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Mark Steyn: John Kerry is all tied up in nuances
The Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 03/02/04 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 03/01/2004 4:30:36 PM PST by Pokey78

The news that Boris Johnson and half his Tory colleagues have been flirting with John Kerry like a Congressional overseas exchange intern programme came as no surprise to me. Though the Senator likes to think of himself as exuding Kennedy-esque glamour, to Conservatives he has the reassuring mien of an unexciting Cabinet heavyweight back when the party still had heavyweights and a Cabinet to put them in.

You can see why the Tory benches have been mesmerised by the immobile features of the Botoxicated Brahmin: superficially, he has the air of a cadaverous Douglas Hurd. As the Tories used to say in the old days, he has bottom - though, in the current climate, Senator Kerry would perhaps be ill-advised to adopt it as a campaign slogan.

One appreciates that Dubya and his Texan tics are not to everyone's taste, especially overseas. That said, one reason why America is one of the few places on the planet where conservatism remains a going concern is because it's a vernacular conservatism, not the patrician kind.

Conversely, it's easy to mistake boringness for seriousness, as Dustin Hoffman and Barbra

Streisand did in last year's ratings-bust Oscar show. So I defy any Tory MP to spend as much time with Kerry as I have this past year and still say they want him on the BBC News every night for the next eight years.

In Ohio the other day, he was trying to attack Bush's economic policy for the benefit of the television crews and staggered through three minutes of puffy incoherence. At the end, the CBS guy said none of what he'd droned was usable and would he mind trying again. Eventually, they coached the Senator into a soundbite: "It's the biggest say-one-thing-do-another administration in the history of the country." He likes this so much he now uses it all the time.

I recognised the CBS problem. Last spring and summer, I went to three Kerry campaign events in New Hampshire, intending to write about them for the Telegraph. Each time, I staggered groggily out of the diner or American Legion hall and, after checking my pulse and administering self-resuscitation, I figured that everything he said was so rambling and platitudinous that to inflict it on readers would be unfair, if not actually career-jeopardising.

But I wrote the stuff down. He used the word "courage" a lot. He said that he had "the courage to take the tough decisions", and America needed "the courage to stand up". His campaign was billing itself back then as the "American Courage Tour". I think it was after his "Fresh Air Forum" (sadly misnamed) that I looked at my notes and found the following: "Sometimes real leadership means having the courage not to have any courage."

That can't be right, I thought. It must be two separate answers, or there's some missing words about a Senate Appropriations Bill in the middle that I left out. But funnily enough, I find if you stick it on the end of almost any Kerry response - the explanation as to why his vote in favour of the Iraq war was actually a vote against the Iraq war and the one about why his vote to refuse funding to the troops was actually evidence of his strong support for the troops - it makes things much clearer.

So the notion that Kerry is more verbally felicitous than Bush depends on one's appetite for sonorous senatorial blather. The Tory benches may have what Boris calls "a certain snobbish resistance to his syntax", but I love Bush-speak. "Misunderestimate" encapsulates brilliantly what his opponents keep doing.

Senator Joe Biden - a man so rhetorically insecure that he's the only presidential candidate ever to plagiarise Neil Kinnock - was bending Bush's ear about the need to take a more "nuanced" approach to Afghanistan, and Bush replied: "I don't do nuance." Beautiful, and pithy, and a lot funnier than anything in the Bush parodies.

The smart guys don't think it's funny. Richard Cohen wrote a column for the Washington Post, headlined "Bush's War against Nuance". If you've gone over to the forces of nuance, Kerry's your guy - or your nuancy boy. He's got nuances coming out of his nuances. As the New York Times put it in its endorsement of the Senator: "What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances."

That may be the most lethal endorsement since Al Gore leapt on the Howard Dean bandwagon and sent it careering into the ravine. Just for the record, Kerry can take strong, clear positions. It's just that he tends to take both of them. For example. On January 22, 1991, he wrote to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts:

"Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favour of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war."

Nine days later, he wrote to the same Mr Carter in Newton Centre:

"Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf."

It is in trying to reconcile both of his strong, clear positions that Senator Kerry winds up tying himself up in nuances. He was at it again this weekend. "This President always makes decisions late," he huffed apropos Haiti. Hang on. He's just spent the past year complaining that Bush makes decisions too early, rushing in when he could have spent another year or so chit-chatting with the French.

