I guess not!
Tim Lee says the Democratic convention was a giant smoke-blowing exercise to cover up that Kerry has no coherent message:
Here’s my theory. Kerry seems to have taken the advice of a New Republic article a few weeks ago to run to the right of Bush on national security, the way Kennedy ran to the right of Nixon in 1960. By turning the tables and accusing Bush of failing to fight the War on Terrorism adequately, the theory goes, Kerry can neutralize his party’s traditional disadvantage on the issue and simultaneously put the administration on the defensive.
But the problem is that Kerry appears not to have a clear message. Kennedy, for example, went on endlessly about the “missile gap” and the inadequacy of American military preparation vis a vis the Russians. Reagan and Clinton had similarly clear and compelling critiques of their respective incumbent opponents, and drew clear contrasts between themselves and the other guy.
Kerry’s message, in contrast, is that Bush lied (sort of, although he doesn’t want to be too explicit about it because that would be “negative”). And that Bush is incompetent (well, maybe, although Kerry doesn’t seem to be too clear on what he’d do differently). And… um… that the world is more complicated than those conservatives say it is. Oh, and that he fought in Vietnam and Bush didn’t! And he got three purple hearts!
Gene Healy writes that Kerry isn’t quite the flip-flopper Dubya & Co. say. Rather, he has consistently favored letting someone else take the heat:
Kerry hasn’t changed his position on Iraq. In October 2002, when the congressional vote was held, Kerry, like most members of Congress, was in favor of punting the question of war or peace to the president and avoiding accountability for the decision. And Kerry remains firmly in favor of avoiding accountability for Iraq today. That tells us something about John Kerry as a candidate. More importantly, it tells us a lot about the health of Congress as a political institution, and about the erosion of Congress’ power to declare war.
And Steve Chapman concludes that after all the bluster, Kerry has been as squarely behind the Iraq debacle as Dubya:
It has been said by many critics that President Bush, after bungling his job in the Iraq war, has stubbornly refused to admit he was wrong. The same goes for John Kerry.
If John Kerry manages to be a slight improvement over Dubya as president, it will be a happy accident.