: What Matters

John: Yes, what matters is the war on terror. I, and I would guess you,

and everyone I know at NR who has expressed an opinion about it, expect the

War on Terror to continue for decades. These years since 2001 are,

therefore, a laying of foundations for that war. The years 2005-08 will be

very critical. All the more important to bend our efforts to getting GWB

elected in November, since, of the available likely candidates, he is the

one who knows the score (and even, politics aside, for simple continuity).

And all the more important, therefore, to push, pull and nag GWB to be the

best candidate he can be, and to squawk when he turns in a lackluster

performance like yesterday’s. For goodness’ sake, none of Russert’s

questions was a surprise. W’s had months to prep for them — in some

cases, years. He should be able to rattle off coherent answers, in

sentences each of which has a subject, verb and object, while practicing his

golf swing. If he can’t, that is a species of incapacity, and WE CAN’T

AFFORD INCAPACITY IN GWB.

You say that you grumbled about his performance skills in 2000, doubting he

could best Al Gore, yet look!–he trounced Gore. Well, no he didn’t. He

squeaked a narrow victory on a technicality. And that was in the days

before Bush-hating was a billion-dollar industry, with the weight of

Hollywood, TV, etc. behind it.

So: let’s lay off Bush, let him do his own — often indolent and

counter-productive — thing, and let’s watch him “trounce” Kerry as he

“trounced” Gore? Please yourself, John, but I’m not in for taking that kind

of a chance. Kerry scares me. He is awful, of course — I yield to no-one

in the lowness of my opinion of John Kerry. But I remember one morning 4 or

5 weeks ago, chatting with Rich Lowry, and marveling that Kerry had just

taken out an umpteen-million-dollar mortgage to keep his campaign going. At

that point Dean was high, and Kerry had, as Donna Brazile said, “no pulse.”

I expressed to Rich my opinion that Kerry had slipped into a delusional

state. Now look at him. This guy worries me.

And look at the post-polling stats on “electability” in these Democratic

primaries. There’ll be no Ralph Nader to help out this time — Nader voters

hate Bush so much, they will vote for whomever they think can defeat him.

This is going to be a heck of a fight, and Bush must win it, for exactly the

reasons you stated. If I think GWB needs a kick up the rear end to keep him

on track, I’ll deliver it.

Complacency isn’t going to win this one, John.

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