I'm sure there are millions of Kerry supporters who'd like to take a tough Kerry-like stand this November. The best way to do that, in the spirit of his war votes, is to vote for Bush and then spend the next 10 years solemnly explaining that that was your bold courageous way of expressing your opposition to Bush.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: 2004; britain; england; greatbritain; kerry; marksteyn; marksteynlist; tories; tory; uk; unitedkingdom
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1 posted on 03/01/2004 4:30:36 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 03/01/2004 4:32:06 PM PST by Pokey78 (Steyn: Leftists demonize Wolfowitz because his name begins with a big scary animal and ends Jewishly)
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To: Pokey78
Egad! Kerry is so boring he even makes Mark Steyn dull! Global emergency!
3 posted on 03/01/2004 4:34:54 PM PST by Tax-chick ("I will not be wronged; I will not be insulted." (John Wayne)
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To: Pokey78
I'm sure there are millions of Kerry supporters who'd like to take a tough Kerry-like stand this November. The best way to do that, in the spirit of his war votes, is to vote for Bush and then spend the next 10 years solemnly explaining that that was your bold courageous way of expressing your opposition to Bush.

One needs to appreciate the nuance of this particular suggestion.

4 posted on 03/01/2004 4:37:58 PM PST by My2Cents ("Well...there you go again.")
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To: Pokey78; aculeus; general_re
If you've gone over to the forces of nuance, Kerry's your guy - or your nuancy boy.
5 posted on 03/01/2004 4:38:47 PM PST by dighton
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To: Pokey78
Steyn has no peer! Always a great read.
6 posted on 03/01/2004 4:39:33 PM PST by Carolinamom
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To: Pokey78
Great read - I laughed out loud! I'll be sending this article around:)
7 posted on 03/01/2004 4:40:21 PM PST by Dogbert41
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To: Pokey78
John F. Kerry is a liberal who is afraid to assert he proudly is one, comes down on both sides of an issue and has all the charisma of a dead horse. I really marvel at people's being afraid of this guy. The Democrats have nominated someone who they think is "electable." ROFL. In truth, Kerry is as much of a kook as Howard Dean, except that Dean was the candidate who really excited the Hate-Bush base. The Democrats decided running an honest liberal was too risky, so they opted to go with safe and boring. Folks, a party without ideas and passion, without a candidate who can energize people and get them to go to the polls, a candidate who offers a program of change - which they don't have --- heck, that's not the stuff befitting a party on the way to a national victory this year.
8 posted on 03/01/2004 4:45:27 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pokey78
Botoxicated Brahmin

LMAO. Second paragraph and I'm on the floor already.

Thank God there's no cure for MS.

9 posted on 03/01/2004 4:45:45 PM PST by Imal (What makes sending troops to Iraq "wrong", and sending troops to Haiti "right"?)
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To: Pokey78

10 posted on 03/01/2004 4:49:30 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: Pokey78
Kerry's your guy - or your nuancy boy

LOL There are always a few gems to be savored in a Steyn article.
11 posted on 03/01/2004 4:50:29 PM PST by baseballmom
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To: baseballmom
Liberals are full of it by seeing the world as complicated. Yes, life has complicated sometimes, but the world lives by Occam's Razor. Its too bad the Democratic Party is intent on making matters much harder than they need to be. That's why most people cut to the chase and look for the most obvious solution, which most of the time, is the correct one. I mean in being hung up on nuances, people really have to hear Kerry to appreciate him. He's all over the place that he tends to get lost. At least President Bush know where's he's going. Give me "simplistic" solutions over complicated "nuances" any day. Liberals don't get it.
12 posted on 03/01/2004 4:54:39 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: My2Cents
I wonder if Kerry made this comment...it speaks volumes about the man if he did.

I looked at my notes and found the following: "Sometimes real leadership means having the courage not to have any courage."

Steyn if you are lurking did Kerry really say this?

13 posted on 03/01/2004 4:55:02 PM PST by Dog (Bin Laden your account to America is past due......time to pay up.)
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To: Pokey78
I'm sure there are millions of Kerry supporters who'd like to take a tough Kerry-like stand this November. The best way to do that, in the spirit of his war votes, is to vote for Bush and then spend the next 10 years solemnly explaining that that was your bold courageous way of expressing your opposition to Bush.

GREAT punch line, worth repeating. Again.

