Mark Steyn hits another one out of the park this morning in "The Doomed Defeatist." Link requires free registration. As you probably guessed from the title, his column is about John "C3PO" Kerry.
Desperate for payback for his month of SwiftVet hell, the thin-skinned Kerry demanded that his campaign went on the attack about Bush's fitful National Guard service back in the Vietnam era. Nobody cares. But Dan Rather and CBS did a big story on whether Bush failed to show up for a physical in the War of 1812, and the Kerry campaign promptly lost most of September because Dan's case had been built on laughably fake memos supplied as part of a convoluted deal involving the network, a man of dubious mental stability and key Kerry campaign contacts including Joe Lockhart, the former Clinton press secretary who was brought on board to get Kerry out of last month's mess, not land him in this month's...
If you look at the broader picture, the Democrats made a disastrous error in the years since 9/11. One reason they've been in decline for a decade is that, on all kinds of matters, they're in thrall to unrepresentative interest groups - to the radical feminist lobby on abortion, to the teachers' unions on education, to the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton ethnic-grievancemongers on black issues. These groups effectively exercise a veto over any serious thinking on the relevant issue. Since the Afghan campaign, the party has allowed a new grouping - the Michael Moore crowd, MoveOn.org, the Hollywood Left - to swell into a veto on any serious thinking about war and national security. If you want the relationship distilled into a single image, fish out a picture of Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy Carter in the Presidential box at the Democratic convention. A weak vacillating man at the head of a party deeply ambivalent about the war is not the kind of guy who's going to be putting the screws on Musharraf or the Saudis.
And, just in time for the change of policy, comes a new ad from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth focusing on another cheery snapshot from the John Kerry scrapbook of 35 years ago. This one is about Kerry's trip to Paris to meet negotiators from the North Vietnamese communist government and the south's Provisional Revolutionary government. He was a Naval Reserve officer at the time, and many of my correspondents regard it as treason. I'm not in favour of having Senator Kerry put on trial and executed; soccer moms and other swing voters may see that as over-reaching. But John O'Neill, the Swiftees' spokesman, says, "It would be like an American today meeting with the heads of al-Qa'eda." Even if that line doesn't catch on, the ad is nicely timed with Kerry's Iraqi withdrawal strategy to paint the senator as the candidate of American defeatism, then and now.
Can Steyn write or what?