14 posted on 03/01/2004 4:56:51 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: Dog
Steyn is being satirical. His real point is no one, not Kerry's supporters or his opponents, have any real idea of what the man stands for.
15 posted on 03/01/2004 4:56:52 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Cboldt
Kerry can explain to us while he's at it why he thinks UN involvement in Iraq was such a great idea but why we need to go it alone in Haiti.
16 posted on 03/01/2004 4:58:29 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: 68skylark
Best picture I've ssen in ages!
17 posted on 03/01/2004 5:02:29 PM PST by irv
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To: goldstategop
I can only handle a certain amount of gibberish. Kerry crosses that threshold quickly. If Kerry makes it through the Democrat national convention, he is going to be exposed for the shallow, phony, elitist twerp that he is, WELL before the election in November.

The question is, will the Democrat voters be willing to withhold their votes, then -- or do they hate Bush more?

18 posted on 03/01/2004 5:03:49 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: goldstategop
Kerry did hold a "Fresh Air Forum" I just found it.
19 posted on 03/01/2004 5:06:12 PM PST by Dog (Bin Laden your account to America is past due......time to pay up.)
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To: goldstategop
His real point is no one, not Kerry's supporters or his opponents, have any real idea of what the man stands for.

I do. Kerry is a true man of the hard Left. As such, I have no trouble figuring out what he would do as president. The problem Kerry faces is that he can't let the general public know how truly far Left he is in his politics. Hence the "nuance" dance, and the constant repetition of his "war hero" credentials to whitewash his life-long anti-Americanism.

20 posted on 03/01/2004 5:09:40 PM PST by Wolfstar (Yo! "Real" conservatives. Won't back GWB? See no harm in a Kerrified nation? You're suicidal.)
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To: Pokey78
He's got nuances coming out of his nuances.

Too funny. I'll have more to say on this once I stop laughing. I've got laughter coming out of my pores right now.

21 posted on 03/01/2004 5:10:28 PM PST by BlueYonder
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To: Pokey78
ROFL my nuance off!!!!!
22 posted on 03/01/2004 5:12:27 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: 68skylark
LOl!!!
23 posted on 03/01/2004 5:13:05 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Pokey78; dighton; general_re
the Botoxicated Brahmin
24 posted on 03/01/2004 5:17:44 PM PST by aculeus
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To: dighton; aculeus; Pokey78
Just for the record, Kerry can take strong, clear positions. It's just that he tends to take both of them.


25 posted on 03/01/2004 5:31:57 PM PST by general_re (Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. - Tacitus)
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To: Pokey78
He's got nuances coming out of his nuances.

ROFL ;^D

26 posted on 03/01/2004 5:51:47 PM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: Pokey78
Kerry takes positions that require such deliactely shaded nuances that they quickly lose all meaning-- and he doesn't seem to understand that.
27 posted on 03/01/2004 6:02:38 PM PST by atomicpossum (I wish I had time for a nervous breakdown.)
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To: goldstategop
Kerry reminds me of something my Daddy used to say, "You can't ride two horses with one ass." Kind of sums up Kerry and the Democrat party.
28 posted on 03/01/2004 6:15:36 PM PST by RJayneJ
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To: goldstategop
"At least President Bush know where's he's going. Give me "simplistic" solutions over complicated "nuances" any day. Liberals don't get it."

If the liberal media wants "nuance", they are staring at one of the most "nuanced" and "layered" policies in the history of the Republic: the Bush administration's Middle East policy.

Invading Iraq not only took down a brutal dictator and a major threat in Saddam, it freed us from the Saudi tar baby, positioned us to threaten terrorist regimes throughout the Middle East, created a test case for the expansion of freedom and democracy in the area, and assured the world of an alternative source of petroleum in case Saudi reform became "problematic".

Bush's Middle East policy is one of the most significant foreign policy initiatives ever. Pity the media haven't had the vision to see these developments clearly.

29 posted on 03/01/2004 6:15:59 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: goldstategop
"His real point is no one, not Kerry's supporters or his opponents, have any real idea of what the man stands for."

That population would probably include Kerry himself.

30 posted on 03/01/2004 6:18:21 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: Pokey78
Sheesh! I wish the media would make up their minds.

Last election they wanted "gravitas." Now, they've gotta have "nuance."

31 posted on 03/01/2004 6:24:22 PM PST by Choose Ye This Day (I've got a fever...and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL! --rock legend, Bruce Dickinson)
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To: Pokey78
Calling Kerry, 'Nuancy boy', just one of many priceless, pithy (and double entendre), comments in this piece. Steyn is an absolute treasure. The liberal press gets all huffy about Bush's wonderful riposte: 'I don't do nuance', but that's all Kerry does! (Talks out of both sides of his big mouth.) The press coaching Kerry because he's so dull they don't have anything worth reporting, soundbites. Please. Well, I repeat, Steyn is a treasure.
32 posted on 03/01/2004 6:44:04 PM PST by hershey
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To: Right_in_Virginia
That damm Teresa has him tied up all the time, poor guy, no wonder he never makes any sense. I've got to get one of those nuances for my girl friend she'll love it.
33 posted on 03/01/2004 6:49:04 PM PST by Iberian
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To: Pokey78
How does Steyn keep this quality up or so long. He is always good.
34 posted on 03/01/2004 6:59:31 PM PST by Tennessean4Bush (Democrats use facts like a drunk uses a lamppost -- for support rather than illumination.)
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To: Pokey78


Nuance Boy.
35 posted on 03/01/2004 7:12:59 PM PST by gitmo (Thanks, Mel. I needed that.)
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To: Cboldt
"The question is, will the Democrat voters be willing to withhold their votes, then -- or do they hate Bush more?"

I think they hate Bush more and the core Dims will vote for Kerry, but that's only about 20% of the population. Bush will probably win in a landslide. Let's hope that Bush's coattails are long enough to sweep enuff Republican Senatorial candidates in (there are a lot of seats up) to derail this infernal crap the Dims are thrusting on us all.
36 posted on 03/01/2004 7:29:18 PM PST by Chu Gary (USN Intel guy 1967 - 1970)
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To: All
Does the combination of ketchup and waffle create nuance ?
37 posted on 03/01/2004 7:42:21 PM PST by byroc
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To: Pokey78
Sounds like Kerry talks out of both sides of his mouth...

Just for the record, Kerry can take strong, clear positions. It's just that he tends to take both of them.

38 posted on 03/01/2004 7:53:11 PM PST by GOPJ (NFL Fatcats: Grown men don't watch hollywood peep shows with wives and children.)
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To: Pokey78
Sounds like Kerry talks out of both sides of his mouth. Two faced is the other term.

Just for the record, Kerry can take strong, clear positions. It's just that he tends to take both of them.

39 posted on 03/01/2004 7:55:15 PM PST by GOPJ (NFL Fatcats: Grown men don't watch hollywood peep shows with wives and children.)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping; I'm STILL giggling over "nuancy boy"!
40 posted on 03/01/2004 8:20:27 PM PST by alwaysconservative (If it weren't for double standards, Democrats would have no standards at all.)
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To: Cboldt
That one was great, and so was this one:

Last spring and summer, I went to three Kerry campaign events in New Hampshire, intending to write about them for the Telegraph. Each time, I staggered groggily out of the diner or American Legion hall and, after checking my pulse and administering self-resuscitation, I figured that everything he said was so rambling and platitudinous that to inflict it on readers would be unfair, if not actually career-jeopardising.

41 posted on 03/01/2004 8:21:54 PM PST by alwaysconservative (If it weren't for double standards, Democrats would have no standards at all.)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping, my friend :-)
42 posted on 03/01/2004 9:47:08 PM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: Pokey78; xm177e2; mercy; Wait4Truth; hole_n_one; GretchenEE; Clinton's a rapist; buffyt; ...

Mark Steyn MEGA PING!!


43 posted on 03/01/2004 9:48:05 PM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
BUMP, good evening
44 posted on 03/01/2004 9:53:13 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com......................Send a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: GeronL
Backatya, bud
45 posted on 03/01/2004 9:57:14 PM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Thanks for the ping!
46 posted on 03/01/2004 10:03:28 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: JohnHuang2
Kerry's your guy - or your nuancy boy.............

Hhahahahaha
47 posted on 03/01/2004 10:05:46 PM PST by dennisw (“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”)
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To: dighton
Kerry's your guy - or your nuancy boy


Nancy boy indeed
48 posted on 03/01/2004 10:06:36 PM PST by dennisw (“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”)
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To: Carolinamom
Au contraire: Florence King in National Review.
49 posted on 03/01/2004 10:15:38 PM PST by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
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To: dennisw
Heck Kerry doesn't even need a VP. He can be both.
50 posted on 03/01/2004 10:17:21 PM PST by Texasforever (When democrats attack it is called campaigning)
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